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Could Missouri be South Carolina's primary obstacle to getting Tom Herman?

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There's one key connection Herman has to Missouri that's important to keep in mind.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel announced that he would be stepping down from his post due to health issues. With it came yet another job opening, one of many around the college football world.

So where does that leave the Gamecocks and their own search for a new head coach? The leader is presumed to be Houston head man Tom Herman, with Memphis's Justin Fuente and Alabama DC Kirby Smart running close behind. (Houston picked up a 35-34 comeback with over Memphis on Saturday to remain undefeated at 10-0; Alabama is #2 in the College Football Playoff Top 25.)

But there's a chance that Herman could be looking to Columbia - not our Columbia, but the other one.

Missouri AD Mack Rhoades has held his current position since March of this year. Before that, he oversaw athletics at Houston for six years. One of his hires? Tom Herman, then the offensive coordinator at Ohio State. It's turned out to be a pretty good move thus far, especially after Rhoades' decision to bump assistant Tony Levine to the top spot after Kevin Sumlin was hired at Texas A&M didn't turn out as planned.

Could Rhoades' presence at Mizzou change the game for the Gamecocks' pursuit of Herman? That would depend on how Herman feels about the job. He'll certainly have his pick of positions after the season is over, but does he feel that the opportunity is better with his former boss or at South Carolina? While both teams have struggled here in 2015, Mizzou has historically had a much better run of success than South Carolina. However, it may come down to the most important factor: money. There's little reason to believe that the athletics program and boosters can't shell out the cash needed to lure Herman away; with that in mind, we could see a bidding war develop between Columbia West and Columbia East if it comes to that.

At the end of the day, the only person that knows what Tom Herman is thinking is Tom Herman. This much might be true: despite having just a year of head coaching experience under his belt, it's very likely that he won't be in Houston in 2016. Where he goes - whether it's this Columbia, the other one, or somewhere else - remains to be seen.