Sunday, September 28, 2008

Terrible weekend for football

I've been following football for a lot of years and I can't think of a weekend that has been as aggravating as this one.

Why? My three favorite teams from the NFL, college and high school all played like garbage and got beaten. That's right, the Benton Panthers, Arkansas Razorbacks and Denver Broncos all lost. To make matters worse, that rotten former head coach for the Razorbacks led Ole Miss to a victory over #4 Florida.

It's enough to make a man swear off football for the rest of the season.

Well, probably not. Actually, definitely not.

Still, the whole thing was a mess so I'll sort through my pain and disappointment, day by day.

Friday, Sept. 26 -- Panthers fail

My beloved Benton Panthers headed to Pine Bluff to take on the Zebras. Yes, the Panthers were coming off a victory against the Conway Wampus Cats the previous week and hopes were high they'd pull off a win in their first game of conference play this season.

So, they spent the week preparing themselves for the trip to Pine Bluff by practicing hard, adjusting to wearing bullet proof vests under their pads and taking daily penicillin shots. All of that preparation was for naught as the Panthers failed, 43-25.

Honestly, Pine Bluff has a very good team this year and Benton was expected to lose. Still, Benton's first three games of the season were against 7A teams and the fact that the Panthers pulled off a victory against one of those teams and played well against another inspired some hope.

Benton, see, is a 6A school and the Panthers were holding their own against teams in the larger 7A classification. Ah, but Pine Bluff proved to be too much for the Panthers, dropping the team's record to a lowly 1-3 for the season. That's no damn good at all.

Why does The Hawg follow a high school team? I live in Benton and graduated from that school, as did my parents and my brother. Friday night football is a big deal here in the South and I'm as guilty as anyone of being a bit obsessive about it. So there.

Saturday, Sept. 27 -- Hogs still awful

No one expected the Arkansas Razorbacks to do much against the Texas Longhorns. That's a good thing because the Hogs failed miserably. Back in the old South West Conference days, the Arkansas-Texas game was the biggest one of the year for us Arkansans, and watching the team head to Austin and take a 52-10 whipping was hard for us long time fans.

That stomping, by the way, was the worst one Arkansas has taken at the hands of Texas since 1916 when the Longhorns slaughtered the Hogs 52-0. This year's contest was supposed to take place a couple of weeks ago but was delayed because a hurricane was ravaging Texas. I'm sure Razorbacks fans agree with me that the game should have stayed delayed. Like, indefinitely.

Arkansas has shown some hope in it's running game over the past few games, but Michael Smith was shut down. Alex Tejada struggled in the kicking game and quarterback Casey Dick still looks like a newcomer trying to come to grips with that new-fangled forward pass.

The Hogs got whipped last week by Alabama and have only beaten two rotten, scrubby teams this year -- Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe. I doubt things will get much better when Florida comes to town next week.

Yes, Florida is mad because they lost to Ole Miss on Saturday and will be out for revenge. Ole Miss, by the way, is led by Houston Nutt, the dirty bastard that used to coach Arkansas and left the Hogs with very little for current Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino to work with.

Nutt did his typical thing -- he lost to Vanderbilt one week and then beat a far superior Florida team the next. Of course, Florida helped things by turning the ball over to Ole Miss every chance they got. It is good to see Nutt engaging in his typical behavior -- raising hopes just to dash them -- at a school other than Arkansas, however.

Arkansas will be fine once Petrino can get some of his players in here and get his system in place. Regardless, Arkansas is 2-2 (0-1 in the SEC) and things may well get worse. After Saturday's game, I have yet another reason to regret my decision to get a law degree at the University of Arkansas rather than heading to Vanderbilt to get a master's in political science (yes, I could have gotten in there) and heading to the University of Texas to get a doctorate. Stupid, stupid, stupid The Hawg.

Buckle up, Hogs fans. This year's shaping up to be a miserable one.

Sunday, Sept. 28 -- first loss for Broncos

So, the Panthers lost on Friday and the Razorbacks failed miserably on Saturday, but certainly the Denver Broncos at 3-0 would whip the lowly, 0-3 Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, right? As it turns out, that was absolutely wrong.

While Kansas City was on a 12-game losing streak, they always play Denver tough at home and Mike Shanahan, Denver's head coach, entered Arrowhead Stadium with a 3-10 record there. Denver and Kansas City might not hate each other as much as, say, Denver and Oakland, but there's still a strong rivalry there and Kansas City played like it.

The Chiefs shut down the Broncos' running game and Denver quarterback Jay Cutler threw two interceptions, to boot. Oh, and the Broncos managed to fumble twice on Sunday, too.

In the end, Denver (AFC West) lost 19-33 and fell to 3-1 on the season. I can't help but think of that game as an anomaly as the Broncos came into Kansas City averaging 38 points per game and were leading the NFL in first downs. They'll be fine but they looked terrible on Sunday. The Broncos play Tampa Bay next week, so here's hoping they'll be back on track by then.

Denver has always had a hard time in Arrowhead and Sunday was no exception.


Oldguy said...

Rough week for sure.
I watched part of the Razorback-Longhorn game but it was just to lopsided to keep my interest.

Da Old Man said...

I feel your pain, but I had a really good football weekend. Rutgers managed to find a team worse than themselves and won. The J*E*T*S smacked around the lowly Cardinals as Farve threw for 6 TDs. And the Cowboys lost, which always cheers me up.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Oldguy -- I tried watching a lot of that, but I wound up napping through most of it. I'd wake up long enough to look at the score, go "Ah, hell" and drift back to sleep as Arkansas managed to make a bad situation worse.

Da Old Man -- Arkansas may have already faced the two teams worse than itself this season. They stink. I hope they manage to slaughter Ole Miss, though.

Ah, well. Good for Favre today, however. And I love seeing the Cowboys fail, too. I've been mad at them since they ran off Tom Landry, honestly.

lot 2 learn said...

It was not all bad. I did enjoy the Wasington / Dallas game

The Natural State Hawg said...

lot 2 learn -- Glad you enjoyed it. I got to watch my teams lose, lose and lose some more this weekend.

The Fitness Diva said...

That is a great pic for this post! I am laughing..... that's great.

I'm a NY Giant's fan, so, I have no worries! ;) Hopefully we'll pull out another one this year! :D

And, GO, Jets! I have spent my life rooting for them. *sigh*

GumbyTheCat said...

Just be thankful you don't live in Ohio. The weekend you described is fairly representative of what a typical Cleveland sports fan goes through every weekend. Ohio teams are maddening - they tease you, then manage to find a way to disappoint. People around here who say "Wait till next year" are beaten with sticks on a regular basis here in northeastern Ohio. said...

Though I love football, I essentially follow one team, the Pirates of East Carolina University.

We stunk it up this weekend, losing rather handily to U of Houston, though it was still only a 7 point game in the 4th quarter.

Thank goodness it is an open date this upcoming weekend!

The Natural State Hawg said...

The Fitness Diva -- Yeah, I found that photo and just had to use it. Sums up my mood perfectly right now.

Good for the Jets, however. That Favre still has something left, huh?

gumbythecat -- We're sick of hearing "we'll get 'em next year!" here in Arkansas, too. Being a Browns fan, you must really hate the Broncos, then -- Denver stopped Cleveland from getting into the Super Bowl a couple of times in the 1980s, as I recall.

Paul -- Yeah, what the hell has happened to East Carolina these past couple of weeks?

I only wish we had an open date coming up for Arkansas. But, no, Florida is coming to Fayetteville.

Oh, joy!

Mystery Man said...

As a natie Texan and a fan of both the Razorbacks and the Longhorns, I was torn while watching the game Saturday. It was good that TExas looked good and won, but hurt that the Hogs looked so bad and lost.

As far as the Broncos, I didn't get to see the game, but I hope this was justa fluke and not the beginning of a losing streak. Maybe is ESPN didn't do a feature on Cutler. I've noticed that everytime they doa feature on someone, bad things happen. Forget the Madden curse, it's the ESPN curse!!!

The Natural State Hawg said...

mystery man:

Texas is looking good this year, aren't they? I'm odd for an Arkansan in that I actually like the Longhorns (except when they're playing the Hogs, of course). Arkansas has some rebuilding to do and it became obvious on Saturday that they're just going to stink this year. Fair enough.

You could be right about the ESPN curse. I saw that report, too -- didn't realize Cutler was dealing with diabetes.

GumbyTheCat said...

Actually, I don't hate the Broncos anymore... but back in the Kosar/Elway days I sure did. Especially Elway ("Horse-Toothed Jackass"), although I do realize he was a great quarterback. I was actually in Denver on a business trip for "The Drive" game, and the CitiCorp employees (where I was installing a computer system) heckled me for the entire two weeks I was there.

Toni said...

This was football at our house Saturday. My Vols playing Hubbies Auburn Tigers. "Honey you know the team that Vanderbilt beat just beat the team that stomped you last week."

Sorry about your Razorbacks - I watched a little of that game...

The Natural State Hawg said...

Gumby -- Oh, man! Elway's one of my favorite players. I suppose you have to be a Denver fan to dig that, however.

And, I'm not surprised you got heckled. Those Denver fans are nuts. I well remember the 1990 season after the Broncos got stomped by San Francisco. Denver was having a terrible year, and you had Broncos fans macing fans on the opposing team, upset husbands holding their families at gunpoint and all sorts of insanity.

I've never been that insane about any team, fortunately.

Toni -- Fortunately, my wife and I are on the same page as far as college sports go. It was an awful game.

Ah, Vanderbilt. I was a damned fool for not getting a master's degree there.