Published September 17, 2012 - 3:25pm
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It’s not everyday that a team that finished 11-2 and ranked #5 at the end of the previous season, falls so far so fast. Arkansas is that team. The Razorbacks are reeling after being shut out by Alabama at home. It was the first time since 1966 that the Hogs didn’t score a single point in a game in Fayetteville, and the first time since 1995 (28-0 at LSU) that they were shut out in a game, regardless of location.
It doesn’t help matters any that Arkansas was upset by ULM the previous week in Little Rock. The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks almost pulled off another victory over Auburn this past Saturday, but fell short in OT. That doesn’t make the Razorbacks or their fans feel any better.
Not since Arkansas’ first season in the SEC, 1992, has the team and its fan base felt so low. The Hogs started that forgettable year with a loss to Div. I-AA The Citadel, 10-7. The next day, former athletic director Frank Broyles fired head coach Jack Crowe. The Hogs managed only three victories that season, although one of those wins was a huge upset over a #4 Tennessee squad in Knoxville.
The Hogs are fighting for their football lives right now, and they desperately need something good to happen. With the Rutgers Scarlet Knights coming to Fayetteville this Saturday, Arkansas must find a way to pull out a W, before hitting the road for two weeks at Texas A&M and Auburn.
Senior QB Tyler Wilson, who didn’t play against Alabama due to a concussion, did his best Tim Tebow impression at the post-game press conference. The fan reaction has been mixed, but a slight majority agrees that Wilson should have called out his teammates.
Wilson stated that he did think that some of his fellow Hogs gave up at times versus the Tide, and that as a leader, it was his responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen again. In fact, Wilson called out some of Arkansas’ fans as well, saying “There have been a lot of people jump off the bandwagon, and it is my job to keep everyone in this organization and this team in that locker room together.”
The Razorbacks’ fall from grace and into purgatory has been very ugly to watch. Glaringly obvious are the failings of the coaching staff. Arkansas’ lack of depth and talent on defense is obvious, too. What must be done for the Hogs to recover, and make some kind of run to at least become bowl-eligible?
Quite frankly, I have no idea. I’m not sure anyone does. John L. Smith sure doesn’t.
I know Tyler Wilson must get healthy, so he can be on the field to lead this offense. Without him, this offense is average at best. Defensively, I am not sure where they turn. The Hogs are probably going to have to outscore opponents to win any more games, because this defense has more holes than a Swiss cheese factory.
Football purgatory can be good or bad. It depends on the team. The Razorbacks can decide to give up, and slip into the depths of college football hell. Or, they can decide to fight, and claw their way out of the darkness and into the light of a bowl bid.
Whichever it is for Arkansas in 2012, this team will have a long way to go before they are relevant again. It’s bad for Arkansas and their fans, but it’s also bad for the SEC.