Ole Miss landed the most important, and in some methods, riskiest, title it might.
Arkansas landed a man greatest recognized for yelling “Yes Sir” in recruiting movies.
There isn’t any assure one might be higher than the opposite. There are a number of components, together with staffing, nonetheless to be decided, which might considerably influence success.
However one factor is clear: Ole Miss ran the higher search course of and landed the buzzy title that Arkansas might badly use proper now. Simply take a look at the scene Lane Kiffin created when he arrived in Oxford this weekend, from the nationwide protection to the incredible video of him holding a baby. Not solely will Kiffin ship higher fan assist and ticket gross sales, he has the arrogance to assume he can beat anybody within the SEC, together with his former boss in Tuscaloosa. The previous Tennesse and USC head coach goes to recruit at a excessive degree and there may be already a powerful buzz throughout the teaching neighborhood concerning the employees he’s making an attempt to place collectively.
Kiffin is all the things that Matt Luke isn’t and appears as good a match as Ole Miss was ever going to search out. Does he include dangers? After all he does. This can be a man who was fined by Convention USA earlier this yr for tweeting a photograph of blind mice. He’s needed to battle again in opposition to a status he’s immature and isn’t all the time been targeted on all his tasks. When Kiffin was up for jobs in 2016, long-time search advisor Chuck Neinas told me, “It’s not a question of his coaching ability. It’s a question of…other things.”
However he’s a recognized high quality who might elevate Ole Miss within the SEC West pecking order. Can Arkansas’ new rent Sam Pittman do the identical? Take into account me extraordinarily skeptical.
Arkansas landed on Pittman after a meandering pursuit of a number of faculty coaches solely to be rebuffed at each step. There have been early reviews of an impending marriage with Kiffin earlier than Ole Miss grew to become concerned and rapidly secured the Florida Atlantic coach. Eliah Drinkwitz, who coached at each the highschool and faculty degree in Arkansas, took the Missouri job quickly after successful a Solar Belt championship at Appalachian State. In a sea of rejection, Pittman stood out for truly wanting the job.
Pittman has been a terrific recruiter for Georgia and has an excellent status as a profession offensive line coach. He has already gotten sturdy backing from former Arkansas gamers from his time as an offensive line coach below Bret Bielema. Nonetheless, the 58-year previous has by no means been an offensive coordinator not to mention a head coach on the FBS faculty degree. Arkansas followers are already convincing themselves he will be their model of LSU’s Ed Orgeron. But when historical past is any indicator, it’s way more possible he’ll be their Matt Luke.
All the Orgeron comparisons conveniently pass over that Orgeron’s first head teaching tenure was a catastrophe as he struggled to make the transition from place coach into CEO of this system. It took greater than a decade, two interim teaching stints and the proper touchdown spot in Louisiana for Orgeron to attain the unimaginable success he’s had this season. When Orgeron acquired the full-time job at LSU, he began off with appreciable extra title consciousness than Pittman will in Fayetteville.
At Arkansas, Pittman inherits a significantly harder recruiting terrain, a mismatched roster of Bielema and Chad Morris recruits, and a fanbase that has grown impatient with all of the shedding. Discovering wins within the aggressive SEC West received’t be straightforward as to maneuver up a rung, another crew has to fall down. Take a look at the remainder of the SEC West’s coaches and realistically think about what number of a first-time head coach like Pittman can persistently beat. You may instantly cross out Saban, Orgeron and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher? That feels uncertain. Is the reply solely Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead? The Razorbacks have misplaced 4 of their final 5 video games to the Bulldogs. Arkansas all the time appears to play Ole Miss powerful however the Rebels ought to be a harder out now with Kiffin.
There have been loads of similarities between these two colleges heading into their teaching searches. Each needed to pay upwards of $10 million to rid themselves of head coaches and assistants who weren’t getting the job performed. Each needed to battle again in opposition to the notion the SEC West is just too powerful for both to persistently win massive. Each entered a training cycle largely devoid of apparent names past Kiffin and Memphis’ Mike Norvell who landed at Florida State.
Ole Miss acquired a model title who has already rejuvenated a crushed down fanbase. Arkansas landed a coach who didn’t actually have a Wikipedia web page earlier than he was employed.
The tip consequence for each is but to be decided however there isn’t any query Ole Miss’ course of to getting there was superior.
John Talty is the SEC Insider for Alabama Media Group. You may observe him on Twitter @JTalty.