Here is a confession for you. I did something Saturday that I have never done before. I watched a Razorback game on television only until halftime and then went to another game and didn't allow myself to know the Razorback score until I got home Saturday night, for I feared the knowledge of it would not be good for the day's overall mood, for it was also my birthday. Actually, I tried to blockout thoughts of the Hogs all afternoon and just live in the present, though I did out of old habit once say "Go Hogs," during a Cowboy drive. The Cowboys would go on to win 55-38 over West Virginia on what what at times a beautiful sun filled afternoon for college football.
I live here in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as an Arkansas Expat. I drive around town with a running Razorback sticker on my car. I have the alumni sticker on there as well. I might wear orange on Fridays when you can come to work in bluejeans if you do (I work at Oklahoma State), but on Saturdays it is red and white for me and Woo Pig Sooie. But not this weekend. At least not for the second half.
My mother was in town for my birthday and we decided an afternoon with the OSU Cowboys in person would be better than an afternoon of frustration with the Razorbacks on CBS. She and I were both at the crash site known at the ULM game back in September. We normally see two games a year together in Little Rock. But this year, we gave the Ole Miss tickets to my brother and his wife. We feared what we would see, and we were right to fear it.
We saw some of it during the first half of the South Carolina game as well. Players making stupid mistakes, such as not lining up correctly. Hogs turning the ball over and not producing turnovers themselves. Drives that stall in the redzone. Tyler Wilson getting bruised from head to toe. Another game without Chris Gragg, Knile Davis, and Brandon Mitchell, players that were suppose to contribute a great deal to a great season. Our secondary allowing pitch and catch for tons of yards. Not being able to stop a mobile quarterback.
Some might say that it is disloyalty on a fan's part to leave the Hogs to the likes of Connor Shaw and Tim Brando and go to another game. But consider this analogy. Would your best friend really enjoy having you sit there and watch him being beat up in a fight if there was nothing you could do to impact the outcome? Probably not. It is hard to look at the Hogs this year in such a diminished form. I don't think any of us are being disloyal if we've looked away at some point during this long march, this long season. It doesn't mean that we don't support them. It means that we love them so much that it hurts too much to watch them play so poorly. At least that is what I can see it meaning.
I've sat through losses and watched heartbreaking finishes and tuned in the next week and went to the next game when I had a chance. And I salute all the fans that continue to do so this season. But I guess maybe we all have our tipping point when we just need to look away, sit out a game, what have you. The frustration gauge can only take so much. The sadness meter, only so much despair.
Yeah, it was day 71 of the season yesterday. And the late afternoon of day 91 can't get here soon enough. We are in bad need of turning this page in the Hog book and moving on. As I wrote previously about one year coaches at Arkansas, none of them had a history of producing a winning season. And history likely will stay consistent this year with the John L. Smith experiment. Sure, we could catch some type of luck in Starkville, but I think we'll find a team there who has lost their last three and will be ready to take out their frustrations on the Hogs. LSU, I am still hoping for altitude sickness on the part of the Tigers! Actually, I am afraid we might end the season by giving another quarterback a career passing day.
Here is a final thought for you that I've been turning around under my Razorback cap these last few days, and that is an idea you might have come across this very Sunday morning in church. That is the concept of the Fortunate Fall or Happy Fall, Felix Culpa in Latin. In church doctrine, I think it can be summed up as meaning that it was in the end good that Adam and Eve fell from the Garden of Eden, so that a redeemer could come later on. And here is the Hog twist on it. Maybe it will turn out to be for the best that Bobby sinned and ate of the fruit of Jessica, so that (insert the name of your favorite coaching candidate here) could come and lead the Hogs to the true promised land. Isn't that the storybook ending we are all wanting to look forward to when we have looked away from this season?