Saturday, October 11, 2008

Of Hogs and Tigers

After a season of misery, the Arkansas Razorbacks finally did something right -- the Hogs went to Auburn and beat a ranked team.

Sure, the Auburn Tigers might have been beaten up and in the middle of turmoil (head coach Tommy Tubberville fired his offensive coordinator just a few days before the game), but I won't dwell on any of that too much. Auburn was the 20th ranked college football team in the country and my struggling Razorbacks beat them at home, 25-22.

Yes, Arkansas went on the road, beat a ranked team and got a much needed victory. That win over Auburn put the hogs at 1-2 in the SEC and 3-3 overall. Honestly, two of those victories don't really count as far as I'm concerned because they came against rotten, out-of-conference teams.

So, this was a quality win for Arkansas for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it's a confidence builder. Arkansas has been rotten this year and has been embarrassed in games against Alabama, Texas and Florida. Fortunately, the team has been improving all year long and there were actually some streaks of real talent on display last week against Florida.

Against Auburn, those streaks of talent were converted in to honest-to-goodness drives. Running back Michael Smith rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Casey "Shaky" Dick passed for 222 yards and even managed to catch a touchdown pass on one of those sneaky plays that head coach Bobby Petrino likes to throw in from time to time.

So Petrino got his first SEC wins as the head coach for the Razorbacks and it came at the expense of Auburn, the very team of which Petrino used to be the offensive coordinator. That was a sweet victory, indeed.

Were there some problems for Arkansas? Yes, there were plenty. The defense still looks less than confident and blown coverages are common -- Auburn's receivers were left wide open more than a few times. Also, there's a running bet in this state. Which will happen first -- will the Chicago Cubs win a World Series or will Arkansas actually manage to kick a field goal?

Still, this Hogs team is very young and the players are learning. That's a good sign.

By the way, we Arkansas fans are insane. My dad was telling me he heard two old fellows at a bar and grill the other day and they were ranting and raving about the Hogs.

"You just wait," they said. "Next year, this team will go undefeated! They'll win the SEC and a national championship!"

Dad suspects those two were stinking drunk. I think he may be right.

Honestly, I figure we've got at least one more season of bad football to sit through after this one. Former head coach Houston "Fat Bastard" Nutt did a lot of damage in his 10 filthy years here and it'll take some time for Petrino to clean up that mess.

By the way, Houston Nutt sucks. I can't emphasize that point enough.

Here in the Natural State, the Arkansas-Auburn game was a big deal. The biggest college game on Saturday, of course, was the Red River Shootout -- #1 Oklahoma vs. #5 Texas. Texas won that one, 45-35, and I was glad to see it. Yes, I'm weird for an Arkansan -- I've got too much kin in Texas to hate that state too much.

Our waiter at the Rib Crib today is a student at Benton High School. He and I were talking about the Texas-Oklahoma game because it was on in the restaurant during lunch. He's from Dallas and was telling me that he is a Texas fan and that's gotten him in trouble from time to time.

How much trouble? He was wearing a Texas Longhorns t-shirt at school and was given so much hell by the other students that he went to the school office and got a new shirt to wear. We Arkies are conditioned to hate Texas, see?

So he was glad to visit with someone who was rooting for Texas today. He wrote "Go, Longhorns!" on our bill. I tipped him well.

6 comments:

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

Hawg,

I was busy yesterday, so I did not see much of any college football games.

So I was quite surprised when I saw the Arkansas-Auburn score. The players are getting more and more familiar with the system and Petrino's way of doing things.

When I saw that final score, I thought to myself, "It's all coaching."

I just wish I could say the same about my beloved East Carolina Pirates.

Da Old Man said...

Congrats to the Razorbacks. Maybe they will build on this and have a respectable year.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Paul -- Yeah, what's happened to East Carolina? They started off the season on fire and then -- this.

I couldn't watch the Arkansas game because it wasn't on television. I caught it on the radio, however. Fantastic!

da old man -- I hope so, but I doubt it. That team has a long way to go.

Toni said...

Ah yes, and we paid to have that game played at our house! Luckily for me, except for my love for my husband and wanting him to be happy, it didn't really matter...

So congrats on your win, after losing to Vandy last week, I think hubby was a little numb to it...

As for my Vols - there was a shocker (lol) - my brother is now hoping that the other teams beat us soooo badly that there will not be a question of whether Full Phil leaves or not...

The Natural State Hawg said...

Toni:

Fat Phil hasn't made many friends over there this past couple of seasons, has he? Still, there are much worse coaches (Houston Nutt) in the SEC (Houston Nutt).

Vandy will be fine this year. They're in the toughest conference in the nation and they're still looking pretty good.

As for Arkansas, well. They still stink. But at least the team is improving. We'll see how things go against Kentucky...

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