You don't take a serious walk outside these days unless the sun has just about met the horizon. That is what I did yesterday evening. When I came in from my walk it was after 9 PM Central and I just happened to catch ESPN's College Football Live when they were doing a countdown of the top twenty programs. I caught the tail end of their discussion about Michigan, which they put at number ten. They included Herbie, Desmond, Todd Blackledge, Jessie Palmer, Robert Smith, and David Pollack. Well guess which team they had at number nine? Yep, the Hogs.
Herbie threw up his hands and said where do you begin? Haha. That was in reference to an off season in Fayetteville like no other. They all agreed that not having Petrino on the sidelines calling plays is going to hurt us. I don't know if this was taped before the news about Smith's bankruptcy came out, but it wasn't mentioned.
They did mention having Paul Petrino as a positive along with the defensive coaches from Ohio State. Other positives included having Davis back and Tyler Wilson along with Wingo and Johnson in the backfield. They mentioned that the offensive line just didn't compare when it went up against LSU and Alabama and their defenses. True enough. And our defense, they talked about how we had lost the heart of it to graduation. True enough, as well. But our schedule, sets up nicely for us, what with having Alabama and LSU in Fayetteville, but road trips to College Station, Starkville, and Columbia will be dangerous. They will be.
The overall tone was this team might be a contender, but we would feel more positive about that notion if Bobby Petrino had not taken his ill fated motorcycle ride. Conventional wisdom, I would say. The SEC West, after-all, is the toughest division in college football. But it was not an SEC West team that they put at number one. With LSU and Alabama right behind them, they had the USC Trojans as number one and their bet to win the crystal football. With 2005 and 2006 still in my craw, how sweet it would be to see the Hogs take that trophy home instead of the Trojans. If you want an equal of the Hogs beating Duke for the national title in basketball, the Hogs beating a storied program like USC would be about its equal. Hogs, go make it happen!
A final note, the program itself was a nice reminder that cooler days and college football are coming. And if the Hogs can make it happen and do pull off a magical season, I suspect we'll see members of this roundtable at some point in Fayetteville. It has been six years since Gameday was last there. Time for a return trip, I say.