Arkansas head coach John L. Smith
It's been a rough fall already in Fayetteville.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are 1-3, lost games to Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama and Rutgers and haven't solved the two biggest issues that plagued the program last season: offensive line and defense.
If that wasn't enough, head coach John L. Smith gave some bulletin-board material to the Auburn Tigers on Monday, who host the Razorbacks on October 6, according to Jim Harris of ArkansasSports360.com.
Ask where he thought Bobby Petrino would end up next year, Kentucky or Auburn, Smith laughed, then said "a better guess would be Auburn."— Jim Harris(@jimharris360) September 24, 2012
Let's not jump all over Smith for the quote.
The toll of the season, his financial issues and the passing of his brother certainly are pulling his mind in plenty of directions—which makes passing remarks like confusing the states of Arkansas and Alabama even more excusable than they would be under normal circumstances. In this case, it's more likely that the quote is in reference to Petrino's feelings toward Kentucky rather than Smith's assessment of the Auburn coaching situation.
But with that said, he did just publicly question the status of Chizik, who has two full weeks to prepare for the reeling Razorbacks, who have a game at Texas A&M this weekend.
That quote wouldn't sit well under normal circumstances, but considering Auburn is 1-3 and in desperate need of a win to turn around the season, the impact of the comment will only be exaggerated inside the confines of Auburn's football complex.
Is Gene Chizik on the hot seat?
Will Auburn use John L. Smith's quote as bulletin board material?
But just for argument's sake, let's say he is. Even in that situation, the likelihood of Bobby Petrino returning to the Plains—where he served as offensive coordinator in 2002—is slim to none...and slim just left the building.
The key players may be gone, but Auburn's administrators still know Petrino as the guy that interviewed for the Auburn job at a Louisville airport even though it was still occupied by Tommy Tuberville.
That would be a hard sell for athletic director Jay Jacobs.
Ignoring the absurdity of the prospect of Bobby Petrino becoming the head coach at Auburn, Gene Chizik probably won't take kindly to Smith suggesting that anyone other than Chizik will be the head coach at Auburn in 2013.