SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arkansas Question of the Day: Wednesday, Nov. 29
A lot of the answer to this question depends on what someone thinks options A, B and C are.
Let me answer the second part first, though. No. Arkansas will not name Paul Rhoads its next football coach. Some team somewhere might. Arkansas won’t do that.
The first part of the question is the more intriguing. The “worst-case scenario” is quite subjective. Look around on Twitter or ask at the office or, heaven forbid, check the message boards, and you will find that one man’s treasure is another’s trash.
There are segments of the fan base, of the population total, who want Gus Malzahn. Then there are segments who hate that idea with flaming-hot passion. I use the word “population” on purpose. Malzahn is, by far, the most famous name in the Natural State among potential replacements among non-fans. These are the people who can influence decisions.
Jeff Long wasn’t run out of town because he didn’t listen to the fans. He was run out of town because he neglected the monied donors and “the Arkansas culture,” whatever that means (different things to different people). Money is where the power lies. The only way the masses can overcome it is pull something similar to what happened at Tennessee.
But that’s too much of a tangent. Let’s say Malzahn, like I believe he is, is Arkansas’ top choice. If he beats Georgia in the SEC title game this weekend, Auburn is in the College Football Playoff. Might be enough to entice him to stay. If he does, choice No. 2, what I think, is Mike Norvell. The Memphis coach may not want the job either, given recent news about the insanity Arkansas has in its power structure. Choice C is who?
Brent Venables? Mike Leach? Charlie Strong? It’s possible none of them takes the gig.
Most importantly, what will matter is whether those at the top of the Arkansas hierarchy can agree on who the next coach should be. There must be consensus among the power brokers. If there isn’t, and they go back and forth like fans on message boards, angrily proclaiming anyone who disagrees a heretic, then there isn’t much hope for the next coach, no matter who he is.
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