We may have started to see the first cracks in Alabama football since Nick Saban finally got to his second season in 2008 and it’s just one more reason Hunter Yurachek has to get his hire right.
No, that doesn’t mean the Hogs are ready to challenge for the top spot but it might see some shuffling in the power structure and the Tide may be more reachable … soon.
With a sad fall into the pit of hell the Razorbacks find themselves now, Yurachek has to find somebody to just (as Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said about his team) “win a damn football game.”
After falling to Auburn last Saturday in a game where Saban was completely, hilariously, out-coached in embarrassing fashion, several people (including former Saban assistants) say Alabama is falling.
“They aren’t going to be as good next year,” that assistant said Sunday evening.
When you are 7-29 for the last three seasons and one of the worst programs in the country, you have to wonder just how attractive the Hogs’ job is right now. If you think you’re going hit a sitting coach at a title contender, well, you’re just wrong.
If Yurachek gets this wrong, you may be looking at another decade where being 6-6 a December trip to Shreveport would be cause for a celebration.
The only two coaches that have popped on the list that have ever won a game in the SEC are Lane Kiffin and Hugh Freeze.
Baggage is something Arkansas is probably going to have to deal with regardless who the final choice is. Fans don’t like it hearing it, but that’s what you get when you have a 1-23 league record over the last three seasons.
Freeze’s baggage is pretty clear and I’m not entirely sure the SEC wouldn’t block Arkansas from hiring him. Kiffin’s “baggage” is something I’m still trying to figure out what everybody is talking about.
Most of the stuff I’ve seen or heard about regarding Kiffin is ridiculous. Don’t throw stuff out about him being a party animal and that stuff. I don’t care.
Yes, Saban more or less kicked him out of Tuscaloosa between college football playoff games. You can bet your bottom dollar Saban wasn’t worried about the Crimson Tide’s offense or Kiffin would have been there.
Alabama’s loss to Clemson in the title game wasn’t due to a lack of offensive production. It was more what Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson did.
Kiffin had a head coaching position. Yes, he was going to have to do some things to get ready for that job and Saban knew that from the start. He and Kiffin had a strange relationship anyway.
Some have tried to point out that USC athletics director Pat Haden, a pompous jerk on his best day, fired Kiffin after USC lost to Arizona State, their second league loss of the 2013 season.
The truth is that was an ego contest and Haden won. Kiffin had dealt with the NCAA issues, a loss of 30 scholarships, and still won games … including a 10-win season when the Trojans were banned from postseason play.
It was especially rich to hear whining from one media member who was highly critical of Arkansas for firing Bret Bielema at the end of the Missouri game in 2017.
Besides, exactly what do any of those things have to do with whether he can coach or not?
Kiffin has proven he can coach … at the SEC level.
While some are holding out hope for Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, apparently some are having selective amnesia remembering a Big 10 coach that came to Fayetteville with what some considered an impressive resume. The Cyclones are in the Big 12 … located smack in the middle of Big 10 country and resemble that conference more. Maybe he’s the answer. Maybe not.
It just means more in the SEC and the coach better know how to coach in this league or that losing streak is going to continue. Maybe Mike Norvell can handle it. Maybe not.
Norvell has never built anything, but has done quite well not letting Memphis drop after Justin Fuente built a program from the ruins.
Hog fans tend to think because a coach has success in another league that will automatically carry over to the situation in Fayetteville. Maybe it will … maybe it won’t.
By the way, the same argument carries over to Mike Leach, who reportedly has said he has an interest in the Arkansas opening. I’ll have to see his act work in the SEC before I buy into him.
I’m not sure in today’s world and as far down the rabbit hole Razorback football finds itself these days if there’s anybody who would be a slam dunk.
Fans won’t be completely united behind whoever the final choice is. That’s been the case with every hiring for the Hogs in the last 60 years.
Don’t believe it?
When Lou Holtz was hired in 1976, some wanted Barry Switzer or Fred Akers. Neither were interested, but that didn’t seem to register with some folks.
Ken Hatfield had a faction of people that wanted Jimmy Johnson to be hired in 1984. Tommy Tuberville had a large number of folks pushing him for the job in 1998.
Nothing has changed.
Except that whoever is chosen better be able to win some games … quickly.
It’s only the entire football program teetering on the decision.