… and Long deserves a lot of the credit for it when it happens. I predict sad times ahead for all of the Long-Haters, Petrino-Lovers, and Malzahnistas.
Football recruiting is reaching a new level. This next class can be a monumental class. There are quality defensive backs, defensive linemen, linebackers, QB’s, etc. committed and very good quality leaning our way. After some stumbles along the way last year, the football team could have one of the top offenses in the SEC and there are glimmers of competitiveness coming from the defense. There is just a sense that across the board, the depth and quality is settling in place to be a competitive SEC program in the future.
Basketball has talent returning from a good not great team of last year and the recruiting pipeline is filling with high rated Anderson type players.
Van Horn has the facilities and is now getting the recruits to be a force nationally in baseball.
Track has taken the McDonnell legacy and put together a solid track program in men’s and women’s track with world class athletes.
The most exciting thing for me is the never before heard rave reviews from recruits AND parents after their official visits on The Hill. You keep hearing comments like “best facilities seen so far” and “love the family atmosphere” and “I can trust these men with my son.”
One more little thing and it is a huge sign when this is considered little, we just had one of the best tight end recruits in the nation decommit from us and commit to Bama and hardly anyone wailed, gnashed their teeth, or seemed bothered at all. There was a sense that “we are tight end “U” for the nation and if he doesn’t want to come, we will get someone else just as good and it will be his loss, not ours.” Week after that, we beat Bama for a nose tackle commit. Orgeron is scrambling to “build a wall” around Louisiana and we are the primary reason. Gentlemen and Ladies, we ARE competing. Now it is time to do it on the field this fall. JMVVVVVVVVHO
There’s no question that CBB has put himself in a position with much more talent than CBP or even Nutt ever had.
He’s just yet to produce the wins, that they showed without the talent.
I hope it’s coming. I think it’s very possible as well.
I’m less optimistic about the defense as you are, I made the mistake of buying in to too much I was reading last summer and was rudely awakened in the LA tech game that our defense wasnt going to be worth a flip.
I expect it to be better, but it’s hard to gauge how much better.
I don’t want to argue against any of your points. The issue is that in the SEC, you have many others among the 13 in competition in Arkansas. They are not “have nots” and try in most of the same sports we try hard at in Arkansas. It isn’t easy. As my father said 26 years ago when the decision to move to the SEC was announced, it will be like playing Texas every week in every sport. Nothing is going to come easy. Wins should be cherished.
Our defense has been bad for 2 years. Spaight, Flowers, and Philon made Robb Smith’s defense look pretty good but the scheme and his weaknesses were exposed after those 3 moved on. The talent has not been there in the secondary and Linebacker. The new scheme will help and hurt because it should be better against all the gimicky offenses running HUNH yet we won’t have all of the personnel for the scheme. We should be better than last year simply because last year was record breaking BAD.
CBB has signed multiple classes now that have been solid but now we need some more Sosa Agim, Frank Ragnow, Whaley, etc. All of CBB’s signing classes real strength was the bottom 1/3 of each class. HDN and BP signed some great players at the top of the class but took way too many chances in the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of each class. Roster stability and depth has been better with CBB. The oline difference of last year and this year is a prime example of the difference caused by competitive talent at 2nd string. We have the talent this year for a good starting 5 but one nuance that is very important is 2nd string talent to push the starters. The competition nuance should make this Oline much better now and for the future.
The SEC of today is even tougher than it was 26 years ago and Saban is a big part of that since 2009ish. Saban has created a program soooo strong that it is damaging the SEC in some ways.
The truth is that we could rise to a quality that is unprecedented at Arkansas and still struggle to get to the SEC Championship game. Bama has set the bar far higher than it was in our heyday in the 60’s and the rest of the SEC has risen to chase them. In the 60’s, we had one, maybe two, really tough games each year. We suffered a pesky upset occasionally but our season was made or not made by how we did against Texas and sometimes an SMU or Houston, or A&M and they were not all up in the same year, ever. Now, when we play Bama, LSU, and Auburn we have played three “Texas Caliber Games from the 60’s” and then A&M or Ole Miss or MissState or TCU can be very tough as well. We are lucky this year to be playing South Carolina and not Florida or Georgia. If you compete well against that kind of schedule, you have a shot at the National Championship. As Dorothy told Toto, “I don’t think we are in Kansas (aka the SWC) anymore!”
I think the Hogs are getting into position to have a “magical season” in several sports. As a sports fan, every year I want to my team to win it all. It ain’t happened much in my lifetime, but believing it can is part of the fun. Sometimes a run happens when you least expect it. Hog fans need a championship. It’s time.
Very well said. We are playing Texas or SMU 4-5 times a year instead of 2 times in the SWC. I think that we are going to happy with Football and Basketball at the SAME TIME for the first time in a long time. Let’s go one step further with baseball which has exponentially grown into a true revenue sport at the UofA. We are going to be happy with Baseball, Basketball AND Football at the same time for the first time in my memory.
There is always going to be the vocal minority who aren’t happy unless they have something to be unhappy about. If we win 9 games next year in football, then they will complain that we did not win 10. If we make the sweet sixteen in basketball, the gripers will point out that if we had a better coach (I think they have themselves in mind for that job) we would have made the final four. If we make the college world series, there will always be someone saying Van Horn wasted our talent and should have won the whole thing. Some folks dearly love to gripe and won’t let go of that privilege, ever! JMVVVVVVHO
Predictions are like opinions…everybody has one. Yours, Hogmodo, may have been written after a few Jack Daniels’ on the rocks, but I like it. Do I believe it? No.
I do think the baseball team is in great shape as long as Coach Van Horn is here. He is one of the best in college baseball.
Coach Anderson is getting the program competitive again where we can be a Top 25 team. He is doing well.
Football is another matter. Coach Bielema is a good coach, but having Alabama, LSU, Auburn and A+M in your division is a tough row to hoe. We are being out recruited by all of those schools, so how are we going to beat them on a consistent basis? I don’t know and I don’t think anyone does.
Most fans recognize that Bama has been cheating since the 1930’s to create an image and prestige that allows them to reduce the blatant cheating. Who is beating Bama on a consistent basis? LSU has outrageous amounts of talent in-state and historical prestige. AU is one of the worst cheaters. A&M is in a hot bed of talent like LSU and they have a history of cheating too. Most fans recognize that we play teams that are on another level like Bama or those that cheat like AU. There are fans that are upset that we don’t beat Bama, LSU, AU and A&M “on a consistent basis” but their UNreal expectation is the problem. Of the 4 you mention, Bama is an outlier that I throw out of the discussion, LSU is one that we have been very competitive with in spite of the talent, AU is one that we have been competitive with in spite of talent, and A&M is the one that sticks in my craw. We have not beat A&M in what seems like forever yet we look like we are going to beat them…and our defense usually craters at the end. Defense has been the main culprit but Offense was bad last year in Arlington.
I just disagree that it will be a “monumental” class. I think we get a few guys who can make significant contributions in their career, but for the most part the class will just be too small, and frankly not as impressive as his previous ones.
I think this class is more of the high risk high reward type thing.
Bumper, Gooden, Noland and Byron H, are the safety net.
That we have been able to put up great first halves against most of these “strong” teams, tells me that we have the talent, the game preparation, and the technique to win. I’m still perplexed that we get whacked in the second half so often. I don’t think it is fitness as we have, by all reports, a great physical fitness program. Is it half-time adjustments by the other team, the failure of our coaches to recognize the adjustments, or more competitive athletes on the other side of the ball who want it more than we want it, and have the ability to exert their will? The pieces are in place.
It could be a mixture of all of these things. It may, too, also be that some, like A&M for instance, take Arkansas a little lightly (wouldn’t you if you still have to face the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and perhaps a Florida, Georgia or Tennessee) and come out strong in the second half, playing more like they are capable. That doesn’t explain losing a lead to Missouri. Who knows. It should get fixed soon, one way or another.
Reed…Look at my post…I said Coach Bielema is a good coach. I didn’t say he needed to be replaced. I just don’t think we are in for a golden age of football. I wish we were. I was a college student during the 60’s at Fayetteville, so I lived through a golden age. We would love another one. Coach Frank Broyles ain’t walking thru that door, however. This is a different time with much different circumstances.