Let the record show that the Bobby Petrino Era officially began on the afternoon of Saturday, October 11 in Auburn, AL.
Although the team's performance and execution was far from perfect, for the first time you could really see the potential that Hog fans had been dreaming of ever since Petrino was hired last December. When the offense was clicking, we were treated to crisp passing, a star-making effort from RB Michael Smith and clever play-calling that kept the Tigers on their heels all afternoon. And the defense held their own, too, making the big plays at big moments that had eluded them all season. (Note: to keep the positive vibes flowing, the special teams won't be discussed here.)
After five games where the post-game emotions ranged from slightly embarrassed relief to complete humiliation and finally quiet resignation, how nice was it to feel honest-to-god happy after this one? For the rest of the weekend, the sky was a little bluer and the fall air a little crisper...personally, I was on a cloud for a good 24 hours after Matt Harris' final interception. It had been so long, I'd sort of forgotten what it felt like.
So the big question is, now what? Like a lot of fans, my long-term optimism never really wavered, but I had pretty much resigned myself to the likelihood of a 2-10 record this year followed by a long offseason of Petrino/Razorback-bashing by the national media.
Now, the situation is looking up. To be fair, one big win doesn't fix the Hogs' numerous flaws in nearly every facet of the game, but it does indicate that things are starting to click. The remaining schedule is far from easy, but is a little less scary knowing that we've weathered the brutal early season stretch. I still remain skeptical that we'll pick up the three additional wins needed to reach the lofty status of bowl eligibility, but on the flip side every remaining game (except for LSU) is at least theoretically within our reach. The rest of the season certainly is a lot more interesting now.
Whatever happens next, the Bobby Petrino era is definitely here and that, fellow Razorback fans, is very welcome news indeed.