As a partisan of a certain Conference USA opponent of Tulsa, even one in the opposite division, SMQ can say he wasn't overly concerned when the Hurricane recruited the backstabbing coach who just guided Rice to a stunning 7-6 record and fairly lopsided New Orleans Bowl defeat to Troy, nor when said coach lured his disgruntled, pass-happy buddy for identical money but more power from an apparent figurehead position at Arkansas. He is somewhat concerned, though, that Gus Malzahn will likely have his own personal quarterbacking WMD - who asked and was granted permission to transfer from Arkansas this afternoon after a month of grumbling - in tow.
Why Tulsa? Elementary, my dear Mitch - didn't your mother teach that "Malzahnesty is the best policy"?
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Orson at EDSBS assumes with typical glee Mitch Mustain is en route to a tearful reunion with Malzahn in Tulsa, which is the headslappingly obvious conclusion for its location to both his adored coach and his hometown, but no credible news sources - including the one to which Orson links - confirm yet Mitchy is a pending Golden Hurricane. For the moment, he's just a drop-out with a 4-0 record as a starter in the SEC and, apparently, the bare minimum of patience - though he will now have to sit out a year to play at a C-USA school rather than compete immediately to regain his spot with the defending SEC West champion, flanked by the school's first-ever Heisman finalist on one hand and its soon-to-be all-time receiving leader on the other. So maybe it's not patience that's in the shortest supply here. Expect official notice to Tulsa any time Wednesday.
The impression left of all parties involved in this Ozark zaniness is that they'll soon have Tulsa looking exactly the opposite of its sharply-executing self under new Louisville boss Steve AgroKragthorpe, who molded disciplined assassins from the wait staffs of local eateries (current quarterback Paul Smith was plucked from the buffet at the Holiday Inn Select on Skelly Drive) and was generally the least talented and subsequently most frustrating opponent on the schedule. Smith - whether or not Mustain winds up practicing with him during his mandatory sit-down year, still the 2007 starter - is a sort of heady, poor man's Craig Krenzel (yes, that's right), and SMQ worries not the least about him flinging the ball around, because he's no threat to go deep, and hopefully then he won't be doing any more of the damned read option Southern Miss refuses to defend with the slightest competence. Mustain, by contrast, appears to date not particularly acute, or gutsy, or much of a leader. But he can presumably throw the ball out of the stadium. And that's much more frightening; bless Conference USA, but one of the top three quarterback recruits of his class, who is not a bust, doesn't belong in Conference USA. Unless it turns out in 2008 he is a bust, in which case, we'd love to have him. Because losing to Paul Smith is really annoying.
Note: it could be argued the addition of a player of Mustain's presumed caliber would raise the level of play across the league by attracting more very highly-recruited players. SMQ doubts seriously the possibility of anything like this effect. Does anyone else think, under the circumstances, said defection can benefit any C-USA program except Tulsa?