I am writing this post in the aftermath of a terrible football weekend, the kind where you wish you didn't have a cable package and lived on netflix. I saw the Hogs roll swine tits up and die, Johnny Manziel come back from the dead for another road win, Texas get a season saving win over OU (always root against Texas), and then the Saints give up a game winning touchdown in the last five seconds. I realize the last one might mean nothing to most of you, but Who Dat Nation and I are hurting over what was just five seconds away from a continued undefeated season.
It all has me questioning, as I know I've done many times before, why I even bother with pulling for teams. Your emotions ride on the actions of strangers you'll likely never meet and maybe not even like if you did meet them. But you are at the mercy of their actions. At a game, you can scream and scream and might have some impact on events. At home sitting in front of the television, you can also scream all you want, but for even less of an impact. You are more likely to just annoy your neighbors than anything because what is going to happen in that rectangle of a screen is going to happen no matter what you think or do on the couch.
Besides giving your flat screen dirty looks all day, another thing you can do is write out your frustrations. And as a form of self-therapy (I hope), that is what I am going to do with this post. If you have some misery in your fan heart right now, and as a Hog fan how can you not, then here is some company for you.
* I am frustrated that our offensive output has been steadily going down with each game since the A&M game. Yes, we've hit the hard rock of some good defenses, but ten points, seven points? A phrase got stuck in my head on Saturday as we went three and out over and over again. In the Cohen Brothers' version of True Grit, the Arkansan Mattie Ross accuses the Texas Ranger of "Ineffectually following Chaney." In a different context, that applies to the Hogs as well.
* I am frustrated that Mattie Ross has more grit to her than our Razorbacks who are back to collapsing into Keystone Cop ball after the first bad thing that happens to them. I think most fans just wanted to see improvement from 2012, but at this rate, we might just have a worse record than what we thought was as bad as it gets.
* I am frustrated that when the Hogs did make something good happen, they followed it with something worse, the Hatcher and Collins turnovers. The law of the Hog universe that I described in last week's post was at work again this Saturday. On the macro level, Arkansas's first SEC game and first in our series with South Carolina was a dominating win by us in Columbia. It was only fitting, I guess, that South Carolina ended the back to back with a dominating win in Fayetteville.
* I am frustrated that our team, with its new leadership, is still a team that plays against itself as much as the opposing team. See stupid personal foul penalty on the kickoff before Allen's pick.
* I am frustrated with Allen who is falling way short in leadership and ability from his two predecessors. Mallett and Wilson had more talent to work with, but Allen, playing injured or not, should be better than this by now.
* I am frustrated that other SEC teams, Florida for example, have a backup capable of taking over the job.
* I am still frustrated with Jessica Dorrell and Bobby Petrino and their selfish actions. I am not saying it would all be peaches and cream if the affair and accident had never happened. But I don't think we would have sunk this low, this fast.
* I am frustrated with seeing Auburn, A&M, and Ole Miss bounce back with their new coaching hires, while we are having to rebuild apparently from the cleats up, as in this is how you tie them.
* I am frustrated for the players on this team who do show good effort and do make plays, for their efforts are quickly undone by their teammates making boneheaded plays or simply not making a play at all.
* As an expat, I am frustrated that people must look at my Hog gear these days, which I am still wearing, and their first thought must be glad I am not him, and /or pity.
* I am frustrated by the idea that basketball and baseball aren't likely to give us much to cheer about this year either. Would love to be wrong about that prediction.
* I am frustrated that Penn State has a team that can't go to a bowl game, but showed up with more fight and football competence on Saturday in their overtime win against Michigan than the Hogs have shown in the last two games combined.
* Though the jury is still out on this, I am frustrated with the thought that Bret Bielema, who has never rebuilt a program, who was handed the keys to a well running machine in Madison, might have bit off more than he can chew with this Arkansas job. Louisville had to go through a coach after Petrino left to get to where they are now with Charlie Strong. I hope that isn't the case for us.
* I am not really disappointed that we lost to South Carolina, which is a good team again this year. Amazing what stability can do for a program, right? What I am frustrated about is the way we lost. I didn't see 52-7 coming at all. As I've written before, if they want to make an uniform change that reflects reality, they should take that mean, fighting Hog off our helmets and put Porky the Pig on there instead. Tell the players they'll get the Razorback back once they start living up to our mascot and the many tough as a Hog's tusk, never quit, players of our past.
* I am just, finally, frustrated that Arkansas fans have to put up with what feels like more than our fair share of humiliation and frustration. As I've pointed out, it seems to be cosmic in scope. But I think the simple truth is this. Throughout our history, we've been just good enough to have high expectations, but rarely good enough to realize them. That could be said about a lot of fan bases and teams, I expect, so we aren't alone, but after a 52-7 defeat at home and Alabama next on the schedule, it sure feels like we are the only frustrated Charlie Brown in a neighborhood of Lucys.
POLL QUESTION: I point it forward to next week. Yes, I'll tune in, for at least the start of it. But you'll get no argument from me that you are a bad fan if you choose not to watch. It is painful to watch something you love suffer. In my book, you are no less of a fan if you stay away from ESPN next Saturday night.