Way back in January (given all the ups and downs of this season, it seems like several years ago by now) I unveiled an oh-so-stirring dream of mine: to see the Hogs finish with an 8-8 record in SEC play. I first articulated this on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, and like Dr. King's soaring vision of an America rooted in racial equality, my wish of a .500 conference record no doubt inspired millions and brought tears to many an eye.
With about five minutes to go in the second half, I felt certain my dream would shortly become a reality. In fact, I was preparing for a lucrative career as a corporate motivational speaker. My eyes kept glancing at the phone, certain that Jeff Long would be calling to thank me for my inspirational words.
And then, well ... the Hogs proceeded to score one point over the final 5 minutes and 22 seconds of play, and allowed the Rebels to rally from a 64-53 deficit during that time. Ole Miss took its first lead of the game with 53 seconds left to play. To quote The Walrus:
"And so dear friends,
you'll just have to carry on,
the dream is over."
It's hard to feel this way now, but the Hogs made some progress this year. Going from 2 wins in the SEC to 7 may not be cause for a ticker-tape parade, but it shouldn't be entirely dismissed, either. Having said all that, the regular-season-ending, five-game losing streak has done a good job of reviving the bad vibes that have surrounded this program for too much of the recent past.