After a two-day stretch that saw two Southeastern Conference West Division coaches get fired, rumors swirled that Arkansas coach Sam Pittman would be next.
But Pittman — still standing — will lead his Razorbacks (3-7) against Florida International (4-6) in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday night in non-conference play, the first of Arkansas’ final two games of the season, both at home.
The anticipation for Saturday’s game will not match last week’s fervor against division rival Auburn after Arkansas shocked Florida 39-36 in overtime on the road the previous week.
But the Razorbacks were thrashed 48-10 by coach Hugh Freeze’s Auburn team, fueling speculation about Pittman’s future, especially considering the pattern within the division.
Texas A&M relieved Jimbo Fisher of his duties Sunday, while Mississippi State fired Zach Arnett on Monday — after Fisher’s Aggies routed Arnett’s Bulldogs 51-10 with the coaches pacing opposing sidelines.
Pittman said he isn’t looking over his shoulder despite his team’s overall record and 1-6 SEC mark.
“I can’t really sit around worried about my job security or me or anything like that,” he said Monday. “I just think it’s a much bigger issue with the media than it is with myself.”
Pittman, 61, arrived at Arkansas in 2020 and has gone 22-24 in four seasons, with bowl wins in 2021 and 2022.
Added Pittman, “I think I’m the guy for the university, and I want to stay here a long time.”
In Conference USA’s FIU, Pittman may have the opponent that will help drown out the noise before the SEC’s Missouri comes to town for the finale.
A 29 1/2-point underdog for Saturday’s game, the Panthers have lost five of their past six outings, all by double digits, with just a double-overtime 33-27 win over Sam Houston to show in the win column.
“Going to play Arkansas will be fun for the guys,” FIU coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We’ve got a lot to work on. I just wish I could see more of what I see in practice on game day.”
Despite his team being trounced 40-6 last week by Middle Tennessee, FIU freshman quarterback Keyone Jenkins added nicely to his season passing total.
The left-hander has completed 146 of 247 passes for 1,908 yards and six TDs, with seven interceptions. He threw for 226 yards vs. Middle Tennessee.
–Field Level Media
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