Discussion

Better hire, Malzahn or Bielema?

Evaluating whether Auburn or Arkansas will win sooner under new coaches

Updated: December 5, 2012, 1:47 PM ET
By Rod Gilmore | ESPN Insider

The hirings of Bret Bielema as the next head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks and Gus Malzahn as the next head coach of the Auburn Tigers have put the focus back on the ultracompetitive SEC West. It is the toughest division in college football -- the home of Alabama (defending national champions), LSU (2007 national champs) and Texas A&M, which won 10 games in its first season in the conference.

The SEC West is not an easy division to win, but fans and administrators are not exactly patient with their coaches. Auburn dumped Gene Chizik two years after winning the BCS national title due to a 0-8 conference record this season. Houston Nutt won nine games each of his first two years at Ole Miss but was fired when he followed his early success with two consecutive losing seasons.

We know the competition won't be easy for the two new coaches. The question is, who can win sooner: Bielema at Arkansas or Malzahn at Auburn? After all, they were hired to win -- and win now. They won't stay in these jobs for long if they don't. Let's take a look at whether Arkansas or Auburn made the better choice.

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