Unlike the last two years, the big bowl announcement show on ESPN last night didn't include our Hogs in the line-up of 1,001 bowl games. But that is no reason why we can't play out some future games in our imagination for the years ahead. Sugar Bowl dreams, do they not dance in our heads? Fast forwarding the imagination through some better seasons in the near future, I want to turn to 2014, the year Arkansas wins the national championship at the Rose Bowl. For a Mayan calendar recently discovered in the basement of the Broyles Complex amongst some of Frank's old stuff points out that national championships in basketball and football for Arkansas come mysteriously only in years ending in the number four: 1964, 1994. Archaeologists and sportsologists at the UofA are still trying to figure out what happened in '74, '84, and '04. For fun, I've taken the major BCS conferences and provided each with my ideal match-up that results in a national championship for Arkansas in 2014. Only the long gone Mayans know which one it will actually be.
BIG 12 - There's really no other team to consider here other than Texas. After the Hogs win the game 15-14, of course, the surviving members of the '69 squad and the victorious members of the 2014 squad eat a big steak dinner together, turn eastward, and toast the state of Arkansas. And just like that a big cloud of defeat lifts from the skies over Arkansas, flowers bloom in our endzones in both Fayetteville and Little Rock, literacy rates go up, poverty rates go down, and Frank Broyles goes to sleep with a smile on his face to never awaken again. At the state funeral held at the capitol, even Houston Nutt is welcomed back and then claims he really, really, really, did always like the Hogs and still loves the helmet even though he is a Snipe now, coaching the Central Valley East Junior College "Fighting Snipes!" - co-division champions of 2012.
PAC 10 - Frankly, I don't know anything about any other PAC 10 team except USC. Are there really any other teams in that conference? Yeah, the one that always inexplicably ends up beating USC must be in the PAC 10. But I will go with Arkansas beating USC in a beat down to the tune of 73 to 14 in the Rose Bowl for some good payback for the last time we met in Los Angeles. Hog fans everywhere have a good laugh when Pete Carroll says after the game, "You know, they just score so fast, it really messes you up."
BIG EAST - Arkansas' two mascots, the Hog and the Cardinal, face-off against one another when Arkansas faces Petrino's old team, the Louisville Cardinals. Yes, Petrino is still coaching the Hogs, to the amazement of ESPN. Dubbed the "Hillbilly Bowl" by snobbish LA sportswriters, this national championship game is personal for the Cardinals as they still have a McCoy type grudge against Petrino. But Mr. Shark Eyes himself isn't phased at all and puts up half a hundred on his old team in a route. Memorable moment, the UofA tracks down a descendant of Hugo Bezdek living in Prague to be an honorary captain for the game. Thanks to his ancestor, we are some wild Razorback Hogs this night in Pasadena.
ACC - The "U" is finally back. The Hogs take on Miami again for the first time since a heartbreaker and a heartcrusher from the late '80's ended in Razorback defeats. Steve Atwater and company have to give these Hogs some history lessons, for the 2014 squad has no living memory of those games. But they certainly make a memory when with a second on the clock the Hogs line up to kick a game winning field goal that for a brief moment looks like it is going to go wide right, but curves back in just as the Miami fans are about to jump out of their seats. Bobby Bowden, still not retired, is seen weeping as he is wheeled out of the victorious Hogs' locker room having congratulated the Hogs' kicker who still refuses to transfer to Florida State. "Datt, gumm, it," he says, but smiles before shouting "Woo Pig Sooie!"
BIG TEN - The University of Michigan finds itself in familiar territory in Pasadena. And the Hogs find themselves facing a familiar foe in Les Miles, Michigan's coach. LSU fans are at home wondering if maybe they ran "The Hat" off a few years too soon. It is Miles' secret that he pays Nick Saban to consult on his recruiting choices. The Michigan man who couldn't pronounce "Arkansas" correctly in 2007 faces a determined group of Hogs who frustrate the Wolverines throughout the game by going for it and getting the needed yardage on fourth down. Casey Dick, Nathan Dick, London Crawford, Matteral Richardson, Peyton Hillis, Felix Jones, and Darren McFadden are all in attendance on the sideline as they watch the Hogs defeat Miles one more time as the fans shout, "Arkansas!" and "SEC!" in the final seconds of a game Arkansas led throughout.
NOTRE DAME - Oh, forget about it. This just stretches the imagination too far! Haha. Sorry, Charlie! But if by some miracle of Touchdown Jesus they do arrive in the national championship game, I would love it if the Hogs were there to beat them into atheism. (Can you believe they got the Hawaii Bowl this year?)
Endnote: Some people believe that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in 2012. They must be wrong, for the Hogs have to win it all in 2014! Even if it is right, Florida fans assure us that Tim Tebow wouldn't allow it to actually happen. Is that Tim Tebow above with the weight of, if not the world, the SEC on his shoulders?