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Bill O'Brien's days in State College may be numbered. , the second-year Penn State head coach "has emerged as an overwhelming favorite" to become the Houston Texans next head coach. The sides met at O'Brien's Cape Cod residence this week following Christmas, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, which led to what the report labeled "intensified discussions they hope will culminate with a finalized contract," according to ESPN sources.Houston is in search of a head coach following the firing of Gary Kubiak, its second head coach in franchise history, in early December. Earlier this month, PennLive columnist David Jones listed Houston as the NFL job .ESPN NFL contributor Adam Caplan later tweeted that Houston was "said to be doing background checks all week" on the 44-year-old O'Brien. News first broke that NFL franchises might be interested in O'Brien when the NFL Network reported on its Sunday pre-game show that Houston and Minnesota had expressed interest in the head coach, marking the second time in as many years his name had joined the NFL coaching carousel since coming to University Park.Read more from Jeremy Elliot: With a loss Sunday at Tennessee, Houston, currently 2-13, will be guaranteed the first overall pick in April's NFL draft. It is assured of either the first or second pick depending on how it and the Washington Redskins finish the 2013 season. O'Brien's buyout is approximately .5 million, and according to the ESPN report, the Texans have compiled a list of candidates should a deal with O'Brien not come to fruition, adding the parties are working to get a deal done within the next week, according to league sources.O'Brien, who has not commented publicly on the NFL interest, led Penn State to a 7-5 record in 2013 following an 8-4 2012 season that earned him national coach of the year accolades from a variety of outlets and organizations.

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