FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On Thursday, a list of five names appeared in this space with the belief the next coach would very likely come from that list.
Each of the five saw their team close out the regular season either on Friday or Saturday. It appears that one name on that list as expected can be removed.
Gus Malzahn, who seems to always be one loss away from being on the hot seat or fired, saw his Auburn team beat Alabama 48-45 on Saturday in the Iron Bowl. Malzahn’s record at Auburn is 62-30 after a 9-3 in one year at Arkansas State. This year’s Auburn team finishes the regular season 9-3 with losses to LSU, Florida and Georgia.
With the win over Alabama, Malzahn stands no chance of getting fired and that was the only way he might have possibly ended up at Arkansas. Even if Auburn had lost to Alabama and they fired him there’s no guarantee he would have been at Arkansas next season.
Lane Kiffin helped lead Florida Atlantic to a 9-3 mark in the regular season. They have won the East in the Conference USA. FAU beat Southern Miss 34-17. FAU tight end Harrison Bryant had three receptions for 75 yards with each catch going for a touchdown. FAU will face UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game. UAB downed North Texas 26-21 to advance to the title game. FAU lost to Ohio State, UCF and Marshall this season. Kiffin has also been head coach at Tennessee and USC in addition to the Oakland Raiders.
Florida International and head coach Butch Davis fell to Marshall 30-27 in overtime on Saturday. FIU (6-6, 3-5) is bowl eligible. Davis is 23-15 in three years at FIU. He has previously been the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL, University of Miami and North Carolina. Davis has some strong support from some boosters at Arkansas.
Matt Campbell and Iowa State lost to Kansas State 27-17 after the two were tied at 14 following the first 30 minutes. The loss drops the Cyclones to 7-5 this season including 5-4 in the Big 12. Campbell, who led Toledo to a win over Arkansas in Little Rock in 2015, has done an incredible job at Iowa State, a place considered very tough to win.
He was 3-9 in 2016, but then 8-5 in both 2017 and 2018. He was 36-15 at Toledo including 10-2 in 2015. The five Iowa State losses this year have been to Oklahoma 42-41, Iowa 18-17, Oklahoma State 34-27, Baylor 23-21 and Kansas State. The big win for the Cyclones was a 23-21 victory over Texas.
Mike Leach and Washington State closed out the 2019 regular season 6-6 as they fell to Washington 31-13. With Missouri firing Barry Odom, it’s believed Leach will get a long look in Columbia. He has been a very successful coach at both Texas Tech and Washington State. Those are considered difficult places to win, but Leach has led them to 16 bowl games in 18 years. Leach was 84-43 at Texas Tech and is 55-46 at Washington State.
Virginia Tech lost a tough battle 39-30 to Virginia on Friday. Justin Fuente and the Hokies finished the regular season 8-4 and 5-3 in the ACC. Fuente is 33-19 in four years at Virginia Tech. He coached at Memphis previously and was 26-23 there. Fuente has had two nine-win seasons and a couple with 10 in his eight years as a head coach.
Arkansas is searching for a head coach following Chad Morris being fired on Nov. 10.