However, that all changed when Houston upset No. 5 Louisville?on Thursday and Texas' 24-21 overtime loss to Kansas on Saturday, sources said.?
Texas' stunning loss to Kansas likely sealed Strong's fate, although he is still expected to coach the season finale Friday against TCU, sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
"I do not see how he can survive," a source said. "He has been given every chance to succeed. Everyone wanted him to."
Sources said they don't expect an official decision on Strong until after the completion of the regular season Friday.?He dropped to 16-20 since arriving at Texas -- including 12-14 in league play -- and not even the $10 million buyout he would be due could be enough to keep him from getting fired.
"We just had our opportunities there," Strong said after Saturday's loss. "Not much needed to be said."
Asked what it means for his future, Strong replied: "No idea."
Texas president Greg Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin have been consistent and very outspoken about their support of Strong. In October, sources told ESPN that Strong would not be fired in-season and be allowed to complete the season.
Perrin declined to speak with reporters after the game, looking away when he approached them. Strong's wife, Victoria, was crying outside the Longhorns' locker room.
Kansas had won only two of their last 31 games. It was Kansas' first Big 12 victory since November 2014 and denied Texas a bowl-qualifying win.?The Longhorns must beat TCU Friday to get bowl eligible.
The lure of Herman, always considered Texas' No. 1 target, had dulled with losses to Navy and SMU and near losses to Tulsa and UCF. The SMU loss was extremely troubling to Texas' boosters because it was to a perceived "lesser school" in the state, sources said.
That all changed with Herman improving to 22-3 at Houston by dominating Louisville. After that win, the bidding war for Herman is expected to start "at a minimum of $5.5 million," an industry source said.
Herman is considered among the leading candidates at Texas and LSU, if Jimbo Fisher remains at Florida State, as well as Oregon, if the Ducks fire Mark Helfrich, sources said. Herman also would be a top target of Florida State, if Fisher left for LSU, a source said.
"Herman was dead in the water (with Texas) when he lost to SMU (Oct. 22)," a source said. "And now he's hotter than ever."
Herman was Ohio State's offensive coordinator before being named Houston's coach. He's won 22 of 25 games, including all five contests as an underdog against Oklahoma and Louisville this season and Louisville, Navy and Florida State in 2015.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.