While a bowl game now seems out of reach for the Razorbacks, Hog fans can still have fun while watching these last few games
You could feel the air hissing out of the stadium into the cool sky.
You could hear the curse words - how the **** did we lose to Ole Miss?
You could see the Hogs' hopes of a bowl game slipping away when the ball slid through the south end zone uprights on a perfect fall Saturday in Little Rock.
Unfortunately, a blocked punt, 12 penalties and a defense that, once again, couldn't hold up at the end of the game will do that to you. So now what? How do we entertain ourselves for the rest of the season?
I guess we're just here to have fun now. Well, that, and it's time to play spoiler for the rest of the season. This is how Chicago Cubs fans must feel every year.
The four teams left on Arkansas' schedule are all one- or two-loss teams, and if they somehow find it in their hearts to lose to the Razorbacks, their seasons will lose value very quickly. And their fans will be extremely upset, which is an added bonus. So why not try and ruin everything for them?
Unfortunately, only one of these teams ahead carries high schadenfreude value. South Carolina has already experienced the loss of Marcus Lattimore to a ghastly knee injury, so if Arkansas hands them another loss it'll just be... kind of sad. Mississippi State obviously wasn't going to stay undefeated when they play Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU three weeks in a row, so a Hogs win over Mullen and company wouldn't be all that exciting. Don't get me wrong, it'd still be great to beat the Gamecocks or the Bulldogs, but it wouldn't be a win that you could enjoy deep in your bones for years to come.
But LSU. Oh, LSU. If they manage to beat Alabama this weekend (I doubt they will, but Lloyd Christmas' famous words do come to mind) they'll be in prime position to head to the SEC championship, and the Hogs could spoil it all. We all know that Arkansas has upset a highly-ranked LSU team before. And man, if they could do it again, that would be sweet.
But before we can get to any of that, there is the task at hand: Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane is 7-1 and 5-0 in Conference USA, and they appear to be the frontrunner to win the conference. (But only if they emerge victorious from their huge showdown with UCF on November 17th.)
It goes without saying that Tulsa hasn't played a very tough schedule to this point - the only major-conference team they played, Iowa State, beat them 38-23 in the season opener - but they still have a potent offense that averages 39.5 points per game and 248 rushing yards a game, the ninth-best tally in the country. So Arkansas will actually need to show up and play pretty well if it wants to win on homecoming. And while that might be a little stressful to think about right now, here are a few tips to help Hog fans enjoy Saturday morning's early wake-up call.
1. Remember Tulsa's contribution to Hog history. Felix Jones and Darren McFadden formed one of the most incredible running back duos in college football history from 2005-2007 - they combined with over 7,500 yards and 61 touchdowns - and because Felix was always the Robin to McFadden's Batman, now is as good a time as any to remember just how good the Tulsa native was.
2. Check out how the Hogs' helmets are made. This awesome video from Riddell sports gives you a quick look inside the world of the Hogs from a different perspective than usual - that of an equipment manager.
These guys (and their staffs) are the lifeblood of any football program - they put stickers on helmets, shine scuffed-up cleats with a toothbrush and do more laundry in a week than the average male does in his four (or five or six) years of college, and it's pretty cool to see how they do it all.
But that title... "Arkansas Coaches Talk About Importance of Protection." Yeah.
(If you want a more comprehensive look into the world of an equipment manager, check out this video about the Clemson equipment staff.)
3. Turn up some Tulsa music. Did you know Tulsa is the city that gave us Garth Brooks, The Gap Band AND Hanson? What an embarrassment of musical riches. I know Arkansas is the home of Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Evanescence, but that's an impressive lineup that's come out of Tulsa. When it comes to music, Tulsa is basically the Memphis of Oklahoma.
4. Two words: Breakfast libations. This game kicks off at 11:21 am. Good lord, that's early. While the pre-noon kick off mercifully gives you an interesting game to tune into in the morning (instead of the usual Iowa - Northwestern morning matchup), that's awfully early to be perched in front of a television for football. Thankfully, the best kinds of drinks are morning drinks. As my friend once said about the first Bloody Mary he ever drank: "It's like an alcoholic soup!"
Enjoy the game, everyone.