Mama said there’d be days like this. The football team pissed away an early lead to lose a game to a 3-7 Mississippi State. The basketball team fell like a tree in the forest to Missouri State. Meanwhile, the former head Hog and current Colonel Reb led a squad of inherited talent past an overrated LSU team on national television. Dark days, indeed.
Having been forced to piece together a ragged game through the infuriating filter of chipper Chuck Barrett, I moped helplessly on the couch, watching Ole Miss/LSU on mute while we struggled mightily against the sorriest team in our conference. Scratch that, the second sorriest. (Even Auburn posted a win over the Bulldogs.)
Dick the Younger had a solid debut at starter, and we put more points on the board against the Bulldogs than against any other SEC opponent, but nothing’s enough to overcome the horrible performance of our defense. Passing and rushing evenly for 445 yards of total offense, MSU looked like a complete team against our weak scheme.
Yes, senior linemen Antwain Robinson and Ernest Mitchell sat this one out, supposedly over some low-grade mutiny. But if defensive coordinator Willy Robinson hadn’t lost his seniors already, he’s definitely going to have a hard time convincing them to show up the day after Thanksgiving against the Tigers. Poor tackling wasn’t the only problem last Saturday. Our boys got whipped by an offense that couldn’t buy a conversion against other SEC teams.
Houston Nutt’s likely going to win SEC Coach of the Year — just like he did his first season at Arkansas — for toppling two perceived giants, one a little more substantial than the other. Whatever. We know Nutt’s game. We know his limitations. He squanders talent like no other, and the Rebel faithful will be thrilled with every winning season, regardless of the extent of a given team’s under-performance. Good for you, Ole Miss. Get your hopes up as high as they’ll go, but keep your eyes peeled for the inevitable meltdown. Just spare us the quizzical looks in our direction when the man stumbles onto a little success here and there.
When Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama fans scratch their heads and wonder why a program like Arkansas would get rid of a winning coach, it’s the essentialism of their confusion that chaps my hide. For them, Arkansas just doesn’t have what it takes. We don’t know our place. We’re talking out of turn. As a matter of course, they begin almost every season with the national championship in their sights. So should we, regardless of what they make of our aspirations.