The Sad Saga of Arkansas Football

By Terry Waldrop
Bret Bielema, Arkansas Razorbacks Football
Beth Hall- USA Today Sports

LSU, Alabama and Arkansas one sat perched atop the BCS standings as the top three ranked programs in the land. That has to seem as long ago as when MTV still played music for the once-proud Razorbacks fan base at this point.

Arkansas goes into the Ole Miss game vying with the perpetually putrid Kentucky Wildcats for the dubious title of worst team in the SEC.  This is not something Hog fans are accustomed to digesting, no matter who is steering the ship.  Starting with Harley-gate and highly successful coach Bobby Petrino’s dismissal after a much-publicized affair, the Hogs have endured a series of body blows that have left them punch drunk and hardly recognizable to anyone who keeps up with the college football landscape.

How did they fall so far so fast? Can first-year Hog Caller coach Brett Bielema conjure up the karma to turn the fortunes of the Arkansas program around anytime in the foreseeable future?

He did a tremendous job at Wisconsin in the Big 10, but Bielema has learned the hard way that the SEC is a bit better than the Big 10. Success needs to come sooner rather than later, or Bacon Nation could get increasingly belligerent. Mired in a losing streak that began with losing a huge lead to Rutgers, the karma-less Hogs will find no relief this week against a surging Ole Miss squad that is looking forward to pork chops in the Grove.

Bielema is certainly making things interesting along the way, drawing the ire of legendary War Eagles coach Pat Dye last week for his comments about Auburn. This week, Bielema has complained about the Razorbacks’ hotel stay in Memphis for the Ole Miss game. This should be a little over an hour of a bus ride to Oxford for the game on Saturday. While inconvenient, it certainly seems like an odd point to focus on given the raging dumpster fire the entire program is engulfed in.

Get the man a glass of water, some Tylenol and maybe a fire extinguisher. For the record, I know the football team at Grambling State would be very happy to drive an hour to a game rather than the 16-hour, one-way cross-country tours they have embarked on several times this year.

The Razorbacks are the living version of the old commercial “I have fallen and I can’t get up”. This happened over three short years and should be a lesson for all that success can be fleeting and to appreciate what you have. I hope the Hogs can turn things around next year because the SEC is always a better league when Arkansas is relevant.

Until then, I guess they can continue to toil in misery during those one-hour bus rides to games. My guess is that the ride leaving the games must seem a lot longer than it does going to the game.

Terry Waldrop was a longtime college basketball coach and AD. He is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @terrywaldrop, “Like” him on Facebook and follow him on Google.

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