The BCS era of college football officially ends Monday night, and make no mistake, it means a true change in the way fans view certain bowls and the bowl selection process, which will effect the way we view successful seasons. This is a strange world in which the Music City Bowl is on an equal plane as the Outback Bowl, and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl will occasionally be bigger than the Sugar Bowl. And the Cotton Bowl will rarely be an option for Arkansas (somewhere Wally Hall sobs). It's a wild world.
We thought it would be fun to mark the passing of the era by remembering Arkansas' best of the 16 seasons. We here at Arkansas Fight have come up with an All BSC-Era Razorbacks team, as well as our opinion on the best coach, team, games of the 16 seasons encompassing the BCS. Throughout this week, we'll make several posts celebrating what has been an often thrilling, sometimes depressing, but always interesting time in Razorback history. We think it will be fun.
Naturally, we wanted to start with the quarterback. And even though the Razorbacks have had the pleasure of a few great quarterbacks during these years, it wasn't hard for us to declare the spot belonging to One-Five, Ryan Mallett.
When Mallett transferred to Arkansas from Michigan shortly after Bobby Petrino was hired, the hype for the Petrino years went into high gear. Even though the Razorbacks were just 5-7 in 2008, knowning Mallett was on the sideline waiting to become eligible in 2009 was enough to keep the fan base not just optimistic, but downright giddy about the future.
And he didn't disappoint, even if the wins didn't come immediately. In his first SEC game, against Georgia in 2009, he threw for 408 yards and five touchdowns - both Arkansas records at the time.
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Mallett would go on to throw five touchdowns in a game three other times, and break nearly every Arkansas passing record (though some would later be broken by Tyler Wilson). Mallett still holds the records for passing yards in a season (3,869 in 2010), touchdown passes in a season (32 in 2010), and touchdown passes in a career (62).
But stats only tell part of the story. He left Razorback fans with plenty of memorable moments, like the end of the 2010 Georgia game
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Or the pass just before halftime of the 2010 LSU game
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Or several others. He had without a doubt the prettiest deep ball in Razorback history. At times in Arkansas history, whenever many quarterbacks have dropped back, fans held their breath and hoped for the best, but when Mallett was set to uncork one, we all knew the potential for something amazing was about to happen. Or, as Spencer Hall once described him, "a missile-hurling deathapult".
And you can't talk about Ryan Mallett's legacy without including some of his cultural contributions. We all miss the Summer of Mallett twitter feed, his knee-scooter, "Who got a scantron for Ryan Mallett?"*, and the whole "Get Ready" theme of the 2010 season, and of course the PUNISH t-shirt pic with Erin Andrews (this after she'd made a somewhat mocking comment about him at the LSU game in 2009).
Like most everybody else, Mallett did have a few bad moments, but overall he took Razorback fans on an amazing ride in 2009 and 2010, and he'll always be remembered as the quarterback who took Arkansas to the Sugar Bowl. And he is our pick for the quarterback on our All BSC-Era Razorbacks team.
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