Brought to you once more this week courtesy of Bob Marley, Tito’s Vodka, and the freshman level liberal arts seminar class where I learned about Schrödinger’s Cat, the physics paradox involving a cat sealed in a box with a vial of poison. Even though its death is assured, until the box is opened to observe the cat, it must be considered both dead and alive. Barring breaking Sunday morning news, Arkansas fans appear to be stuck in their own Schrödinger’s paradox for at least another week, except instead of a cat we have a coach and instead of poison in the box there’s over five million dollars in buyout money. And instead of a box it’s a very empty stadium that the newly former athletic director convinced his board of trustees to take on $120 million in debt to make even bigger, with more seats for people not to sit in on cold and rainy November days.
Whew. Okay, the metaphor meandered on me a bit, but the point is things are bad enough to be talking about poisoned dead cats, and nobody brings up that shit when you’re 8-3. We just yell our asses off and sing and sway to “Hard to be Humble” and fork over our money and our Saturday without a second thought. When you’re 4-7 and just lost yet another game after giving up a two touchdown lead, on the other hand, fans tend to get a little more existential with our thinking and transactional with our support.
If there is one word to describe Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, it would have to be “predictable”. Right? I mean, we all saw this coming. I hope you weren’t let down. I hope it didn’t cause you any more pain. I hope you experienced it in the way that I did, with marvel, impressed with the dedication of a man committed to perfecting his chosen craft of losing in the most absurd fashion imaginable. Arkansas obtained its lead through dumb luck, and relinquished it through just plain dumb, and I really hope you didn’t suffer through it the way that I used to. I hope you strapped on a bib and savored the delicious irony of a Big Ten coach who worships at the altar of field position losing a game because he chose to go for it on fourth down from his own territory. I hope you chuckled heartily at the absurdity of finally giving the third string quarterback his shot, at long last, by inserting him into the “Steamboat” package that was designed for one of his teammates. I hope you relished the Rococo frivolity of Arkansas’ use of fumbles as its most effective way to move the football down the field. I hope that game didn’t bring you grief. I hope you took notes and gave thanks, because that debacle yesterday was a tuition-free master class in stupidity.
There were bright spots, of course. McTelvin Agim played a whale of a game, looking dominant against a Mississippi State offensive line that was fantastic against Alabama just last week. Kamryn Curl continues to impress, and is the best true freshman cornerback at Arkansas in some time. Briston Guidry and Grant Morgan made plays also. These are young guys, with tons of upside, and fans should be excited about watching them in the future, regardless of who is coach. There is young talent on offense, too, if only things weren’t so broken. We know about Hammonds and Whaley, but Jordan Jones and Deon Stewart and DeVion Warren all have tons of playmaking potential to be harnessed and utilized effectively. The weapons are there, on both sides of the ball. They just need bones around them, and a builder to put everything together.
So now Arkansas is 4-7 (1-6) with only a Thanksgiving Friday game against Missouri left before we can all block this disaster of a season from memory. It will be ugly. It will be sparsely attended. It will be yet another whimper during a Bret Bielema era that has been woefully short on bangs. But at least it will be the last, so give thanks for that on Thursday. And if it’s not, go find yourself a box and a vial of poison and ask the cat inside to scooch on over a bit, because whatever happens in there has got to be better than this.
I’ll see y’all next week.