Rumor mill: TCU’s Patterson No. 1 on Arkansas’ wish list

TCU Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson and guard Trevius Jones (68) and center James Fry (64) and center Eric Tausch (73) prepare to take the field to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium. (Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE)

What do you do when you have spent the last ten years of your life building something monumental, something that will last far after your career is over and far longer than you remain?

Perhaps that is a bit more existential than TCU’s Gary Patterson is thinking these days, but the essential question remains: After spending a decade leading the Horned Frogs from WAC cellar-dweller to a Rose Bowl victory and now a competitive member of the Big 12 conference, is it time to go on to potentially bigger and better things?

Is the Arkansas job that ‘bigger and better thing’?

The Razorbacks’ athletic department obviously seems to think so.

Pete Roussel of has reported that Patterson has emerged as Arkansas’ leading candidate for the soon-to-be-open coaching position.

With only a few weeks remaining on what has been one of the most trying years in college football history (outside of the permanent ‘Worst Season Ever’ at Penn State last year), Hogville’s brass is antsy to get the search started for a new face of their football program. The 2012 college football season has been a year that saw Arkansas first fire its star head coach Bobby Petrino, followed by the administration hiring John L. Smith on an interim basis.  An early-season loss to Louisiana-Monroe knocked the program from No. 8-overall to out of the top 25 altogether, and the team has limped to a devastating 4-5 record thus far.

Who knows more about revamping football programs? Who knows more about a desire to lead young men out on the football field against the strongest of competition?

Gary Patterson would not allow his program to stay in the WAC because it was not nearly high enough in stature to provide his elite program (read: the program he made elite) with the types of games that would lead to BCS bowl births.

Thus the move to the Big 12.

Now, with John L. Smith being shoo’d out the door like Mother Hubbard without a thing in her cupboard, is it time for him to make the move to the SEC, where the competition again raises up another notch?

After taking over the reins in 2000, Patterson has led his program to heights hardly dreamed of for TCU. If he didn’t leave last year, when Arkansas was ready to make a serious run at a national title, why would he leave now?

Maybe he just loves the challenge of a reclamation project.

More from the Rumor Mill >> Is FSU’s Jimbo Fisher headed to the SEC as well?