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Baylor’s Art Briles a Candidate at Arkansas?

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The Arkansas Razorbacks made official what many had expected for months when they announced that interim head coach John L. Smith will not return to coach the team in 2013.

The school has been linked to high profile names like Jon Gruden, Gary Patterson, Tommy Tuberville and Charlie Strong among others in recent days and weeks, but one name that has gone under the radar is Baylor head coach Art Briles.

In his fifth season with the Baylor Bears, Briles has resurrected the program and delivered a bowl appearance in his third year at the school, and currently has the program bowl-eligible for the third straight season.

Briles has a reputation as an offensive wizard that was crafted on Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech before a successful five-year run at Houston that culminated in a 10-win season and a Conference USA title.

At Baylor he recruited Robert Griffin III who would eventually win the Heisman trophy award in a season in which Baylor would win 10 games–tying a school record–and included wins over Texas, Texas Tech and the school’s first win over Oklahoma.

At Arkansas, Briles would give fans a style of play that is growing in popularity across the country and with the success of Texas A&M running a near identical offense in the SEC with Kevin Sumlin, who succeeded Briles at Houston, that would only aid his case as being a potential hire.

Briles has this season’s Bears team ranked fifth in the nation in scoring offense and third in passing offense, proving that he can have success without a Heisman in the backfield, and delivered one of the biggest upsets this season when his team took down No. 1 Kansas State.

Baylor has one more regular season game remaining, but after that game, Arkansas should contact Briles’ agent to gauge his interest in coming to Fayetteville.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.