Bobby Petrino is out at Arkansas and the Hogs need a new man.
Colleague Travis Haney broke down a few of the possibilities and two Big 12 coaches cracked the list. You'll need ESPN Insider to see them all, but here's what he had to say about the Big 12 candidates:
Gary Patterson, TCU:
Many have wondered what sort of job it would take to get Patterson to leave TCU, where he makes a very comfortable living (reportedly between $2-3 million) and wins a bunch of football games.
Why not now and why not Arkansas? TCU is embroiled in an uncomfortable drug scandal, which could force Patterson to suspend or lose several players this fall and affect recruiting in the near future. Additionally, while the move to the Big 12 is certainly a boost for the school, it makes winning all the more difficult for Patterson.
My take: Hard for me to see this one. It's not the right time for Patterson to leave. He's the chief reason TCU is in the Big 12 (consider the difficulty of doing that, by the way), but after a decade-plus of hard work, why leave now, right when he has TCU on the doorstep of becoming a true elite team? I don't buy it.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State:
Like Patterson, Rhoads has a defensive background. Perhaps that doesn't matter a great deal in the long run, but Long would be wise to find someone, if he can, to lead the loaded, offensive-minded 2012 team. If the Razorbacks go the interim route this season and open things up to a full search this winter, then both Patterson and Rhoads could become leading candidates.
My take: I'm not sure Arkansas could sell the Rhoads hire after Petrino. You won't find a coach liked by more people in the profession and by those who cover the sport. Even if Arkansas did want him, I'm not sure it's the right job for Rhoads. He just signed a 10-year, $20-million contract extension. It's not impossible, but it's hard for me to see Arkansas getting so far down on their list that Patterson and Rhoads get offers and choose to leave.