Tom Smart, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall during pre-game as BYU plays Idaho in the Cougar's final home football game on 2012 Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012,in Provo, Utah.

BYU's Bronco Mendenhall and Cincinnatis Butch Jones are two "viable contenders" for the head coaching job at Colorado, according to Denver Post columnist Woody Paige.

Colorado is looking to replace Jon Embree, who was fired earlier this week.

"Both are winners," a source told Paige of Mendenhall and Jones. "They'd be major coups for (Colorado athletic director) Mike Bohn."

In the same article, Paige wrote, "However, the Buffs will not hire someone who hasn't been a head coach in one of the six major conferences." If thats true, that would eliminate Mendenhall from consideration.

Last year at this time, Mendenhall seriously considered leaving BYU for a different job, something that the coach revealed last January during an interview session with reporters. He said he received an offer to be the head coach at a FBS program, but decided to turn down the offer and remain at BYU.

Mendenhall did not name the school that offered him the job, but last December, Deseret News columnist Dick Harmon reported that Mendenhall had removed his name from the coaching search at UCLA.

In January 2011, BYU wanted Mendenhall to sign a five-year contract extension, but he instead signed for three years. That contract expires after the 2013 season.

"In being fair to the institution and simply in trying to be realistic, to sign a five-year agreement, man, five is a long time," Mendenhall explained in January 2012. "And those that sign five-year agreements don't honor them anyway, it seems like. They leave for someplace else or the school fires them. Not that I think that either one of those would happen here. But I don't want to sign an agreement and then not fulfill it. It seemed like three years was reasonable, in terms of growing the program through independence and being completely committed and devoted to this place and having the university continue to keep evaluating if I'm the one that they would like to see leading the program."

When asked last January if BYU would be his last coaching job, Mendenhall replied, "I don't know. Not sure."

Would he be interested in coaching elsewhere?

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"It's pretty intriguing because the nation at large would ask that same question and would never consider me leaving here," Mendenhall said last January. "The No. 1 question is, would I? I'm talking about any interest. My first question to them is, 'Why would I? And what do you have that you're looking for that would be very distinct and different?' If they're not interested in that, I'm not a good fit. But there are some places that are very distinct. I'm not saying these are the places, but if you were to say Army or Navy or Air Force or one of the academies or a strong academic institution, there has to be something else besides football. Otherwise, I wouldn't be interested. I think everyone understands that."

Colorado plans to pay its new coach up to $2.5 million. While BYU does not make public how much it pays its coaches, it is believed that Mendenhall earns approximately $1 million per season.

One of the other candidates for Colorado's coaching job includes Utah States Gary Andersen.