So how bad is this season? It isn't lose to Tulsa bad, but it is now officially lose to both Mississippi schools bad. When I checked, I thought the last case of that happening would have been a number of years ago, but actually, it wasn't so long ago. During that Bobby Petrino transition year, known as the 2008 campaign, the Hogs lost to both Ole Miss and MSU. And this is just another instance in what seems like a reliving of the 2008 season. The Hogs beat Auburn on the road that year. Check. The Hogs nearly lost to ULM. Well, we took it down a notch further by actually losing the game this time. There were epic whoopins in games against Alabama, Texas, and Florida. Diddo this year, but call them Alabama, Texas A&M, and MSU.
A positive from the 2008 season that I would like to see repeated is a win over LSU. But 2008 only had two conference wins, so we might have maxed things out already in that department. We got the win over Kentucky this year, when we didn't get it back then. But at least now we can root for the Hogs on the day after Thanksgiving without the fear of having to go to a bowl game with this coaching staff if we should win. Every fiber in my Hog heart hated writing that last sentence. But I think a bowl game should be a reward for a good season, and I don't think by any stretch of the imagination you can call this a good season, even if the Hogs had made the low standard of 6-6. Besides, I don't think the fan base wants to go see what would most likely be another bowl loss for Mr. 1-6 in bowls Smith.
Yesterday's game, I thought I would glance over it (who wants to go into those details?) by just sharing with you some questions that I had while watching the Hogs implode once again in a return to their Keystone Cop mode of football.
1.) Can you honestly say that this team has improved in any one area throughout the season? No, I don't think you can. The best that can be said is that our better players maintained where they were before the season began. Cobi stayed good. So did Dennis Johnson. But Knile certainly regressed. And so has Tyler at times in games. And where to point the finger for that? Coaching. Or lack of it. And, yes, we repeated the old too many men in the backfield trick once again! Uggh. Lack of good coaching breeds lack of discipline, lack of focus. But players, come on guys, you should know something about the rules of the game by now, right?
2.) Has this season shown us that doing what the players think is best isn't always a good strategy? I think so. We were told how much the players love the new uniforms. But it sure didn't inspire better play from them. They just looked ridiculous for much of the season. We were told that Jeff Long consulted the players and they were all in for John L. Smith to come back. Did Jeff Long let the players' input over-rule his knowledge that the coach he was hiring was going to be distracted by a bankruptcy? It seems like it. Players are there to be led, not to run the show.
3.) When did I know yesterday's game was over? I first felt it when the Hogs' offense failed to move the ball at all on a series after MSU had gotten three points off a muffed point. For some odd reason we ran Knile Davis at the heart of the MSU defense for two plays for little gain, and then it was punt time. It was all down hill from there. I think that might have also been the time when Paul Petrino's scripted plays had all been run. Now he had to think on his feet, and the kindest thing to be said is that he didn't think all that well.
4.) How often do you see other teams just implode and let one bad thing snowball into another? You don't see it very often. But you have seen plenty of it this year from the Hogs. The Petrino Hogs were capable of it too. And we saw it time and time again with Nutts' Hogs. But this year's variety of it certainly has an aura of "Well, f--k it!" about it. The fight, fight, fight, doesn't seem to always be there, there, there.
5.) Does Dan Mullen with his first win against Arkansas still look like he has the posture of a turtle peaking out from his shell? Absolutely, haha.
6.) Why was Tyler Wilson still out there in the late stages of the game? Because right now we are a program being run by coaches with the foresight of a house fly.
7.) With the right hire, can the Hogs flip things around next year and have a decent, at least improved, 2013 season? I think they can. Having the substitute teachers in there, we should have known would never work. I think it is going to take a coach with a long contract behind him to get the attention of our players. We've all learned just how much a factor a head coach is. Think back to last year. Ole Miss and Texas A&M played pitiful football, but a new coaching staff came in and turned out much improved 2012 squads. It could happen at Arkansas too.
And I'll leave you on that optimistic note. If last night in college football showed you anything, the upsets showed that it really is a sport where anything can happen. The more outrageous, the more improbable, seems more likely than not at times. Look at Auburn and where they are just two years after a national championship season. Look at us, derailed by a horny coach and an ex-volleyball player. And to top it off, Notre Dame (Our Lady) will be on top of the BCS come Monday morning. To quote the great Slim Pickens, "What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?" Slim, it is just college football being college football.