"Here we go again."
That was, more or less, my first reaction to Saturday's dispiriting loss to Ole Miss. The wheels came off John Pelphrey's Razorbacks in the latter stages of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and it's hard not to worry that a third-straight year-ending nosedive is on the horizon.
Maybe not. Perhaps I'm just overreacting to two tough defeats. These Hogs have had a certain roller coaster quality all year, coming up with a nice win just when you're ready to write them off.
But suppose that the Hogs' season does go off a cliff again. Suppose they end the year by losing, oh, 8 out of their last 10, or something like that. If that happens, even with his much-ballyhooed incoming recruiting class, could John Pelphrey keep his job?
Increasingly, I think the answer is "no." I used to think that the 2011 recruiting class virtually guaranteed Pelphrey at least one more year on The Hill, but a very informal survey of article and blog comment threads, Twitter, and message boards indicates that anti-Pelphrey sentiment is at an all-time high after the Georgia and Ole Miss losses. Imagine what it would be like after yet another swoon. More importantly, imagine the effect on season-ticket sales.
Maybe I'm wrong - perhaps Jeff Long has already made up his mind to bring Pelphrey back, regardless of how this season plays out. But I have to believe that, over these final eight regular-season games, John Pelphrey's job is on the line like never before.