I remember lamenting in the summer how long it would be until football season started. I wasn’t literally counting down the days, but I did count the weeks.
Today the end of the football season can’t seem to get here quick enough for me and some other Hog fans.
As many have pointed out, Saturday’s 39-38 victory over Coastal Carolina sure felt like a loss in many ways.
It seems indicative of how far the Razorbacks’ program has slipped. I’d like to argue that point, but honestly I can’t.
Now, I feel like the Razorbacks can play better than they did on Saturday. I’m fairly positive of that, but potential is just unfulfilled promise, and as this season drags toward the end “unfulfilled promise” seems to be a fairly apt description of the Razorback program at this point.
Now, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long explained what a great job head coach Bret Bielema has done in cleaning up the program academically and socially back in September when he said Arkansas’ program isn’t a win-at-all-cost operation. That’s to Bielema and the support staff’s credit. At least in those two areas, Arkansas’ program has made strides over the last five years.
However, on the field, it’s a different story. In fact, I’m not sure Bielema’s 4-5 squad this year is that much if any better than his 3-8 first squad in 2013, even though the 2017 team has already won more games.
While I won’t be as callous to dismiss what Bielema accomplishede during his second, third, and fourth seasons, it sure seems like the program’s foundation was built on sand. There seems to be no firm footing or traction for this football team. It’s seems to be getting progressively worse.
For three quarters, last Saturday’s effort was truly awful. It wasn’t bad enough that the Razorbacks couldn’t eek out a win, but the fact the Razorbacks got their stuff together in the fourth quarter and played fairly well makes the first three quarters all the more troubling.
This Razorback squad isn’t good enough to take any opponent for granted, and that has to be what happened last Saturday, right?
The Hogs truly aren’t as bad as they played, are they?
I hope not or these next three weeks are going to be torturous for the fans, players, and coaches.
The Razorbacks play their final road game at No. 19 LSU at 11 a.m. Saturday and then return home to Fayetteville to host No. 18 Mississippi State on Nov. 18 and then Missouri on Black Friday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
After Saturday’s game, the Razorbacks would be considered underdogs in all three. LSU (6-2, 3-2) is an 18-point favorite in Saturday’s game. If the Hogs don’t play better than they did last Saturday, it will likely be worse. And at the moment that’s what all Razorbacks’ fans fear.
Some Arkansas fans are numb at the moment, but none are too numb not to feel the pain when the Razorbacks get trampled under foot like what happened earlier this season against Alabama and Auburn.
There is good news in that senior quarterback Austin Allen should be available to play Saturday based on Bielema’s comments in his news conference Monday. Bielema was coy about whether Allen or sophomore Cole Kelley will start, but Allen’s experience and skill should benefit Arkansas’ efforts.
Will it be enough to make a difference in the game?
That all depends on how the rest of the team plays, and how rusty the Fayetteville native is after missing four games.
Odd things have happened in the Arkansas-LSU series ever since the Razorbacks joined the SEC. The best team hasn’t always come out on top. One hopes that’ll be the case again in this year’s Battle for the Boot, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Baseball Schedule Announced
Arkansas released its 2018 baseball schedule on Monday, giving beleaguered Razorbacks fans something to be excited about.
Razorbacks baseball coach Dave Van Horn said it is the best and most challenging schedule the Hogs have had since he took over the program in 2003.
2018 Arkansas Baseball Schedule
Feb. 16 Bucknell University 3 p.m.
Feb. 17 Bucknell University 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 18 Bucknell University Noon
Feb. 21 Arizona at Tony Gwynn Classic 9 p.m.
Feb. 23 Tony Gwynn Classic
Feb. 24 Tony Gwynn Classic
Feb. 25 Tony Gwynn Classic
Feb. 28 Dayton 3 p.m.
March 1 Dayton 3 p.m.
March 2 Southern California 3 p.m.
March 3 Southern California 2 p.m.
March 4 Southern California 12:30 p.m.
March 9 Kent State 3 p.m.
March 10 Kent State 2 p.m.
March 11 Kent State 1 p.m.
March 13 Texas 6:30 p.m.
March 14 Texas 4 p.m.
March 16 Kentucky* 6:30 p.m.
March 17 Kentucky* 2 p.m.
March 18 Kentucky* 1 p.m.
March 20 at UNC-Charlotte 6:05 p.m.
March 21 at UNC-Charlotte 3 p.m.
March 23 at Florida* 5:30 p.m.
March 24 at Florida* 5:30 p.m.
March 25 at Florida* Noon
March 27 at Memphis 6:30 p.m.
March 29 at Ole Miss* TBA
March 30 at Ole Miss* TBA
March 31 at Ole Miss* TBA
April 3 Louisiana Monroe 6:30 p.m.
April 4 Louisiana Monroe 3 p.m.
April 6 Auburn* 6:30 p.m.
April 7 Auburn* 6 p.m.
April 8 Auburn* 1 p.m.
April 10 Grambling N. Little Rock, Ark. 6:30 p.m.
April 12 South Carolina* TBA
April 13 South Carolina* 6:30 p.m.
April 14 South Carolina* 2 p.m.
April 17 Missouri State 6:30 p.m.
April 20 at Mississippi State* 6:30 p.m.
April 21 at Mississippi State* 6:30 p.m.
April 22 at Mississippi State* 1 p.m.
April 24 Texas Tech 6:30 p.m.
April 25 Texas Tech 6:30 p.m.
April 27 Alabama* 6:30 p.m.
April 28 Alabama* 6 p.m.
April 29 Alabama* 1 p.m.
May 4 at LSU* 7 p.m.
May 5 at LSU* 6:30 p.m.
May 6 at LSU* 1 p.m.
May 11 Texas A&M* 6:30 p.m.
May 12 Texas A&M* 6 p.m.
May 13 Texas A&M* 1 p.m.
May 17 at Georgia* 6 p.m.
May 18 at Georgia* 6 p.m.
May 19 at Georgia* 1 p.m.
May 22-27 SEC Tournament Hoover, Ala. TBA