This was one of the more difficult years to call myself a Razorback fan, especially when the last three months are so fresh on my mind. Here is a list of the top 5 rasons why it has been so hard the last 365 days.
1) April Fool's Day- This is one of those times as a Razorback fan I can remember exactly where I was when I found out what was the opening to Pandora's box. I was at church on Sunday night and a friend, a Florida State fan, texted me, "Did you hear what your coach just did? Ha." I quickly checked Twitter on my phone and with each update the news worsened. I am sure you have similar recollections.
It was not just April Fool's Day, ironically enough, but it was the following nine days that would prove all of us fools for believing Bobby Petrino had changed and he would never treat our dear Arkansas the same way he had his previous employers.
There is enough Petrino-related news to fill up a top 10 of bad for Hog fans. You have read the stories and heard the story during every quarter of a football game broadcast that I need not go on.
2) ULM and the ensuing Bama/Rutgers/Texas A&M skid- The athletic program paid what amounted to $575,000 to play the Warhawks, which should have been the second win of the season. Little did we know as the game was headed to overtime this was only the beginning of a wretched season. The walk-off touchdown scramble by ULM quarterback Kolton Browning set into motion a fall from No. 10 in the AP poll to unranked, the second worst fall of its sort since Michigan in 2007, and the first of many dumbfounded post-game phone calls to my old man.
Following the debacle on Markham, the Razorbacks put together an unbelievably bad run of games: scoreless in front of a national audience to Alabama; another non-conference loss to a Big East school going to the Big 10 in which an Arkansas receiver gained more than 300 yards; and a rainy game where the defense gave Heisman-winner Johnny Football half of his SEC-record 4,600 yards. This stretch sealed the fate of the 2012 season and crushed any hope and optimism Arkansas fans had in reserve.
3) The John L. Smith Experiment- At first, this hire seemed to make at least a little sense. Now we know better. From his $40 million debt to his viral press conference, Smith made no Arkansas fans Smile! Smile! This press conference was the icing on a cake made of glass. Here it is one more time:
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At least Jeff Long got his "bad hire" out of the way on the interim coach by way of a guy who tucks-in his pullovers. I do not think this bothered anyone else as much as me.
Based on his bankruptcy, we all should have known by his land deals in Kentucky that he was a poor decision-maker, but we got to experience it first-hand. How does one even amass that much debt on land deals? By trying to purchase the entire commonwealth?
4) Men's basketball missing the post-season- After a hot start to the season, the Hogs dropped nine of their last 12 games, including a first-round exit from the SEC tournament and missed a postseason trip.
The Razorbacks, in Mike Anderson's first season, returned to that "40 Minutes of Hell"-style we have long loved and they set a record with 17 home-wins, but when faced with a road trip the results were no where near as favorable. They looked good early on and many of us did not want to admit the weak schedule was the reason for the start. An upset over No. 15 Mississippi State in the first SEC game gave us a little hope.
One bright spot? Michael Sanchez was named to the SEC Community Team for cutting his hair and donating it to "Locks of Love, and most importantly, he graduated.
5) Football off-season arrests- The football program had enough off-season problems for at least three programs from Petrino to the arrests. It's the sort of stuff that does not make mamas feel safe sending their child to Fayetteville.
Jason Peacock was first with a felony theft of property charge. Michael Whitehurst followed him with a possession of a controlled substance/paraphernalia charge. Then it was linebacker Tyler Gilbert on a aggravated burglary charge. To add to the list a trio of tight end Andrew Peterson and wide receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey, who were arrested on burglary charges.
Many outsiders began to wonder how much further the program would spin out of control and we as fans were ready to cut our losses and ban all media inside the state.
The good news is 2012 is over and surely 2013 cannot be any worse. In other good news I will be posting the High Five tomorrow, which should give us a little hope for 2013.
What else was bad for us this year? Comment below.