When the fourth quarter started and the Hogs held a narrow lead after the explosion of Tyler Wilson touchdowns, I was thinking about what a great story this will be to blog about. Top-notch, record holding Arkansas quarterback knocked out of a must win game, backup comes in and has a Heisman performance himself and thus cements himself in Razorback legend and lore forever and ever amen as the off the bench conquerer of Auburn. We would have said, "Fred Talley is still running against Auburn, and Tyler Wilson is still completing touchdown strikes." But as we all know, the music died, the completed passes became completed, but to the wrong team, and in the space of a few minutes in the fourth quarter Auburn had scored numerous touchdowns for the win. Quantum mechanics and the theory of multiple universes tells us that all possible outcomes do happen, but you only experience one universe. Unfortunately, this morning we are all in the universe where Tyler Wilson's performance wasn't enough to secure a victory. But, you know, even with the knowledge of quantum mechanics and multiple universes, I find it hard to believe we live in an universe where Mario Fanin's fumble at the goal line can be ruled a touchdown! On to the observations, many of them painful.
* The refs might not have been on our side and neither were Corso or Herbstreit, but the guest picker in Madison, either Jesus Christ himself or a drummer from a band I am too old to know about had confidence in us and picked the Hogs to win.
* Lesson to all of you who live in a college town. You should not expect to get a seat at Buffalo Wild Wings to see your game if the home team is away and isn't on standard television packages and is playing at the same time. My fellow Hog fan and I retreated back to my place for the game.
* Always happy to see our very own Prussian general, Van Stumon, make a touchdown. Too bad our defense was even less effective than the maginot line!
* Think about this: 65 points on just 14 passes. Geez. Willie and the defense really only had one job on Saturday - contain Cam Newton. Simply put they could not have done a worse job of it. And then for the salt in the wound, they allow Michael Dyer to score a touchdown at the end of the game.
* But wasn't this the same defense we were praising last week? I know I did in my blog post and in the podcast. Did I jinx them? Did I also jinx the special teams unit by saying how impressed I was with their performance so far this year? Our kick-off coverage guys gave up huge returns (one for 99 yards); whereas, Cobi Hamilton's bus ticket rarely got him beyond the twenty yard line.
* THE CURSE OF 1998 - Stats people can correct me here if need be. But I think this still holds true. Since the Stoerner fumble and the loss at Miss. State, the Hogs every year since 1998 have always lost the second SEC game after losing the first one. I was hoping that curse would follow Nutt to Oxford. But so far, no. Another weight on the scale of history that the Hogs were fighting against is that I don't think since joining the SEC we've beat any SEC foe outside of the state of Mississippi three games in a row. This would have been three times in a row against Auburn if the Hogs had won.
* Another trend from the Nutt years that I had hoped Bobby Petrino had coached out of these guys is the snowball effect where when something horrible happens to the Hogs (Mallett getting knocked out) bad things come not as spies, but as battalions, to borrow from Claudius. We saw this around the Mallett injury to end the first half. The blocked kick followed. Then an Auburn touchdown. The wheels falling off. But Tyler Wilson put them back on touchdown by touchdown. Then the Broderick Green fumble for an Auburn touchdown in the fourth quarter and it all snowballed again, but with no 5th quarter, there was no time to rally.
* Do the instant replay refs in the SEC go to the birthday parties of the field refs? Do they hang out at bars together after games? Do they attend the weddings of daughters and sons? Do they go on vacations together to Gulf Shores? Do their wives socialize with one another? I ask because it sure as hell seems they are very reluctant to turn over anything that the field ref has called. The Broderick Green fumble, I will say that was very close, and I could see how a replay ref might not turn that one around, but the Mario Fanin fumble showed the ball hitting the ground before it ever crossed the line. Clear as day! But still, Auburn touchdown. Disgusting!
* Which group of players on our team are the toughest bunch of dudes we have? I wish I could say it was some unit on the defense. But not after this game where they looked at times like "girly men" out there with hand slaps and attempted arm tackles and not getting off blocks. Uggh. I think our receiving corps, actually, has to be the group of guys I would want to have my back in a bar fight. Is there anyone tougher on that field than Joe Adams? Sign my death warrant if I were to ever get on his bad side. Nothing I could do to him short of dropping an Abrams tank on him would keep him from whoopin' on me.
* And to those receivers, Tyler Wilson threw some of the prettiest passes I've seen come from an Arkansas quarterback. The 65-43 score is going to drown out, unfortunately, what Tyler Wilson accomplished out there. But I am determined to remember his hot streak of completions.
* BIG PICTURE THOUGHT - This season has been defined so far by two bad fourth quarters against teams from the state of Alabama. Thank goodness the University of Georgia does not rest within the state of Alabama, or we would not have an SEC win at all! Some good news is that we don't have to play any more teams from Alabama the rest of the way. Alternative title for this post: "The Valley of the Shadow of the Fourth Quarter."
* Smaller inside the game thought - Why didn't we ever try an on-side kick? My group of Hog fans were calling for it all through the third quarter when it was painfully obvious that we couldn't stop Auburn from scoring and they were always going to get a good return on the kick-offs. I think we should have thrown those dice.
* Though the University of Arkansas is clearly located within the state of Arkansas, I am beginning to think it could be located in South Carolina. We seem to have parrallel seasons going right now with our 4-2 neighbor to the east. They lost one in the fourth quarter yesterday as well. We both had good games against Bama, but of course, there's was a lot better. Both of us have the next two SEC games as winnable games. I wouldn't be suprised if we have the same records when we collide on November the 6th. But South Carolina has the fortune of being in the really, really, really down East side of the conference.
* EAST vs. WEST - Interesting stat for you. There is not an SEC team in the EAST with an above .500 conference record at the moment. Tennessee doesn't have a win in conference at all. Even Vandy has one conference win, Ole Miss. But how about Florida losing to Miss. State in the swamp?
* Next week Ole Miss is coming to Fayetteville on the defensive side of the ball not as the team who lost to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt. Alabama might have had some funk in their heads still, but Tyrone Nix is playing for his job and did a pretty good job of containing the Alabama offense last night.
* Question: Will Mr. Willy Robinson ever be playing for his job? Just when he was getting some praise after the Texas A&M game, he puts up this turkey of 65 points and enough running yardage to equal the circumference of a few of the smaller planets. Oh, by the way, Missouri took some luster off that A&M win by beating the Aggies at Kyle Field 30 to 9.
* BIG PICTURE THOUGHT PART DEUX: I think the goal now is the Cotton Bowl or some other January 1 bowl game. BCS, dead. I don't know what I was thinking when I once stated 10-2 and a trip to the Orange Bowl. The trip to Atlanta, book that for either Auburn or LSU or still possibly Alabama. I would love to see us win a Cotton Bowl and have two bowl victories in a row, but with all the promise and hope that went into this season at the beginning and all the talent we have on the field that won't be here forever, a second trip to Arlington in one season seems like one trip too many.
* Finally, as much as I would love to see Ryan Mallett bomb away on Houston Nutt's Rebels, I don't want to see him out there if there is any danger to his health. As much as Arkansans hunger for a victory over Nutt, it isn't worth Ryan's health. Besides, I believe there is still a great story to be written about Tyler Wilson, and I wouldn't be suprised if we see it unfold next Saturday in Fayetteville.