I quit on the Hogs this week. With about 2 minutes left in the 1st half, I turned off the game, told my son I was taking him to bed (he's under three), and didn't turn the game back on the rest of the night. It was
marvelous horrible to check the score on my phone and see a field goal and all of the points that Auburn racked up. A few people have said it, that it looked like the team quit, and they did.
A few years ago, I saw one of my favorite bands, Guster. They blew me away at Beale Street Music Festival in 2007 when I saw them live because they were playing before another band I liked, but years later, I saw them again in New Orleans and they were just flat tired. They played the gig, got off the stage and got on with their lives. I later found out it was the last show of their tour. I don't know how long they had been on the road or how tired they were or what was going on in their lives, but I forgave them for that show.
I'm not someone who spends a lot of time editorializing on this blog, but I want to let you and the Hogs know, I forgive them. I was at the Alabama game and the Ole Miss Game. I saw maximum effort (maybe not defensively against Alabama) and a lot of heart... I'm sure I will see it again this season, but every once in awhile, Rocky runs into a Clubber Lang who is bigger, stronger, tougher, and hungrier.
So, you've read this far, and you're wondering, "what game is he actually going to talk about?"
There have been lots of games where Arkansas has inspired me, and they usually come about in a dog fight. Traditionally, the Hogs give up a lead late and win the game, or stick around to come from behind at the end, or force overtime to add to our crazy legacy. It's few and far between that a good Arkansas team beats a good SEC opponent by a ton of points.
Going back to 2000 (because the records are more easily available) Arkansas has some blowout wins over SEC East and West Cellar Dwellers like the mid 2000s Mississippi Schools, 2011 Tennessee, and 2012 Kentucky, but the best blowout the Hogs can claim is the 30-0 victory over Ole Miss in 2014.
The 2014 Ole Miss game can be frustrating for Hog fans right now, because by the end of that two game stretch of not allowing LSU and Ole Miss to score in 2014, we were ready to make Rob Smith Defensive Coordinator for life, and now many Hog fans are wishing he never coached at Arkansas.
But if you want to talk about making a team quit and look bad, Arkansas hadn't won an SEC game since 2012, but they beat Ole Miss by 30 in a shutout. They forced 3 fumbles, 3 interceptions, and held an offense that scored 30 ppg in their other 12 games to zero points.
The 2014 Rebels have some excuses, because their SEC Chamiponship hopes were mostly killed in their first two SEC losses which game back to back, but Ole Miss had a cupcake game against Presbyterian and a bye week to get their minds right before they played Arkansas, and they didn't.
Sometimes it's your day and sometimes it isn't. Arkansas has yet to put together a roster with the talent to demolish an SEC opponent the way Auburn did on Saturday, but think about all the times Arkansas has taken these other teams to the breaking point. Do we want to be Alabama, YES! but we love being Arkansas at the same time. If 2014 proved anything, all the 4-star and 5-star talent in the world can't save you from these Hogs when its our day.
In our heads, we know that our recruiting rankings have to come up before we are going to year in and year out beat these guys, but in our hearts we want our team to shock the world 4-7 times in a season and beat the blue-bloods.
So, think back to happier times when people were posting the recruiting ranking differences, the point spreads, and the coaches salaries after beating someone we had no business beating, and remember how good that feels. The expectations are growing for this team, but not at a rate greater than our love of seeing our underdog team play like a bunch of scrappy Razorback Hogs and putting the rest of the SEC on notice.
I'm not quitting on these Hogs. We get a nice bye week to cheer on team chaos, and then we're back at it with Florida next week. Remember, we've never beaten those guys since we joined the SEC. It's going to be fun if we do it as underdogs, with all of the stats, Vegas, and pundits saying we can't.