FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The annual Arkansas-Auburn, SEC West clash has all the makings of a serious rivalry.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was a Northwest Arkansas high school coaching legend and spent one year as the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator. Tigers offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee played quarterback at Arkansas, and running backs coach Tim Horton also played and coached for the Hogs.
Bielema and Malzahn have been on opposite sides of some public arguments, most notably regarding the speed of modern-day offenses.
And last year, Arkansas beat Auburn 54-46 in four overtimes. This season, the Hogs and Tigers are both ranked as they prepare to play Saturday in Auburn.
“The fact that it is the SEC West makes it special enough, but I get it,” Bielema said when asked if the Arkansas-Auburn game takes on any added meaning.
“I think from the outside world – and maybe that is what you are driving at – I realize that Gus played a couple of years here and you’ve got Tim and their offensive coordinator and all those things tie in here, but our kids don’t know anything about that.
“That’s like white noise, noise that we don’t hear, our kids don’t hear.”