Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics
Was this handshake the proverbial passing of the torch?

This Gus Malzahn-to-Arkansas thing is only going to grow

Eric Bolin

Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.

Gus Malzahn to Arkansas is possible, folks

Can you even imagine? It’s long been lingering in minds of fans and, frankly, in the minds of media members, too.

But Thursday provided the first real concrete suggestion that former Springdale High coach, Arkansas offensive coordinator and Fort Smith’s own Gus Malzahn could truly return “home.”

“Home” is in quotations marks because if it happens, you’re going to see that phrase used ad nauseam in marketing materials.

The reality of the situation is far from a lead-pipe cinch. USA Today’s Dan Wolken floated the possibility as legitimate Thursday morning. SEC Network’s Booger McFarland followed in the afternoon by stating his knowledge of Malzahn’s love of the Natural State.

All of it makes sense. Malzahn cuts his teeth here. He joined the college ranks at UofA. His athletic director at Auburn is on his way out. The expectations of that job are, honestly, far too demanding.

The thing doesn’t have a lot of legs right now, but those legs are going to be growing in the next handful of days. This ought to be fun.

No, Arkansas doesn’t need an Arkansas native

That doesn’t mean a Natural State native should be disqualified from consideration as University of Arkansas athletic director. It just means no one needs to be hired because, or partly because, they are from the state.

The next athletic director needs to be a competent professional who can raise funds, schmooze the right people and make good hires. Being from Arkansas is irrelevant.

Simple, right?

Sure. Super simple. Couldn’t be easier. Jeff Long did one of those things fantastically, one fairly well and one not whatsoever. Long is now out of the gig.

Given the information above, in the first section, this one becomes more complex.

Here’s how Bret Bielema compares with other coaches recently fired

The end of the Bret Bielema era at Arkansas sure smells near, doesn’t it?

These numbers suggest it is, too. Our Trent Shadid took a look at how Bielema stacks up with some other “name” SEC coaches in the final year they were running the show at their respective schools. Forewarning, things aren’t good.

They’re Gene Chizik-level bad, in fact.

Arkansas would lose recruits if Bielema exits

Don’t let anyone with an agenda or a rose-colored glasses paint it any other way. Some good players will go elsewhere if Bielema is fired. The question is whether Arkansas could make a hire to keep others who will waver and whether the new coach would bring some of his own commits from the school from which he is departing.

Maybe, yeah, it does balance in the end. But it sure won’t balance in December, when the new early signing period hits. No way, no how.

Shadid, our recruiting guru here at SEC Country Arkansas, breaks that down and more in this week’s recruiting mailbag.

ICYMI

Tweets and the like

Real talk, Arkansas’ uniform (second from the right) looks terrible. Those things look like practice jerseys from the 1990s.

Booger is a smart man, repeating precisely what I wrote Wednesday.

…no.