Our Hogs, for all their warts…with the record setting rush yards against us…and all the sacks we’ve given up…and the below standard running attack…and the terribly inexperienced o-line…and a QB that has had the crap knocked out of him (like big bro in his sophomore year)…for all of that…
This Hog team could still win out, go 8-4, and with a win in the bowl, continue the upward trend of improvement under Bielema. Winning this week won’t be easy. Not at all. But Miss. State ain’t LSU, or Auburn, or Bama. If we can run, we win, IMO.
9-4 is still a real possibility…because I believe this team will REALLY benefit from bowl practices. More than usual.
In my view, this season was always going to be about re-trenching and - essentially - treading water. It is still to be determined if we match or exceed last year’s number of wins, but in the big picture, that’s not a big deal.
The path from mediocrity to Championships are rarely straight lines. Kind of like the stock market, you can look at where it was and where it is during a significant increase, and there are times when it dropped for a short period. But, that did not alter the overall upward trajectory.
The next couple of years will tell the tale on the CBB era, IMO. Next season, the schedule does not favor us - as if it ever favors anyone in the SEC West. But in odd years, as well all know, we must travel to Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss. Anyone that can sweep those 3 on the road has a legitimate chance at the SEC Championship, but I’m not convinced we’ll be quite ready to do so. I worry about the O line and linebackers, in particular. I see 2017 as another 7-8 win season.
In 2018, the schedule turns our way. And by then, we’ll be in year 6 of the CBB era. It will be time to produce. However, we will be breaking a brand new QB in (assuming AA starts again in 2017), which makes it hard to know how good our offense will be, at least in the early going.
But, at some point, you just have to win. Every team, every season, has questions marks and holes due to graduation. Even Alabama. Sooner or later, your program has to mature and step forward.
I definitely think he’s the right guy. I’ve felt that way since he first got here. I am surprised the offensive line isn’t a little better. I think the offensive line fall off has effected the physical nature of the entire team. That happens. You have physical play up front, it helps the defensive front. I do know the defense must get more physical in the interior of the line.
My preseason pick was 6-6 or 7-5, with even 5-7 being possible. This team has not under performed from reasonable expectations. Now, should expectations have been that low in year 4 of a coaching staff? That is a different question. I am somewhat disappointed in where we are in year 4. Calling for a coaching change? Heck no. Concerned? Yes.
I think Wiz’s stock market analogy is a good one. I have been told more than once not to look at my investments every day; it will drive you crazy and tempt you to do something stupid like dumping a good stock too soon. You may have a bad day, or a bad month, but as long as the overall trend is up, just hang in there.
I think that applies to this team. We’ve had two really bad games, but overall we can still get to 9 wins which would be an improvement. And if we don’t, it’s still not like this season has been a complete disaster. We’re going to a bowl, which is more than Oregon can say already, and Notre Dame will also miss out if they lose to VTech or USC (or certainly both; they might get the 5-7 waiver due to lack of bowl teams, but there will be no 4-8 waiver).
Not to pick too fine a point with you, Gentry. But something I wrestle with is this - is 8-4 really a “mediocre” result for a team in the SEC West?
On the one hand, it’s humbling when you lose to 4 teams that you play every year - your current ‘rivals’. Back in the SWC conference days (at least the ones that I remember in the 1960’s and forward), that definitely would have been a mediocre season. On the other hand, if you lose to 4 teams in the Top 15 (or so) in the country . . . well, being #25 or so isn’t really “mediocre”. It’s not a championship, but it’s not terrible either.
In some of those years, I believe most of us know that in many other conferences we would have been competitive for the Championship. I believe this is what motivates those that still bring up the Big 12 from time to time. But, if we weren’t REALLY better, what difference does it make? Being 11-1 in a weak conference, or 8-4 in the alpha conference? And, that assumes we could still recruit and attract coaches at the same level we can in the SEC if we were not in that conference.
I’m not sure what the answer is. I know we all want to win a Championship (SEC), at least every now and then. It would be great to be back to the days of winning about a third of the time, but that’s not going to happen very often, even for Alabama, in the SEC. Once Saban leaves, we will see that again.
Interesting. My issues is 8-4 being worse than mediocre (this year). Now, it’s not every year. For example 8-4 last year would have been awesome. This year, however 8-4 also means 1-4 against the SECW. To me that’s unacceptable, especially since we were also ranked in all of those games. If we were 9-2 right now in a weak conference, but had wins over two top 5 teams (shoutout to Houston) would we be upset?
I think you have to grade 8-4 on a curve, much like Baked mentioned. All 8-4 isnt equal. However, when you are striving to be among the best, from the outside looking in, 8-4 is mediocre, regardless of how you cut it.
Then you get into the whole debate of realistic. I don’t think it is realistic to expect Arkansas to be on the same level of Alabama and LSU. On the flip side, we are not Kentucky, Miss State, Wake Forest etc either. 8-4, 9-3 and such are good years. Hit an occasional 10-2, 11-1 and you have a very good program in a stellar conference.
8-4 would be nice. What about 6-6? That is a possibility…we aren’t exactly road warriors. I predicted 7-5 and that looks about right today.
We beat Mississippi State 12 out of 13 years, the last time in Bobby’s last year here. We have lost 4 in a row to Mississippi State though they have been close. Can you believe 4 in a row to the Bulldogs? Brutal.
These teams don’t match up well with each other. We can’t stop the run and they can’t stop the pass.
I see it as a close one, but wouldn’t bet a nickel on either team.
8-4, 9-4 or 7-5, 7-6 could all mark a very good year or a very mediocre year. I don’t think we can adequately judge that until after the bowl game. I understand why some think this is a mediocre year. To me it’s a roller-coaster year. Roller-coasters can scare the life out of you but after the ride is over, you are like, “Wow, what a ride!” If by some football miracle, we beat the last two foes handily, then it might not be so bad. Going 2-4 against SECW and 2-0 against SECE would not be idea but oh, what a ride. Let’s wait until it’s all over, and we’ll all be better judges (though I assume all of us will not agree, one way or the other).
8-4 record means we went 2-4 in the SECW and 2-0 against the SECE (MS St and OM in the West and FL and MO in the East). I believe 8-4 would be a good year considering we lost our QB, 3 OL starters, and 1600 yards rushing. The one thing though that does give me pause is we took a definite step back with 2 really bad beat-downs that we hadn’t seen since CBB’s 1st year.
Normally would agree but hard to feel so good about it with all the blowout losses. If we were competitive in the losses yes but losing 4 games by an average of 30 points doesn’t seem like much progress.
I’m not happy with 8-4, 4-4 but I’m not upset about it, either. I can look and see that using the word “mediocre” because we lost to 3 of the most talented teams in the country (Bama, LSU and AU) and a 4th to a talented but overrated team on a neutral field (TAMU) is a major overstatement.
Mediocre means not very good. We weren’t very good in those losses, but as late as last week, national analysts were saying that if you stuck us in the Big 12 or Big 10 we would be a Top 15 ranked 9 or 10 win team.
So, maybe we are “mediocre” as compared to some of the bluest of blue blood programs who have built-in recruiting advantages the likes of which we can only dream about having.
And, I get it in a way. We have to be better to win the SEC. But, we are to the point that we are routinely beating or coming very close to beating pretty much everyone in the SEC not named Bama.
I don’t consider that being mediocre. It’s a lot better than many teams that we don’t even have any business being on the field with according to the same people that call us mediocre.
Since we do have Alabam, LSU and Ole Miss on the road next season, I think it would be unrealistic to expect to challenge for the division. We will be breaking in a new QB in 2018. We know how brutal this conference is and shouldn’t expect to challenge for the division with a new QB. I think it will take some time to gain the reps, experience and maturity needed to translate to on fied success. This is a brutal conference and we are in the strongest division of the strongest conference in the country. To challenge for the western division is putting a lot on the shoulders of a new QB. 2019 should be the year we get a good read on where Bielema is taking the program. Now that I think about it, we will have Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU on the road in 2019. 2020 is the year that should tell us if Bielema is going to be the guy that will have us challenging for championships. I think Bielema has a plan and is making steady progress. Now if we don’t have a 10 win season in 2020, I might rethink my position on Bielema.