Tusk to Tail: Does the ‘Evil Genius’ plan begin this week at Auburn?

Who would you like to see hired as the next Arkansas football coach?

Mac Garland: Nick Saban. Oh, realistic options only? Ideally, Eli Drinkwitz would have 4 more years under his belt as head coach at Appalachian State. The concern is he could be another Stan Heath. I know Frank Broyles only coached one year at Missouri before being hired at Arkansas, and that turned out alright. That was a different time, though. PJ Fleck would be great, but he may be content in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” and was given more than 33 million reasons to stay there. Honestly, I trust Hunter Yurachek’s judgment implicitly. He had zero to do with Chad Morris being hired and has knocked it out of the park with the hiring of Eric Musselman. Whoever he hires will be a solid choice, as long as the Board of Trustees and big donors don’t interfere.

Brad Davis: My question is who wants to come here, and can Arkansas pay what it takes? They are going to have to spend in the $5 to $6 million range to get the right guy. My dream coach in that scenario is Mike Leach.

Todd Rudisill: No one with the last names Petrino or Nutt, because we ain’t no holla back girl. I would love to see Sam Pittman come back if we don’t get a big fish. He loved his time at the UA, is a damn good recruiter, and we all know he is a damn good offensive line coach. Our whole mess started when he left for Georgia because he and Bret Bielema were not seeing eye to eye. He could bring in an OC and DC and keep Lunney on staff for the Arkansas high school connections. I fully believe Hunter will bring in a great hire.

Greg Houser: Every media pundit and average joe (myself included) have a litany of items we are looking for in a coach. At this point, I’m deferring to the professional. Hunter Yurachek has been strong and shown great initial success in his hires. I’m a fan of Yuracheck, and looking forward to seeing who he can bring in.

• Montana Grizzlies @ Arkansas (Men’s basketball)
Greg Houser: The fellas on the court are intense. It is good to see a confident Razorback team. There will be losses, and a game or two where we are outmatched. I’m interested to see how they respond to that. “The Muss Bus” will do very good things here. Hogs 82, Montana 63.

Willard Grandview: When I think about Montana, I think about big game hunting, wide open highways with unlimited speeds, cattle ranchers, and the championship figure skater John Misha Petkevich. What I do not associate with Montana is hoops. Having said that, the Grizzlies enter Bud Walton Arena on Saturday fresh off a 64-50 win over Montana State Northern Lights at Dahlberg Arena. And when you’re fresh off a win over MSNL you’ve got to be feeling good about yourself. I like the Hogs. But whatever happens let’s just hope the game gets out of hand so we can see Chuck Barrett mangle the name of the 6’8″ sophomore out of Instanbul, Turkey, Yagizhan Selcu. (It’s pronounced “yoggy saul-chook”, but don’t tell Chuck)

• #21 Navy @ #16 Notre Dame
Greg Houser: As a Navy brat, back in the day I remember waiting until we played the other service academies to get some recognition and wins. With the exception of the last couple of losses to Army, Navy has fielded some solid teams in the college football ranks. Vegas be damned, I’m pulling for the Midshipmen. Navy by 3!

• #10 Oklahoma @ #12 Baylor
Todd Rudisill: What is going on with Oklahoma? They lost to Kansas State, and almost lost to Iowa State last weekend. They are having major troubles with mobile quarterbacks. Baylor’s Charlie Brewer is a passer and not as mobile, but he can do just enough damage. Meanwhile Jalen Hurts is killing it, completing 73% of this passes, 24 TDs, 869 rushing yards, and 15 touchdowns. Is that Heisman worthy? You’re damn right it is. If Burrow chokes somewhere along the way, Hurts will be there to take it from him. Expect a dogfight, but Sooners win it in the end. 41-35

Brad Davis: I like Baylor. It’s a great story, and proves quick turnarounds can happen, albeit in a weak conference. It’s been fun to follow, and quite remarkable. Too bad their coach Matt Rhule just signed an extension last month through 2027. They are catching the Sooners coming off a near upset at home, in a must win for Hurts and the Sooners to find their way back into playoff talks. I’ll take Oklahoma. Oklahoma 48, Baylor 45.

• #7 Minnesota @ #23 Iowa
Mac Garland: The Golden Gophers are about to be subjected to an all pink visitors’ locker room including sinks, toilets and urinals courtesy of former Iowa coach Hayden Fry. While the crowd at Kinnick Stadium will he fired up for the Hawkeyes, PJ Fleck’s Minnesota team will continue its undefeated campaign behind QB Tanner Morgan. The defense will continue generating turnovers. They have 14 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles this season. Minnesota 27, Iowa 24

Todd Rudisill: The Gophers are coming off an historic upset win over Penn State last weekend. Is this the week Cinderella turns back into a pumpkin going into always tough Iowa City? Minnesota just knows how to win close games. They are 5-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Iowa is 2-3. Minnesota will get the Hawkeyes’ best shot, but they win another close one 24-20.

• #5 Georgia @ #13 Auburn
Willard Grandview: What if Gus Malzahn – good ole, mild mannered Gus Malzahn – is actually an Evil Genius? What if Gus hatched a plan in 2017 following stunning victories over #2 Georgia and #1 Alabama to install his old buddy Chad Morris at Arkansas while he leveraged the opening at Fayetteville to secure himself a new 7-year, $49 million contract? What if he did that knowing Chad would be so in over his head that he’d be shown the door two years later? What if he did that knowing that Auburn would eventually grow tired of his 8-win seasons, fire him and pay off his $27 million buyout? What if he did that knowing he could then ride into Northwest Arkansas as the great savior, while SEC West rival Auburn, burdened with debt, went into the tank? What if? Well, if all that is to happen, it begins this week. Georgia 48, Auburn 3.

Todd Rudisill: Georgia is ranked #4 in the College Playoffs ranking this week, just ahead of Bama. They have a lot to play for. Expect a good old “win it in the trenches” game with these two defenses. UGA leads the SEC in total defense, and is ranked second in the nation in scoring defense behind Ohio State. Auburn’s defensive line is a typical Auburn defensive line, which means it is really good. Can QB Bo Nix step up to win this game? I don’t think so. Fromm makes just enough plays when he needs to and ekes out a 23-20 win on the road.

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