Welcome Again to 1992 Hog Fans
Hard to believe, but it has been twenty years since an Arkansan was traveling the United States looking to win the presidency to the tune of Fleetwood Mac's lyrics of "Don't Stop, Thinking About Tomorrow, Don't Stop, It will soon be here, It'll be, better than before, Yesterday's gone, Yesterday's gone." It was also the same year that the Hogs stunk up the football landscape with an interim coach, another goofball in Joe Kines, who went 3-6-1.
Mark Twain once said that history doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme. This year we have the same uniforms, but different, a visit from Jack Crowe, but on the other sideline, a firing, but before the season, and what is the same as 1992, loss now piling upon loss, but to some different teams than before. The fans, we are feeling bad like in 1992, but at a worse level of bad due to the high expectations we had for this season. In the aftermath of the Rutgers loss, it feels like it is going to take a major correction of the steering wheel to keep this season from going completely into the ditch just like the famous motorcycle ride that preceded it.
It was on my ride home from Tulsa last night that I got to thinking about those Fleetwood Mac lyrics. Confession, I did not watch the game. I had a bad feeling about it and sat this one out, which was made easier to do by the fact that I don't get ESPNU. I could have found a way to see the game somehow, I am sure. But after being at the Little Rock game, watching us destroy ourselves in front of Bama to the tune of 52-0 and my own bad feeling about our defense and its incompetence in leadership and execution, I decided to stay away. And from what I've read this morning, it appears like our defense (do they deserve that title at this point?) made another quarterback look like a Heisman contender in the passing game.
Back to the lyrics, the Hogs for their own sake should start blasting that old tune of unbridled optimism during practices this week. They would be wise to concentrate on tomorrow and Texas A&M. Rutgers is so yesterday is gone. Think about them again in 2013 when the Hogs head to New Jersey for the second part of the series.
In another sense, yesterday is truly gone. For the last three years of more or less winning football is gone. In retrospect, I feel rather foolish to have thought that we could keep winning without one key ingredient, Bobby Petrino. Tyler's return put us back in a game, a nice change from last week. But that was not enough to cover the breakdowns on the defensive side of the ball. Rutgers' QB, if you haven't heard, threw for 397 yards and five, count them, five touchdowns.
As a fanbase, we all are thinking about tomorrow like never before in the sense that we are thinking about new leadership and how hard will it be to get this program back to where it was, it seems like, just yesterday. Obviously, Jeff Long needs to pull off one hell of a hire. But can he do it? Bobby Petrino rather fell into his lap after he made runs at Grobe and Tommy Bowden. He also thought John L. Smith was the best solution, but so once did I. I don't envy him his decision, for it will certainly decide his fate as well. And if gotten wrong, the Hogs could be seeing not just a repeat of 1992 in 2012, but a repeat of the 1990s in the teens of the 21st century. A sobering thought on yet another tough Sunday of Woo Pig Sorrow.
Grabbing for some optimism: 1992 was also the year of the self-proclaimed "Come Back Kid," which he announced after the New Hampshire primary, a primary he lost by the way. But he did come back and win the nomination and then the presidency. Can the Hogs come back and win some games and make it to a bowl game? One can't help but think that even Bill Clinton himself might have doubts about that this morning.