Arkansas vs. Auburn: Which Coach Needs a Win More, John L. Smith or Gene Chizik?

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 4, 2012

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers looks from the sidelines against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Gene Chizik needs this win to possibly save his job.

In fact, both head coaches John L. Smith and Chizik could certainly use a victory right about now. Neither coach has had much success in the first month of the season and could be shown the door if things don't turn around.

Good thing is that Auburn and Arkansas will play each other, which means that one of these guys will walk away with a second victory.

Which program is going to suck less this weekend?

This will be a battle between two clubs that are currently sitting at the bottom of the SEC West with a combined 2-7 record. Both teams have lost to squads that should have been beaten and have played painfully and equally bad football.

Teams such as LSU and Alabama were expected to run this conference once again, but these are two proud programs that expected to make some noise as well in 2012.

Here is the scoop on each coach and who needs the victory more than the other.


Why Gene Chizik needs to win this game

Auburn returned 16 starters from a team that won a solid eight games last season. And while the Tigers weren't considered SEC contenders heading into the year, the team was expected to be more competitive than it was in 2011.

Auburn has gotten off to a 1-3 start, including getting blown out by Mississippi State and needing overtime to beat Louisiana-Monroe. The quarterback situation with Kiehl Frazier has failed miserably, as the sophomore is completing 52 percent of his passes and has thrown seven interceptions.

The offense as a whole is averaging less than 18 points per game, which has many in Auburn begging for offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to return. Of course, it doesn't help when there have been 12 turnovers in four games.

Defensively, a unit that was supposed to be improved under defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has also been a disappointment. The scoring defense is 59th in the country, but total defense is 12th in the SEC and there have only been four forced turnovers.

The start the Tigers have had is completely unacceptable and has many thinking Chizik is on the hot seat at the moment.


Why John L. Smith needs to win this game

I'm sure the folks in Fayetteville would take anything at the moment. Beat Auburn this weekend, beat Tulsa, beat the middle school down the street. Just give Razorback fans something to keep their head from hanging down so low.

There has not been one team in college football that has been more disappointing than the Arkansas Razorbacks. A team that entered the season a Top 10 club and had dreams of winning the SEC, currently has a 1-4 record. Not only did the Razorbacks lose to Louisiana-Monroe and get blown out by Alabama, but the team also lost to Rutgers and to Texas A&M by 48 points.

Despite having so many offensive weapons, the Razorbacks are 94th in the country in scoring offense and 115th in the rushing yards. Defensively, the team is last in the SEC, allowing over 500 yards of total offense and has only produced two turnovers on that side of the ball.

It doesn't get much of an uglier season than what the Razorbacks are currently going through.

Who the game is bigger for

We could say that the game is big for Smith, but I really don't think it matters at this point. Arkansas is not only going through the most disappointing season in program history, but arguably one of the worst choke jobs in college football. It is as close to a lock as you can get that Smith will not return to Fayetteville once the season is over, especially with the AP reporting, via ESPN, that the coach is now $40.7 million in debt.

The Razorbacks will not only likely miss the bowl season, but clean house, regardless of how well the team plays this weekend.

Chizik on the other hand, he still has a lot to lose. We are talking about a coach that just won a national championship in 2010 and is still recruiting with the best of them. While both coaches may appear to be on the hot seat, as both programs are struggling, it is Chizik that still has a solid chance of returning as head coach.

Obviously Chizik and the Auburn Tigers could use this game a lot more than Arkansas. After all, what is one more loss going to hurt a team that lost to Rutgers and Louisiana-Monroe? And nobody wants to be the team that loses to a team that can't beat those guys.

Note: All stats come from unless otherwise noted.