Brought to you once more this week courtesy of Bob Marley, Tito's Vodka, and the clarity that anger provides. Real anger, I mean. The white hot, self-fueling, primal rage that accompanies a betrayal so flagrant and so obvious that it can be camouflaged only by the victim's foolish hope. It is only then, when disgust at the transgression and embarrassment from being oblivious to it for so long synthesize into one highly refined, pinpoint accurate laser beam of anger, that the clarity comes. That this isn't worth it. It's sad that it has to be this way for so many of us, but so be it.
You said it would be different, Coach, but this is more of the same. Wait, that's not even true. It's the same, but somehow worse. We are getting worse. You, coach, are doing worse.
You said we'd be physical and we get our asses handed to us weekly. Yesterday Devwah Whaley, our starting running back, had negative yards. HE WENT BACKWARDS. Austin Allen gets hit more than anyone else in football. On the other side of the ball, you allowed one of the worst rushing football teams in the country to rack up nearly 160 yards on the ground.
You said that we'd get the best players on the field and that simply cannot be the case. You cannot tell me that we do not have offensive linemen on the sideline that couldn't do a better job than the tackles we have currently starting. If we don't, it's still an indictment on you, but I just don't believe that could be the case. You cannot tell me that TJ Hammonds doesn't deserve more touches because he's good for a first down just about every time he gets one. These aren't things that the fan base noticed yesterday. They are questions that have been raised all season. Switch out the names and positions and they are questions that have been asked for the entirety of your tenure.
You said that you'd stop the second half collapses and they are getting worse. Or maybe more predictable, which makes them seem worse. The fact that your teams are nearing a scientifically accepted sample size from which to research the phenomenon is really all anyone needs to know. Your teams breakdown in the stretch so dependably that we are now past the point of "if" and have moved on to "how". It's a morbid side bet. After a few times, South Park viewers stopped wondering if Kenny would die. They just wondered how it would happen. Yesterday it was allowing three, THREE defensive touchdowns. I never saw that coming, so kudos, I guess. Way to keep it fresh.
Yesterday, many within Razorback Nation stood at their bedroom window and looked down upon their head coach and shook their heads no. Not again. Not anymore. It’s over. Time to go.
Windbreakers and tear-stained sweatshirts hang from tree branches while suitcases filled with millions of dollars litter the ground below. I'd say it's all over but the crying, but the crying, and the hugging, and the warm and fuzzies that come with being #Uncommon are how many of us held on for so long in the first place. Not anymore. We're done with that.
Clarity comes with the anger, and what has become clear is that the good times simply haven't been good enough to support this. Rebuilds are tough, yes, but so is suffering through them. A Henry Heave and an LSU shutout can wipe away some pain from going winless in the SEC in year one, but they don't move the needle in year five.
If you want to boil it down to one simple, unavoidable truth, it has to be this. The SEC, top to bottom, appears to be as bad in 2017 as it has been in a long time. This should be a season where Arkansas' stature in the conference rises. It should provide Arkansas a chance for one of those memorable 6-2 or 7-1 campaigns and the high profile bowl to go with it. Instead, it appears Arkansas is looking at 2-6 best case, and possibly even 0-8, unless there's some sort of miracle down the road.
That is unacceptable.
Barring an unforeseen turnaround, it is time to cut bait. It is time to fire Bret Bielema. The anger should make that clear, Jeff Long.
And if you aren't angry, Mr. Long, it's time to fire you, too.
I'll see y'all next week.