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Let’s be honest; There isn’t a more catastrophically entertaining team in all of college football than the Arkansas Razorbacks right now.
Sure, some teams are worse (yeah, I’m looking at you, Texas). Some teams have been more disappointing (what the heck is up with Auburn?). And yes, there are even a few coaches who have their fan-bases more riled up than Bret Bielema right now (look what you’ve done, Butch Jones).
But no team has more perfectly blended the combination of high preseason expectations, poor play, gut-wrenching losses, and a never-ending media swarm thanks to a loud-mouthed coach who won’t keep quiet, quite like the Arkansas Razorbacks have. You know how we talk about sports being a “24/7 news cycle?” well crap, Arkansas is like its own little 24/7 cycle. At this point, they’re basically college football’s version of the Kardashians. You know, if the Kardashians weren’t actually successful. And if Kim wore a windbreaker every time she was on TV.
Still, despite the disappointment, despite the 1-3 record and no signs of hope going forward, there is still in fact one person who hasn’t yet given up on the Hogs. One person who believes that Arkansas is just a little bit of consistency, and potentially one small move down to the FCS level away from being competitive again.
That man is me!
That’s right, I’m an idealist, the guy who always sees the glass is half full, and I’m here to tell Arkansas fans, don’t give up!
Here are 25 Reasons Why Arkansas fans should still be optimistic about the 2015 season.
1. Because if we’ve learned one thing through this whole mess, it’s that maybe in hindsight, having an affair with one of your coworkers wasn’t so bad after all. Sure, firing Bobby Petrino seemed like the right move, back in the Paleolithic days of 2012. But at the same time, what Arkansas fan wouldn’t give up a kidney and some Walmart stock to have Petrino back calling plays in Fayetteville?
2. Speaking of Petrino, sure it will never happen, but could you imagine if this whole disaster of a season ended in mid-December with Jeff Long uttering the words “Bobby Petrino is the new head coach of the Arkansas football program.” Not only would Petrino’s “call of the hogs” break the internet, but it would definitely go down as the single best sports story of 2015.
3. And you know what would be the second best story of 2015? Bret Bielema’s triumphant return to the Big Ten, as the next head coach at Purdue! Ok, so maybe that wouldn’t be the second best sports story of 2015. Maybe it wouldn’t crack the Top 500. But hey, at the very least, you’d still watch his introductory press conference on the Big Ten Network, right?
4. Ever seen a running back rush for 600 yards? Me neither. But Leonard Fournette just might do that when Arkansas plays LSU later this year. Who said Arkansas won’t be “historic” in 2015?
5. Through Bielema’s first two-plus seasons at Arkansas, the Razorbacks have a grand total of two SEC conference wins. Sure, some might see that as disappointing. But Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason appreciates Bielema giving him a realistic goal to aim for.
6. Because Arkansas’ loss to Toledo singlehandedly did more for the morale of Northeast Ohio than anything since LeBron James’ return to Cleveland. That Bret Bielema is always thinking of others!
7. Speaking of Ohio, hey, at least Bielema doesn’t have to worry about Ohio State’s schedule anymore. That’s just one less distraction on the ‘Hogs road back to respectability!
8. Because my boss Clay Travis’ suggestion of firing the losing coach of this weekend’s Arkansas-Tennessee game on the spot might be the single best idea I’ve ever heard. Not only would we all pay $19.99 on pay per view to watch the losing coach clean out his office… but if Bielema did somehow survive, maybe Arkansas could use that money if they ever needed to buy out his contract. You never know.
9. Speaking of positive, hey Arkansas fans, I’ve got a bit of a random question for you: Do you like Brent Musberger? Because I’m smelling a lot of “Arkansas football on the SEC Network” in your future. Be honest, you guys didn’t like Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson anyway, did you?
10. At 3-0, Toledo is currently tied for fewest losses in the country. When the Rockets finish 15-0 and win the college football playoff, WHO’S GOING TO BE LAUGHING AT ARKANSAS FOR LOSING TO THEM THEN???
11. Because sure, no fan-base has ever been excited about going to the Birmingham Bowl. But if Arkansas somehow actually rallies to go 6-6 and ends up in Birmingham, that will actually be a cause for celebration, won’t it?
12. They say playing close games “builds character.” Well, after a four-point loss to Toledo and overtime defeat by Texas A&M, no one has more character than Arkansas right now. All they need is a couple wins to go with it.
13. Sure, Kliff Kingsbury mocked Bielema last week, but at the same time, that was also the single most relevant moment Texas Tech has had since Michael Crabtree was on campus. And they have Bret Bielema to thank for it.
14. Remember Arkansas fans, no matter how bad things get, at least you’re not being coached by John L. Smith anymore.
15. Or Houston Nutt for that matter.
16. You know how everyone always talks about SEC teams playing “meaningless” September games? Well, if UTEP goes down as Arkansas’ only win of the season, it won’t feel so “meaningless” will it?
17. You know all those annoying “Alabama’s dynasty is dead” articles that every dumb journalist on the ‘net seems to be writing? Well, at least no one will be writing them the week when Arkansas plays the Tide.
18. He’d never admit it, but I’m pretty sure that Alex Collins didn’t want to win the Heisman this year anyway. Traveling to New York around the holidays can be such a hassle!
19. If this all ends with a trip to the Bahamas Bowl at the end of the year, no one will be complaining.
20. At least there aren’t any more MAC teams on the schedule.
21. Sure Saturday’s game against A&M didn’t “technically” result in a win. But it will definitely make one of those year-end, “Top 25 games of the 2015 season” countdowns. Trust me, when you have nothing else to watch on some random Tuesday night next August, you’re going to be thanking Bret Bielema.
22. Somebody’s got to win when Arkansas plays Auburn. Right?
23. Because a simple search of the word “Bielema” on Twitter produces results like this. I’m not sure what it means, but it did make me giggle.
24. Because outside of “rooting for Wisconsin” “rooting against Arkansas” has become the single most entertaining thing to do in Wisconsin on Saturday afternoons.
25. Sure, no three-loss team has ever gone on to win the College Football Playoff. But there’s a first time for everything, dammit!