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Picking Up the Pieces

Early in their 1994 national championship season, the Razorbacks demolished - and I mean DEMOLISHED -  a seemingly hapless Missouri Tiger team by 52 points in a nationally televised game. That Missouri team, however, turned out not to be so hapless: the Tigers would go 14-0 in what was then the Big Eight conference, and they made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

In between downing bottles of absinthe and kava kava pills, I've been thinking about that Missouri game in the aftermath of the Saturday Afternoon Massacre. In no way am I suggesting that the Razorbacks are as good as that Tiger team (I'm not even saying that they are a good team). However, I am saying that every now and then, one team plays at a staggeringly good level, and its opponent looks a lot - LOT - worse than it is. I think that's what happened on Saturday. For starters, the Hogs turned in an extremely respectable effort against former No. 1 (and now No. 6) Texas

All of this is a meandering way of saying I haven't given up on the season just yet. However, it may be tempting to do so over the next 10 days. The Hogs have a tough Mississippi State at home on Thursday and then travel to Oxford - where they almost always play terribly and haven't won since 1996 - on Saturday. That's followed by another road trip to take on a surprisingly stout Georgia team that whipped then-No.8 Tennessee this past weekend.

After the visit to Athens, things ease up a bit - four of the Hogs' next six games are against LSU and Auburn, which are currently behind Arkansas in the SEC West standings. The season then ends with a trio of contests against teams that are now ranked: Vandy, Tennessee and Ole Miss. The games against the Commodores and the Rebels are in Bud Walton.

I'll admit that schedule looks daunting, but I still believe the Hogs have enough there, there to produce an SEC season that is a significant improvement from last year and that would indicate that - at last - the program is headed in a positive direction. However, I'm nowhere close to actually predicting that will happen; I just think it can.

When it comes to this year's Razorbacks, I'm about as wishy-washy as can be.

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