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Reports: Nutt Will Not Return

Despite beating then-#1 ranked LSU on the road, and by extension pushing Darren McFadden to the forefront in the Heisman race, sources are now reporting that Houston Nutt will not return next year as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks next year.

According to ESPN:

"According to a source close to Nutt, the coach believed his fate had been decided before the LSU game. After the Razorbacks' triple-overtime victory, the university then offered him a two-year contract extension. The parties agreed, however, that it was best for the sides to part ways."

In my humble opinion, this is likely the best move for both parties. It would be a travesty for the Hogs to fire Nutt considering what he has done -- obviously no legitimate coach would want to head for Fayetteville after that -- but keeping Nutt does not seem to be the ideal strategy either. Darren McFadden will declare for the NFL Draft soon, foregoing his senior season, and the Hogs lose several other key playmakers, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. With all that mind in mind, the Hogs are likely in for a long year in 2008 anyway, and it will only get worse considering a ridiculously tough schedule that includes games against Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Auburn, Kentucky, and LSU. In other words, it's unlikely Arkansas could do better than 7-5 anyway, and even getting to that point will be very difficult.

As a result, the Hogs really cannot fire Nutt this year, but the writing is on the wall that they would have to next year. The harsh truth is that, as stated earlier, a split is likely the best move for both parties.

As for replacements, the two rumored candidates have been Butch Davis and Tommy Tuberville. Davis, however, signed an extension a few days ago at North Carolina, and Tuberville is likely a longshot, though he's probably a possibility considering he is an Arkansas native and reportedly tried to get the Arkansas job when it came open at the end of the 1997 season when he was at Ole Miss. Aside from those two however, I haven't the slightest clue.

Update [2007-11-26 22:21:51 by outsidethesidelines]:

According to more reports from ESPN, Houston Nutt and company have already been in contact with the Ole Miss Rebels about filling their vacancy. Apparently Ole Miss is willing to give him a salary in the neighborhood of two million dollars, which is what he was making in Fayetteville. Say what you will, but Nutt would be a major upgrade for the Rebels, and with the talent Orgeron has assembled, he could do very well there.