NCAAF: What a difference four weeks makes by Luke Robinson
September 19, 2012Sportz Blitz
Four weeks ago the anticipation of the 2012 college football season was coming to a boiling point in all areas of the country. Just a month later, some of the nation’s fan bases can’t wait for their teams to be done playing.
Take Arkansas … please! Not long ago the Hawgs were a dark horse candidate to win the national title and in everyone’s top ten. But after last Saturday 52-0 beat down by Alabama, Arkansas is just hoping to have enough wins to make a lesser tier bowl. It got so bad against the Tide that Wal Mart ran a special on paper bags for Razorback fans to put over their heads.
To be fair, no one suspected that Arky would lose their all SEC signal caller during the Louisiana-Monroe (when they were seemingly comfortably ahead). Tyler Wilson’s injuries from that game forced him to miss the Alabama contest which led to the game’s being no contest at all.
To counter that argument, it should be stated that the quarterback of a top-tier SEC team has no business being sacked so often and so violently by a Sun Belt opponent. Arkansas coaches (if you want to call them that) should have made Wilson’s protection the top priority.
Here’s the lesson I have learned from watching Arkansas’ first three games: College football doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The distractions of a tumultuous summer WILL catch up to the team eventually.
Allow me to further explain via an incredibly long, unnecessary run on sentence: When Bobby Petrino and his blonde mistress wrecked their scooter, subsequently lied about it and then decided to come clean with all of the sorted details, we as college football fans should have known better than to rank Arkansas any higher than, say, 30th in the country because even if Frank Broyles had returned to the sidelines for the Hawgs there was no way that the team would not be affected this year.
Why do we keep falling for the ‘talent trumps all’ adage? We saw this play out at Alabama in 2000 after then-coach Mike DuBose’s trials and tribulations when the Tide started out the year No. 3 in the country and finished 3-8. Alabama had been the SEC champ in 1999 and was the overwhelming favorite to repeat.
It happened to ‘Bama again in 2003 after then coach Dennis Franchione bolted for Texas A&M and Mike Shula bumbled his way to a 4-9 campaign. Despite being on probation the previous year, Alabama had ‘technically’ won the SEC West and many had high hopes.
We are also seeing a Bananarama-esque cruel summer take its toll on Auburn this season. A Plen-T-Pak of suspensions, arrests and other assorted distractions have undoubtedly weighed heavy on the Tigers as they have played like a jumbled mess through the first three games.
Back to Fayetteville, it is hard for me to imagine that this derailed train can get back on track in time to salvage the season. Tyler Wilson should return soon and that certainly won’t hurt, but I am left to wonder this: After such high expectations in the off season, what is their actually left to salvage anyway?