I think I’m starting to get a handle on this search for the next University of Arkansas Razorbacks head football coach.
I’ll acknowledge that it took a while. I spent way too much time tossing dried chicken bones out of a Beenie-Weenie can. I shouldn’t have called that Caribbean psychic number nearly as much. And I know now that there’s no point in following around a piglet, trying to discern a name from its … um … leavings.
Yes, I wasted a lot of time figuring out my system, but I’m in the wheelhouse now. I’m at least 13.6 percent confident that I know who the next Head Hog will be, as hired by Athletic Director Jeff Long. My complicated, sophisticated and sure-to-be-debated set of criteria far surpass other methods (contacting sources, asking questions, you know, reporting) of determining who the next coach will be.
So, here we go, in ascending order of probability:
• Jon Gruden. Not gonna happen. Can’t risk the confusion of too many Arkansans misspelling the guy’s first name.
• That Gundy guy over at Oklahoma State. The natural gas mogul, Daniel Boone Picketts or whatever his name is, won’t let the third Gundy brother get away.
• Gary Patterson. He’s the head coach at Texas Christian University. The mascot there is a horned frog. Do I really need to say more?
• Charlie Strong. Good coach, but no way the Hogs hire a guy who two-thirds of the Board of Trustees can’t name the conference he coaches in.
• Art Briles. Baylor, in case you were wondering. He’s turned that program into a, well, bear. He can’t coach on The Hill, though, because the Bears employ weird uniforms. Too radical for the traditionalists.
• Kirby Smart. He’s the defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa. Though “Tuscaloosa” contains letters closely resembling “Tusk”, Smart’s too smart to get too far away from Nick Saban.
• John Chavis. Here is where the system really kicks in. “John Chavis” has the same number of letters as “Razorbacks”. Aha! Combine that with the fact that Louisiana State University is in Baton Rouge, which means “Red Stick” in French, and it’s obvious that Long will look elsewhere. Why? He never really appreciated the Louisiana Purchase.
• Bobby Petrino. Per the system’s inputs and outputs, Petrino, the former head coach, is nearly an even-money bet to be the next coach. Of course, one of the system’s sponsors is Harley-Davidson …
• Bob Stoops. The Oklahoma coach has won one national title. Subtract one from the number of O’s in Stoops’ name, and you get two. Subtract one from that, and you get one. How can anyone argue with that logic?
• Chris Petersen. He’s the guy behind the curtain pulling the strings at Boise State. The system likes the three E’s in the last name and the fact that “Idaho” is the punchline of more than a few jokes. But, the X-factor is that Houston Nutt coached at Boise. No way anyone in Fayetteville gets within pokin’ distance of anything remotely resembling The Nuttster.
And so we come to our obvious choice. The system’s detailed and intricate workings spit out one name over and over, through multiple iterations.
The next University of Arkansas Razorbacks head football coach: Larry the Cable Guy.
You can’t spell “Razorbacks” without two A’s, and “Larry the Cable Guy” has two A’s. Coincidence? OK, how about the stunning fact that “Razorbacks” and “Larry the Cable Guy” both have two R’s? Also, he’s from Nebraska.
One final factor, which seals the deal: Larry is the first name of “Chipper” Jones, longtime baseball player of the Atlanta Braves. Jones most often hit third in the Braves’ lineup. Third.
I rest my case.
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Rick Fahr is an independent journalist in Arkansas who most recently was editor and publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway. His e-mail is rick firstname.lastname@example.org.