While Mizzou fans are still reeling from that predictably tough SEC debut, the folks down in Arkansas are fully outraged.
The Razorbacks suffered one of the worst losses in modern college football history Saturday, falling to Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 in overtime in Little Rock.
After philandering Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle and his career, John L. Smith left Weber State after just five months at the helm to take a 10-month, $850,000 deal as his interim replacement. Tipsheet assumes the search for a real head coach is well underway.
(Oh, and Smith filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last Thursday. Court documents show Smith has assets of between $1 million and $10 million and debts of between $10 million and $50 million due to some disastrous real estate investments. These are not happy days for Smith.)
Some fun facts about the ULM fiasco:
• Arkansas blew a 28-7 second-half lead and lost quarterback Tyler Wilson to a head injury.
• Louisiana-Monroe has not posted a winning season since 1993, when it was in the old NCAA Division I-AA, and has never played in a bowl game.
• Between this loss and a needlessly harrowing victory over Jacksonville State, the Razorbacks defense has allowed 872 yards and 58 points.
• Arkansas fell from No. 8 in the Associated Press poll to unranked, the second-worst fall in history.
• Next up for the Razorbacks? No. 1 Alabama, which is brimming with confidence.
What went wrong for Arkansas? Let College Football News columnist Pete Fiutak put it in a nutshell for you:
You have a NFL-caliber starting running back and another who’ll make money at the next level. You’re playing at home game against a vastly inferior opponent with an offensive line that’s owning the D line. You’re up 28-7 late in the third quarter and you lost your NFL starting quarterback to an apparent concussion and you just want to get the game over with so you can focus on the huge showdown against the No. 1 team in America. Do you hand the ball off 30 times and grind out the final 25 minutes? Nooooooooooo.
The Arkansas defense went bye-bye against ULM and couldn’t get off the field once Kolton Browning got rolling, but with the big lead and the talent and toughness to wind down the clock to get out, the offense didn’t get the job done because the coaching staff forgot it had Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson to hand the ball off to.
Arkansas held on to the ball for fewer than 21 minutes with Brandon Allen stepping in for the injured Tyler Wilson and completing 6-of-20 passes. Davis didn’t exactly get rolling, but he ran for 62 yards on just 16 carries, while Johnson tore off 7.1 yards per carry on his seven attempts. They were all but ignored once the ship started sinking.
Over the last five drives in regulation, Arkansas had four three-and-outs and one four-and-out. And now, unless the Hogs come up with a huge SEC campaign, head coach John L. Smith will be one-and-out.
Wish Arkansas good luck this week against the Crimson Tide.
MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE
Questions to ponder while wondering if Pete Kozma will have to carry the Cardinals offense through the entire West Coast swing:
Now that Stephen Strasburg is done pitching, what does his daily regimen look like?
Why won't Chad Johnson just sign his divorce papers and move along?
QUIPS ‘R US
Here is what some of America’s leading spots pundits have been writing:
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: “An arbitration panel overturned NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s player suspensions in the Saints’ Bountygate matter, freeing Jonathan Vilma and three others to play. An angry Goodell immediately suspended the arbitration panel.”
Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “I love how agent Scott Boras is emerging from the Strasburg saga as one part Robin Hood, one part Branch Rickey and two parts Marcus Welby. Boras apparently is the social conscience of a new generation — I half-expect him to be volunteering at soup kitchens in Beverly Hills by year’s end.”
Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle: “If I was U.S. Ryder Cup captain (I'm not), my first captain's pick would be Charles Barkley. Then I'd pick John Daly. Hey, I want people to watch this thing. Sue me.”
Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com: “The best thing you can say about USC's 42-29 win against Syracuse is that it's over. Prison wardens everywhere can use the game film to quell inmate uprisings: Pipe down or we'll make you watch three of the four quarters. USC began Saturday ranked No. 2 in the country, but it often played like it was in a No. 12 mood. The Trojans were missing their starting place-kicker and, for huge chunks of the game, their focus. They were here in body, but their minds seemed like they were in Manhattan Beach.”
Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports: “One opening-game defeat certainly doesn't disqualify the Saints from fulfilling it, but Sunday's effort was not an encouraging sign. If anything, as the New Orleans defenders attempt to adjust to new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's dramatically different scheme, it looked like they might have missed Gregg Williams of leaked-audio infamy. The kid playing quarterback on the other side of the line, of course, had something to do with the Saints' struggles. As with the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton a year ago, Griffin instantly looked like he belonged, and like the Next Level wasn't too big for him, by any means.”
Will Leitch, Sports on Earth: “Something extremely strange happened last week, and I’m a little surprised more people didn’t pick up on it: ESPN admitted it might have overhyped something. I know, right? The network of ‘The Decision’ and backbackbackbackbackpleasekillmebackbackbackabulletwillmakethispainend and Ed Werder basically living in the back of Brett Favre’s truck for four years has taken a good look at itself and decided that, well, it’s possible they might have overdone it with the Tim Tebow business. You might remember this summer, when the network, boasting of ‘unprecedented training camp access,’ broadcast live from New York Jets camp in Cortland, N.Y., for two weeks, all because of the Tim Tebow trade. At one point, as Deadspin amusingly pointed out, ESPN had pretty much its entire staff wish Tebow a happy birthday on camera, for reasons I wouldn’t dare try to fathom. For a while, I was beginning to wonder if Sal Paolantonio, who spent nearly three weeks at Jets camp and looked absolutely miserable about it, was reporting live as an ESPN producer menacingly waved a gun at him just off camera.”
"Everybody knows that college football is a 60-minute game, but that is especially true in the SEC. The good teams just know how to finish.”
Former coach Houston Nutt, to CBSSports.com.
THAT’S JUST MEAN
“Do you know who they hired to take Regis Philbin's place? Michael Strahan, former New York Giants all-star. Regis has hip replacements older than this guy.”
CBS funnyman David Letterman.