Should Josh Heupel consider going back to Oklahoma if offered?

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The coaching carousel is in full gear and one move could have Tennessee scrambling.

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley departed the Sooners for the same position at USC.

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel had arguably the best season of any first-year head coach since Phillip Fulmer in 1993 after serving as an interim in 1992.

Heupel inherited a Tennessee program with an ongoing NCAA investigation for possible major recruiting violations under fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Multiple players, including several starters, entered the NCAA transfer portal during Tennessee’s head coaching change.

Heupel handled Tennessee’s situation masterfully, knowing the Vols’ situation, and he came to UT and never complained about a perceived lack of talent.

UT was ahead in every game this year, and the Vols finished 7-5 (4-4 SEC), so everything appears to be on the rise in Knoxville under Heupel.

Now that the Oklahoma job is open, the first-year Tennessee head coach is instantly attached to it.

Heupel led the Sooners to the 2000 BCS national championship as a quarterback and was later the team’s co-offensive coordinator. Heupel, alongside Jay Norvell, shared offensive coordinator duties under head coach Bob Stoops. Stoops relieved both coaches of their duties following the 2014 season.

Stoops will serve as Oklahoma’s interim head coach for the Sooners’ bowl game. He could also have input as to who will replace Riley as head coach.

Is Heupel going to stay in Knoxville — or is UT looking at a repeat of 2009 when Lane Kiffin guided the Vols to a 7-6 record? Kiffin departed Tennessee for USC after Trojans’ head coach Pete Carroll left for Seattle in the NFL.

A look at Heupel and Norvell’s time as co-offensive coordinators at Oklahoma and how they operated

Photo by Dan Harralson, Vols Wire

What should Heupel do if Oklahoma offers?

Normally, staying at Tennessee would be a no-brainer as Heupel has a successful working history with athletics director Danny White. The duo worked together at UCF in the same capacities.

Heupel has things going in the right direction and fans seem to be behind him. Heupel is also facing an impending cloud from the NCAA investigation, which could scare him away.

His ties to the Sooners are undeniable, but does he have any hard feelings towards Oklahoma for being relieved of his co-offensive coordinator duties along with Norvell?

If Heupel goes to Oklahoma, he will be a constant competitor for a national championship, beginning now.

The Vols hope to be back in contention on the national stage someday, but the question is when and how much longer?

Heupel appears to be the right head coach to get Tennessee there, but does he have patience to continue a rebuild, or does he want to go where he can win right away for a national championship?

Time will tell, but Tennessee fans appear in wanting to see him stay at UT.

Below are photos of Heupel’s time at Oklahoma.

Josh Heupel as a junior at Oklahoma in 1999

Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel (14) has a pass broken up by Notre Dame’s Grand Irons during a second quarter drive Saturday, Oct. 2, 1999 in South Bend, Ind. (AP/Photo Ted S. Warren)

Josh Heupel wins the 2000 national championship as Oklahoma's starting quarterback

In this Jan. 3, 2001, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel is carried off the field by his teammates after defeating Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl in Miami. Heupel, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up for Oklahoma in 2000, and former North Carolina pass-rushing star Julius Peppers are among 12 players making their first appearance of the College Football Hall of Fame ballot this year.(Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post via AP, File)

Josh Heupel as a Heisman finalist in 2000 at Oklahoma

Finalists await the verdict on who will be named this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, 09 December 2000, at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club. Quarterback Chris Weinke of Florida State (R) won the 66th Heisman, the most coveted individual honor in college football. From left are: quarterback Drew Brees of Purdue; running back LaDainian Tomlinson of Texas Christian; quarterback Josh Heupel of Oklahoma; and Weinke. (Photo (Photo by SUZANNE PLUNKETT/AP POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Josh Heupel as Oklahoma's assistant in 2010

Oct 16, 2010; Norman, OK; Oklahoma Sooners quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel during pre game before facing the Iowa State Cyclones at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Oklahoma defeated Iowa State 52-0. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell as co-offensive coordinators at Oklahoma in 2013

Oklahoma co-offensive coordinators Jay Norvell, left, and Josh Heupel talk about NCAA college football Sugar Bowl prep as Oklahoma’s offensive representatives meet with the media, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in New Orleans. Alabama and Oklahoma face off in the Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt)

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