Call it a debate, call it discussion, call it nonsense, or call it whatever, but the questions have been posed on a message board, and since the season has not been packed full of highlight conversation, we thought that we would delve into the questions ourselves.
Will Gus Malzahn come into Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium looking for revenge? And will Gus run up the score?
Revenge? No, what would really be the motivation? Gus was not mistreated by the current coaching staff, nor was the new and current athletic administration the empowering force that allowed Houston Nutt to run off the offensive minded coach. Yes, word was that Gus did interview with Jeff Long for the head coaching position at Arkansas, but even then a coach with minimal experience could not reasonably expect to be handed the reigns to an SEC school.
Gus is loved and admired by a majority of the Arkansas fan base, especially in the area where the university is located - right down the street from his hometown of Springdale. Throw Houston out of the equation, Gus knows that most fans think that he got jobbed by the rabid Nuttster. Gus' only motivation would be that for a team that he now surely loves and loves to coach, furthering his career, and leading the team to a BCS.
Run up the score? Well, that answer comes with variables, but basically it depends on what your definition of "running up the score" is.
Both defenses are prone to the passing game, so this game has the potential to be high-scoring. Therefor, putting a lot of points on the board will be a necessity for either team to clinch the victory. [The plus side for us? Arkansas' defense has been playing better as of late. Hopefully that could swing things into our favor.] Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino (an offensive genius in his own right) will look to do the same with his offense.
If you consider scoring a lot of points as running up the score, you must take into account how the other team is playing. You have to take the score into account. But Gus is also covered in another way.
The Golden Hurricane are undefeated and ranked 19th in the Nation. Talks of a soft schedule for the smaller conference (Conference USA) school have already convinced many of the naysayers that even if Tulsa finishes the season undefeated they should never be allowed a BCS bowl. Arkansas, unfortunately for the lowly Hogs at this time, is an SEC school. Todd Graham, Gus Malzahn, and Co. will come out looking to make sure that they do defeat the Razorbacks sound enough that the polls and media do take notice.
This chance to defeat a power conference school could lead Tulsa to do their best to finish with at least a four score victory. If that is running the score up then so be it. Remember, we are not playing Gus Malzahn Saturday, we are playing the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
So a lot lies in the eyes of the beholders this weekend. Fortunately, for most fans, a loss to Tulsa will not sting quite as much as the loss to Ole Miss did last weekend. A loss, however, will be a tough mark on the program, but the local homers will be happy in the fact that one of their own (not to mention a small number of players with local roots) is successful.
Good luck to all, and Go Hogs!!!
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