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Thinking About Florida: One Unpleasant Memory, One Pleasant Pipe Dream

If you're like me, the thought of Arkansas vs Florida conjures up the memory of one specific game and one very, very unpleasant play in particular.

(And if, after reading the above sentence, you're not thinking of the 2006 SEC championship game and Reggie Fish's infamous fumbled punt then you're a very lucky person.)

Just to come out and say it, that game sucked. Royally. After falling behind 17-0, the Hogs stormed back to take the momentum and the lead until, late in the 3rd quarter, poor Reggie Fish fumbled a punt in the end zone. To his credit, Fish was a very classy, stand-up guy about it and the Razorbacks certainly had more chances after that play. But man, that was the of the lowest moments in my long personal history as an Arkansas fan.

So, as part of the slow, painful healing process I needed to get that off my chest before this weekend's Florida game (apologies for any mental trauma it may have caused you). But then I remembered that Fish is still on the team and that got me thinking...

One of my favorite things about sports is that the games occasionally offer opportunities for redemption that rarely happen in real life...think of Clint Stoerner's pass to Anthony Lucas to beat Tennessee in 1999, or even Casey Dick ending his Razorback career with that heroic drive and last-second TD against LSU. Even though nothing fully makes up for earlier heartbreaks, I'm a sucker for that stuff.

I fully admit that the following scenario is about as likely as Wally Hall winning the Pulitzer Prize (cheap shot alert!), but it's fun to dream about. Imagine this:

It's late in the 4th quarter against Florida and, somehow, the Hogs have miraculously managed to scratch and claw their way into a close game. The Gators' offense has made a few big plays, but has been slightly out-of-sync the whole time, and has committed a couple of turnovers that we were able to capitalize on. The Hogs' offense has been largely stymied by the ferocious Florida D, but has gutted out a few drives to keep things from getting out of hand.

To sum up, it's been one of those games where we never really had momentum and things have always been a bit out of reach, yet with less than a minute left we find ourselves down only 21-17 and ready to receive a punt after a huge 3rd down stop by our defense. For some reason (my crystal ball gets cloudy here), the littlest Razorback - Mr. Reggie Fish - takes the field around the Arkansas 30 yard line as part of the return team. The ball is kicked his way...he makes the catch (Hog fans everywhere breathe a sigh of relief), dodges the first defender, then the second, then the third and suddenly sees daylight up the left sideline. He kicks his legs into a new gear and...