Where to begin? Just like everyone, I am having a hard time swallowing yesterday's bitter loss to the Gators. Throughout the week, I was feeling something out of the Spiritus Mundi of college football that the Hogs would pull off the upset while the more logical side of me was saying that the Hogs wouldn't. You know, I hate logic! Sorry, Mr. Spock! My irrational side even ate two ham sandwiches for good luck just like I did before the Auburn game. I think the slices I had this week must have come from a different pig. What other explanation could there be? On to the observations.
* Speaking of luck, how about curses? Is there some bowl game connected, mysterious curse on the Hogs? The two teams that Arkansas beat in bowl games before joining the SEC, Florida and Georgia, have been the two hardest teams for them to beat as fellow conference members. Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Auburn, and LSU all beat the Hogs in bowl games, but the Hogs have managed to beat them more consistently than they have Florida and Georgia
* If you had told me before the game that the Hogs would have gotten that many turnovers themselves and never turned it over to the Gators, I would have thought Hogs win. Isn't that suppose to be how it works?
* Why is it that Arkansas teams, so it seems, always tend to bring out a "career day" in somebody. Tebow had a career long pass for a touchdown, and their kicker (I refuse to remember his name) got a career long field goal.
* We learned on Saturday that against Arkansas natives the Hogs can beat a Gus offense two years in a row, but also lose to a Charlie Strong defense two years in a row. I would love to see Charlie get a head coaching job at a NON SEC school! Same thing for Gus, for he is bound to get us one of these days.
* October 17th, wins over #1 Texas in the 60s and #1 Texas in the 80s almost added a win over #1 Florida in the 00s. Too bad we weren't playing Florida in games of horseshoes and hand grenades!
* What looks cooler in the middle of the field, a fierce running Razorback or the letter "F" from Sesame Street? Forget moral victory, haha, score an aesthetic victory for Arkansas right there! And you certainly don't need Tim Gunn to tell you that orange and blue is a horrible, horrible color combination.
* Congratulations to Dennis Johnson for his well played game and a darn good impersonation of Michael Smith. But you gotta think that a Michael Smith at peak performance would have been worth at least a touchdown. I hope we see him back next week.
* The Heads Up Award of the week goes to Greg Childs for securing the football in the endzone. I still don't understand why so much reviewing went on. It didn't matter if the ball popped out before he crossed the goal line; he did secure it inside the endzone. Were the refs trying to find a way to give the ball to Florida?
* I am also tipping my hog hat to the defense. They've come out on fire now for three weeks in a row and have improved with each week. They are taking up residence in opposing backfields much more frequently. They do have their hippcups, the busted coverage touchdown, but overall they have done a much better job of keeping the opponent out of the end zone. If it had been a touchdown that the Gators needed at the end, I think they would have stopped them.
* Random positive thought - We will never have to play Saint Tim Tebow again or ever listen in a postgame interview about how he prayed for a victory over Arkansas. Uggh. Negative side of this, we won't ever get another chance to beat him. We are 0-3 against him and his Gators. That hurt to write!
* I am in agreement with Hog Nation and even Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, two pro Florida announcers if there ever were any, that the thirty yards of penalties on the Hogs in Florida's final touchdown drive were a joke. And then there was the non call for offensive pass interference on Florida's go ahead drive. Simply put, the refs should not have played such a big role in determining the game. The Hogs still might have lost, but at least then, it would have been a fairer loss.
* Didn't Broderick Green of the famous Broderick Green Experiment look really good going in for a touchdown on his first one? Oh, which was called back due to a penalty! Congrats to Broderick and the Hogs for overcoming the refs on that drive.
* Curses went out in Prussia from Van Stumon's troops who faithfully watched their general get wide open in the endzone only to have Mallett overthrow him by a mile.
* Does Mallett's much discussed advantage of height also come with a disadvantage of him throwing balls too high and too low when he over corrects? I think so. A more on target Mallett and a better job from the receivers at catching the ball, and I think Arkansas would have had at least one more touchdown going into the final minutes.
* I thought too many offensive plays were sacrificed to the heart of the Florida run defense. I thought I heard Petrino say at halftime that they were going to try to take more shots down field. I would have been happy if just a few more of those running it up the gut plays had been attempts at getting more out of the short passing game. Our receivers can make some YAC happen if they get the ball.
* "REALLY WITH SETH, AMY, AND KEVIN" - Really, Bobby, I mean really? Did you really think Alex Tejada from over 30 yards, when he had already missed one, was a higher percentage play than keeping it in Mallett's hands or in the hands of a running back after that final third and five? I mean, really? Really? I knew the game was over when Tejada's kick went wide and Florida took over. This is what Tebow does! Really, Bobby, do you think anyone in Arkansas would have blamed you if you had not put Alex out there in that type of pressure situation? Really?
* Did you hear Verne Lundquist say "Te-hate-ah"? Was he channeling the collective thought of the state of Arkansas?Actually, I don't believe in hating members of your own team. But having a strong dislike for their lack of performance - you bet!
* In other bad news, the Texas A&M win goes down in stock value this week. A bad Kansas State team took them to the woodshed. And the Auburn win decreases as well after they let a bad Kentucky team beat them. If Arkansas had won, would Florida have lost the next week just to spite us? haha.
* 3-3 for the first half of the season and the toughest half at that. I think realistic fans can't be too upset with that from a team that has progressed a good deal from last year at this time. Remember those 08 slaughters on the grid iron?
* Looking ahead, the best cure for this bitter loss is a big win next week in Oxford against some coach named Nutt. As my friend Shannon pointed out, there shouldn't be much of a chance for the Hogs going into an emotional funk after this loss, what with the much hated Rebels up next. But I think too that the case can be made that the fans hate them more than the players. Whatever the hate level is, I just hope the Hogs come away with a win, and wouldn't it be sweet if London Crawford has a big game after last year's famous offensive pass interference call.
* Sticking with 7-5 for the season. I've been right all season thus far, but the next conference win might be at Ole Miss instead of against a tough South Carolina squad that played Alabama at home closer than we did.
Finally, I would like to hear from you in the comment section about how you dealt with the Hogs losing this game. I talked on the phone with fellow Hog fans, which always seems to help. I turned to the History Channel and watched a documentary about the Kennedy assassination. In comparison, it seemed like an uplifting, feel good, story (just kidding). But unlike ESPN, at least the History Channel wasn't running the Florida / Arkansas score underneath as a constant reminder of our woe. Oh, bitter October 17th. May October 24th shine much brighter!