Whither the Gus Bus?

One puzzle about a rumor making the rounds is why Gus Malzahn would consider leaving Auburn for Arkansas.  I know he’s from there, so there’s a little momma factor in play, but Arkansas is a much tougher job than Auburn is.  Sure, Alabama is Alabama, but as this year proved again, when Malzahn has a quarterback who fits his system, he can go toe-to-toe with Saban.

So what’s the deal, then?  Stupid me… when in doubt, what’s always the deal?

And, yes, all those are just backdrop issues to the larger anvil lingering over what should be a sun-kissed weekend for Auburn – a contract showdown. Arkansas is so eager to throw money at Auburn coach Gus Malzahn that they are holding up their entire search just for the opportunity. One source with knowledge of Arkansas’ thinking said the school is “ready to back up the Brinks truck” to lure Malzahn away from Auburn. Arkansas athletics has financial backing of the families around Tyson Foods and Walmart who’d like nothing better for their native son to return home.

Malzahn’s contract hasn’t been significantly adjusted – other than a year added on – since the eve of the SEC championship in 2013.

Days after Tennessee threw truly stupid money at Mike Gundy, it would be foolish to assume Arkansas, with those resources, couldn’t behave similarly.  Add to that a rudderless athletic department at Auburn with Jacobs’ imminent departure as well as the school’s well-earned “what have you done for us lately?” reputation which is something Malzahn recognizes from his own hiring and I can’t entirely discount the possibility.

I don’t know that any uncertainty over their future will have an impact Saturday night, but it won’t bother me if it does.

46 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Auburn's Cast of Thousands

46 responses to “Whither the Gus Bus?

  1. As a parallel to the Auburn AD situation, Arkansas’s AD is already gone and the expectation is that they will hire a football coach prior to the AD. Malzahn could have some influence over that decision which would solidify his tenure if things don’t turn around for the Razorbacks quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Normaltown Mike

    #1 money
    #2 job security- AU is so obsessed w/ Bama & so irrational that they might fire Gus mid-season of 2018. He knows that full well as he was hired under just such circumstances

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    • DawgPhan

      They open with Washington and then play LSU 2 weeks later. Gus knows that should he lose the SEC title game and then 1 of those games and he is likely right back on the hot seat. fighting for his job.

      When it is gotten to the point that you are thinking about leaving and the current place offers you more to stay, its still time to leave.

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    • CB

      Auburn fans are completely delusional. Wanting to fire Gus after losing to Clemson the past couple of years is beyond insane.

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  3. Had the LSU job gone the other way last year, Gus might have already been canned by Auburn. Surely he recognizes how asinine that fanbase is.

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  4. Mayor

    The uncertainty hopefully will have an impact. While of late Arkansas has been having its difficulties it is a storied program at minimum equal to Auburn if you go back. Perrenial contender and often winner of the SWC championship when that conference was pretty much the equal of the SEC; 3 times SEC West Winner; former national champion. And it doesn’t have another major college in-state to have to recruit against like Auburn does. Historically a lot of the best players from Texas and La went there. If Gus could reopen that pipeline Arkansas might return to prominence. Three weeks ago the Auburn fan base was openly calling for Gus to be gone. Maybe that will happen after all but in differenent cicumstances than they envisioned. It would serve them right.

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    • ….and you would have to open that pipeline, because the population of the ENTIRE state is half the population of Metro Atlanta. Which is why that job is kind of tough…..demanding fanbase with thin recruiting base. The problem with the Texas pipeline is that there are so many competitive football programs in Texas, what with the rise of Baylor, TCU and even Houston.

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      • We really have it made in Georgia…….Fishfry with the Triple Option at Tech and 2 Sunbelt schools. As dickish as it sounds, we need to never give Ga Southern any kind of helping hand to rise above where they are now. And hope Tech keeps Fishfry forever—it matters not that he has had a modicum of success against us in Athens lately. It’s the players that NEVER CONSIDER Tech over UGA becuase of that system that is advantageous.

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  5. Between the talk of Steele to UT and Gus to Arky and 21’s shoulder, we’d better get a damn W Saturday!

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  6. Kuma

    Thanks for keeping us all up to date every day, Senator. I’m a fan and a regular reader.

    One quick point – on this one, as much as we’d like to see the Gus Bus wither, especially this Saturday, don’t you really mean “Whither” the Gus Bus?

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  7. AusDawg85

    I’d hate for the Auburn players to have copies of articles about this getting to them. Or hearing rumors. Or seeing sports pundits state that it’s a done deal. Or hear that Gus doesn’t love them. Or that they should start thinking about protecting their own futures instead of risking it for a turn-coat coach. Would just hate that…

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  8. Jim

    Maybe Arky will be the start of the trend where the football coach hires and fires the AD?!?!

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  9. The other Doug

    If Gus stays at Auburn, what are the odds that he is fired in the next 2-3 years? I t has to be better than 50/50, right?

    I know Arky is a step down, but why not take a 7 year deal with $7 million a year and the freedom to hire your own staff? Hell of a lot better than getting canned after 2 more years on the plains.

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    • WarD Eagle

      Probably 50/50 every coach in the D1 is fired in the next 2-3 years.

      This whole thing seems to be the standard al.com clickbait fantasy.

      Could Gus go to Arkansas? Sure.
      Would Gus go to Arkansas? Sure.

      Do any of us have any legitimate knowledge that any of this is real? No.

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  10. Otto

    I have had question about the money. Arky has to pay the buyout and offer Gus at minimum the same amount of money he is making. Media reports claim Arky is broke.

    But then again I have also disgreed on the degree that Gus was on the hot seat. I read in the media they entertain the idea of firing him but I have yet to meet a Barner that wanted him gone. Auburn is less divided than UGA ever was on Richt.

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  11. Macallanlover

    We can do our part to get us to a decision on this subject: beat AU on Saturday and clear Gus’s calendar for the next few weeks. We should know by Monday at the latest. Of course we would get Dawgraded for KJ being hurt and the genius being distracted. I wouldn’t really care, just get that SEC title/ring/banner!!

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    • Uglydawg

      Believe Alabama was kind of ham-strung with injuries at the Iron Bowl. Auburn didn’t mind taking full credit for that win.
      Can’t have it both ways, but they’ll try if they lose.
      Human nature.

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  12. CB

    All this donor talk has got me thinking. Who are the major donors at UGA? What corporate money is backing the program? I’d like to have some big name companies to throw around in conversation with my SEC brethren.

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  13. MGW

    Gus needs to go. Unless he makes the playoff and wins it, he’ll be right back on the hot seat next year after he loses 2 games.

    Frankly any coach in this situation should get the hell out of town, Jimbo Fisher included. Once you get to that point where everyone in the country knows you’re one of the best except the team you coach, you need to bail before they wait a year to crucify you and make it hard for any other AD to justify hiring you.

    Look at Les Miles. Two years ago he could have gone about anywhere. But he waited a year, got fired, and nobody wants him.

    What happened with Richt, where his alma mater was desperate and down and welcomed him with open arms with a very good opportunity, is very rare.

    The usual sentiment of a competitive program’s fans is “How dare our AD hire some loser that XYZ University just fired?!?”

    So Gus, go, but wait a month or so till all the best coaches Auburn could replace you with have been hired and they’re stuck with the dregs.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. JasonC

    I hope he goes to Arkansas. He’ll never be as successful there and it means Auburn has to replace him. And they’re our regular opponent. Win/win for UGA.

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