Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Hogs’ hunt about to heat up
Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy (right) and TCU's Gary Patterson have both been rumored for the Razorbacks' head coaching vacancy.
FAYETTEVILLE Another week remains in the time frame to hire a head football coach that Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long presented to the Razorbacks team last Sunday, but many are expecting the hunt to heat up in the next day or two.
Some of the coaches whose names have been linked to the Arkansas opening were guiding their teams in regular-season finales or championship games Saturday.
Chris Petersen’s Boise State Broncos defeated Nevada 27-21 in Reno, Nev., to improve to 10-2 and earn a share of the Mountain West Conference championship in their final season before joining the Big East.
In Waco, Texas, Baylor downed Oklahoma State 41-34 in a game that featured two coaches who might be on Long’s list. Art Briles led the Bears to a 7-5 regular-season record with victories in their last three games, including a 52-24 rout of No. 1 Kansas State on Nov. 17.
Mike Gundy directed Oklahoma State to a 7-5 record as well, although the Cowboys have lost two in a row.
Gary Patterson, who has been linked with the Arkansas opening, led TCU to a 7-5 season, capped by Saturday’s 24-17 home loss to Oklahoma.
Louisiana Tech finished 9-3 and as the top-scoring team in the country at 51.5 points per game under Sonny Dykes, who was reportedly in the running for the North Carolina State job before Northern Illinois’ Dave Doeren was hired for that spot Saturday.
Arkansas opponents went 2-0 in conference championship games on the weekend, with Alabama taking a 32-28 victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta and Tulsa edging Central Florida 33-27 in overtime in the Conference USA title game in Tulsa.
Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is likely to be one of the most sought after assistants in the country, but it is not known if he is under consideration for the Arkansas post.
Sports, Pages 34 on 12/02/2012