Floyd family/courtesy
Kristi and Gus Malzahn did not, in fact, "come home."

The ultimate con: Gus Malzahn gets last laugh as he spurns Arkansas

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.

Situation normal: DEFCON 5.

The goings-on over the weekend could not have been a bigger gut punch for Arkansas. Fans and administrators and big-time donors watched as Georgia handled Auburn in the SEC Championship Game. If there was a possibility Arkansas could get Gus Malzahn to give up coaching the Tigers and return “home” to the Natural State, it was after that loss.

So, the state waited.

We waited.

Everyone waited.

Nearly 24 hours passed.

And then …

Gus Malzahn signed a $49 million extension to stay on The Plains.

Arkansas threw the world at the feet of the ultimate Arkansas Man in college football. He spurned them. Yet another tally on the ledger that reads loyalty is overrated. Fans care far more about the school than coaches do. Doesn’t matter the school, either.

Coaching the University of Arkansas very well may have been Malzahn’s dream job. By all accounts, he did an excellent job of floating that idea. Enough so that Auburn was so scared to lose him to Fayetteville, and Malzahn turned it into a massive payday.

Meanwhile, Arkansas sits jilted, asking the proverbial side piece if he now has plans.

“So, um, Mike? Still wanna go to the dance?”

Anyone still think Arkansas is doing fine?

The eggs were put into the Malzahn basket and it didn’t pan out.

Now, Mike Norvell is incredibly likely to take the gig in replacing Bret Bielema. Arkansas will, whenever that happens — or with whichever coach it happens with — proclaim he was always the top choice.

If you believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona for you.

Norvell was always the most likely choice. No chance in the world he was the top choice. Maybe in some factions, for example in those who took Houston Nutt’s side in the great divorce of 2006. But the majority were waiting on the “Gus Bus.”

It drove right past them.

Razorbacks Nation is angry at Gus Malzahn

Hell hath no fury like a home state fan base scorned.

Arkansas fans were livid at Malzahn for taking the extension at Auburn. Even the ones who didn’t want him back with the Razorbacks in the first place, some of them felt rejected.

Understandable. But that’s the way the game is played. Malzahn did what Malzahn needed to do.


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