Auburn and Arkansas will both be heading in a new direction in 2013
Both Auburn and Arkansas walked away from abysmal years in the SEC West. While their respective situations were different, the outcome to the fans was pretty much the same. Arkansas benefited the most during the season by winning in a lopsided victory over AU at Jordan Hare Stadium.
A couple of months removed from that… now where do these rivals stand?
Auburn fired Gene Chizik and paid an $11 M buy out to get rid of the entire staff. Whether or not they are all gone remains to be seen. The Tigers hired Coach Gus Malzahn, the Arkansas State Head Coach and former Offensive Coordinator that took Auburn to the National Championship in 2010. Coach Malzahn’s Red Wolves went 9-3 and won the Sub Belt Conference Championship.
The cost of Gus’s contract?? $2.3 Million for five years.
There was a $700K buy out from Arkansas State.
How well did Arkansas do?
Arkansas started the year on a high note but that was all shattered when the headcoach got in a minor accident with his motorcycle. Hog fans had to watch their season get flushed as Arkansas fired Bobby P and then hired John L. The whacky do whacky coach surely had fun during the 2012 season… but was fired shortly after Arkansas’s last game. Still, Arkansas’s AD did hit a grand slam and hired someone away from the big ten conference that was never really predicted or discussed. Arkansas hired Coach Bret Bielema, formerly coach at the University of Wisconsin… He has won three straight Big Ten Championships. He had a 68-24 record and was 2-4 in bowl games.
The cost of Brett’s contract?? $3.2 Million for six years.
There was a $1 Million buy out from Wisconsin.
So far the one who has hit the ground running is Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. He has a DC hired… in Ellis Johnson. And we are all waiting to see who he hires next. At this point Bielema is still accepting congratulations. Both are going to engage in recruiting during the bowl season. That will benefit both schools greatly. But AU’s Malzahn has already started talking with highschools and re-establishing the connections with in the State of Alabama.
So far, in my opinion, not only did AU do better with its money, it has a slight edge in recruiting here… Malzahn is a former HS coach from Arkansas. He knows that state like the back of his hand. He even recruited from there in a college coach capacity while at Arkansas State. This will directly benefit Auburn.
But that is enough from me, what school do you think will see the most improvement come September 2013 based upon what you have seen so far?