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Sources: Butch Davis is FIU's top candidate after Cristobal firing

Florida International entered this season as the Sun Belt favorite, with an outside chance to go undefeated and crash the BCS.

Instead, FIU's season ended in a 3-9 disappointment, as injuries mounted at key positions and the team failed to cull any momentum.

Still, the news Wednesday morning that FIU had fired head coach Mario Cristobal stunned the college coaching community. Cristobal entered the season as one of the hottest candidates in the sport, having emerged as a strong candidate at both Pittsburgh and Rutgers last season before ultimately deciding to stay at FIU. He'd led FIU to consecutive bowl games at the time and felt this season's team could be his strongest to date.

Multiple sources with knowledge of FIU athletic director Pete Garcia's thinking said Wednesday that they expect Garcia to attempt to hire former Miami and North Carolina coach Butch Davis. Garcia's career began with Davis at the University of Miami and Garcia also worked with Davis with the Cleveland Browns.

Davis lost his job amid scandal at North Carolina, though he was never directly implicated in the NCAA's investigation into extra benefits, academic fraud and unethical conduct by assistant coach John Blake.

Davis is currently working as a special assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Garcia is known for flashy hires, as he is famous for brining on Isiah Thomas as FIU's basketball coach. Thomas lasted three years and went 26-65 before being fired in April.

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