You poor, pitiful, magnificent, brilliant, bumbling bastard.
I don't know how you do it.
How do you get your team so close week after week? How do you bring them back after each and every devastating loss? Everyone has a breaking point. As a fan, I'm there. The team has surely been on the precipice for weeks. HOW ARE YOU KEEPING THEM ON THAT LEDGE? IS IT MAGNETS? GORILLA GLUE? SOMETHING INVOLVING CARABINERS? HOW???
How do you build a team around a philosophy of clean, disciplined play, only to see your squad ritualistically disembowel itself with a little yellow flag, time and time again? There is no honor in football seppuku, Bert. Tell your samauri to stop the false starts, stop the personal fouls, and to snap the frigging football before the play clock runs out.
How do you lumber your big ass down to the five yard-line so you can call timeout before the most important play of the game, apparently decide "nah", and then let us all watch your team run a draw into the teeth of the defense? A draw! You saw the stats, right? With how good State is in the red zone? And you were aware of the down, distance, score, situation, all that, right? How did you let that play go off? How? That fourth down snuffed out a part of my soul, Bert. A small part, mind you, but still. You let some of my soul die tonight.
How can you be so daring and creative at times offensively, and watch your team falter so badly with execution? I want so badly for Alex Collins or Damon Mitchell in the Wildcat to be something I get excited over, and it actually worked reasonably well tonight, but it just looks soooo stilted and jerky. Like, a level of awkward on par with a teenager going in for his first kiss.
More than anything else, though, how do convince me to double down emotionally every single week? I should know better. I should detach, become cold and distant, and wait until things have turned around before buying in again. But no. Week after week, you convince me to believe in you. I see that our defense tackles better than just about any Razorback defense I've watched in the past decade. And I see Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins running over and around folks. I see Hunter Henry and AJ Derby saving our asses time after time. And I come back. I believe we'll win. I invest. Every week. How do you do that?
Now you get a week off, Bert, to put your fragile team back together once again and prepare for the stretch that we've all had circled since this SEC season started to take shape. Two home games against LSU and Ole Miss, and a trip to Mizzou. Barring an LSU upset of Alabama, all three opponents should be ranked lower than any of the previous SEC opponents this season. LSU and Mizzou have been the games we've had pegged since sometime in late September, right? And now Ole Miss has lost two in a row in devastating fashion and appear almost as snakebitten as the Hogs. GREAT time for a week off, Bert. Rebuild your team's confidence. Reload your offensive gameplan. And take your last deep breath. Because if you don't get one of these last three... well, just make damn sure you get one of these last three.
I'll see you in two weeks.
Stay Loyal and True,
Trent Wooldridge will be that guy with enough bourbon. He loves the S-E-C chant and honks because he hates Texas. He puts honey on his pizza, demands aisle seats, and sees quitting golf as more of a hobby than actually playing golf. Follow @twooldridge and track his quest to transform his four-year-old into a southpaw ace in the bigs.