This weekend was a perfect one for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Why? Because the team didn't play. Yes, it's a bye week and the struggling Hogs (4-6 overall, 1-5 in the SEC West) got a much needed week off.
Now, I know it sounds cynical to think it's good when your favorite team doesn't have to play. Phooey on that. The Hawg is a pragmatist and there are plenty of practical reasons to see a week off for the Razorbacks as a good thing.
Yes, it's time for the Razorbacks to reflect on the season and figure out what to do next. Let's take a look at what a rotten season it's been. The team started out by barely beating a couple of scrubs -- Western Illinois and Louisiana Monroe. The third game of the season was supposed to be against the Texas Longhorns, but that was postponed due to hurricanes making a mess of the Lone Star State.
Arkansas got slaughtered at home by Alabama the week after that, got absolutely butchered by Texas the next game and then Florida came to town and murdered the Hogs. Thing looked up when the Razorbacks went to Auburn and beat a team that was ranked 20th in the nation at the time.
That victory was followed by a loss against Kentucky and then Ole Miss. The loss to Ole Miss was particularly painful as the Razorbacks had that game won and then blew it. Also, the Razorbacks lost to its former head coach, Houston Nutt -- a man that didn't exactly leave Arkansas under friendly circumstances (a lot of us can't stand him and we'll loathe him for many years to come).
Arkansas rebounded when Tulsa, a team ranked 19th at the time, came to town. That was a victory for the Razorbacks and it came against an offense coached by Gus Malzahn, the former offensive coordinator for Arkansas. Malzahn, by the way, is still thought of highly by a lot of people in this state.
That brings us to last week when Arkansas lost to South Carolina.
So, what's the season been like? The offensive line has been terrible, the defensive secondary is a wreck and the special teams have struggled. The only really bright spot has been running back Michael Smith and he got hurt in the South Carolina game.
Now, here's the deal with the Razorbacks -- if the team wins the next two games, it will be bowl eligible. The next two games are against Mississippi State and LSU. The one against Mississippi State is winnable, whereas the one against LSU will be very difficult.
However, if Arkansas can pull off two more victories and go to a minor bowl, the season will be considered a success. In spite of everything, a bowl appearance is considered to be a major deal in this state.
And, head coach Bobby Petrino could use a bit of success right now. He inherited a team from Nutt that is shy on talent, he caught hell from the national media when he left the Atlanta Falcons to come here and some sports writers out there still hate him.
It's also a fact that Arkansas fans are notoriously fickle. A bowl appearance translates into success and that will make the fact that the Hogs are currently dead last in the SEC West OK.
So, good luck to the Razorbacks in the next two games. Hopefully, this bye week will allow the young team to rest and keep their eye on an bowl appearance.