What will it take?

Regular board readers know that I am a fan of the English Premier soccer league and of Arsenal FC in particular. Arsenal opens the 2017-18 EPL season this afternoon against Leicester City, which became famous for winning the 2015-16 EPL title from nowhere, as in 5,000-1 odds. So this morning I was discussing that match, and Leicester’s title run, with a friend on Facebook. Leicester didn’t have anywhere near the talent of Chelsea, or Arsenal, or Manchester United, or several other clubs with big bank accounts that season. But they played darn near perfect soccer. From October 1 on, they were 20-2-9, and won the league by 3+ games (a win being worth 3 points; LCFC won by 10 points).

Our discussion got me thinking about another team that has to try to compete with inferior talent: The Hogs. We’re just not going to get the 5-stars like Alabama does. Not going to happen, unless Arkansas high schools start cranking out 5s (and if they do, Bama will be camped out here like they did with the late Mr. $0.10). But in what may be the best football league in the world, that Leicester team with inferior talent got on a seven-month roll and won a title. If Arkansas is going to win the NC (or even the SEC), that’s what it’s going to take. A team playing over its head for an entire season. The perfect storm. We’ve seen it happen before in college football. I have been convinced that OU’s NC in 2000 was the perfect storm. They played over their heads, had no significant injuries, and all the close games went their way. Are we going to get that kind of season? We can only hope.

That 2000 Oklahoma team also caught a huge break when the BCS computers ranked Florida State ahead of Miami in the final poll, despite the fact Miami beat FSU earlier in the year. That was the year Miami began its 34-game win streak that didn’t end until the 2002 championship game.

I like CBB but to me for us to beat Bama we are going to have run a more wide open Offense.its hard to beat Bama at its own game when they get better OL and DL and RB’s than we do.I know we have come close to beating them but if you remember they had 5 To’s,the teams that have beaten them have done it with a more wide open offense than we have. they have a dynamic dual threat QB and great Wr’s with enough Run game to make you respect it…I see some Great Wrs coining in by all accounts and IMO we should move to a more wide open scheme but probably not happening if CBB stays…

Great post Swine. Youdaman, I respectfully disagree. IMO, we need schemes that accentuate what Arkansas has going for it…and what we have going for us is that we are essentially a one football-school state…with kids who grew up dying to be Hogs. That equates into kids that are willing to work harder than anyone. Which is a great way to build an offensive line.
Yes, its great to have some beasts. But offensive lines are developed more that recruited. It also helps that CBB is known for developing o-lineman. In a league that no longer really playes fire-off-the-line offensive football…I think this makes us different. And being different is imperative

I also like the move to the 3-4. Relying on 4 beasts on the front DOES put us squarely against Bama, Auburn and LSU to recruit. But a defense predicated on quickness and intelligence? Why…that reminds me the Hog defenses I’ve known my whole life. Clay has alluded to that over and over. I think Arkansas produces those type of athletes. Tweeners that can play but may not fit into the mold you need to fit into to become a 4 or 5 star. Grant Morgan and Dre Greenlaw come to mind.

I think Bielema is perfect for us. He arrived at a terrible, terrible time. But I think he will start to get on a roll. Soon.

And Swine…I’ve become an Everton fan. I love the Rooney-going-home narrative.

I disagree. Everyone is running the spread now, including bama. IMO we don’t need to change our offensive scheme, we just need improvement from the Oline. To beat bama, we have to improve on defense and clean up the kicking game issues. Hocker was good, but it seems like forever since we’ve had an outstanding FG kicker.

I disagree. A whole lot of spread teams are playing Bama now–and losing. And we didn’t beat them when we ran Petrino’s offense. No matter what you run, it’s going to take better players than Bama to beat them very often. Fortunately, the best players don’t always win. We just have to close enough in talent that we can win when the breaks go our way. That’s doable.

everybody has their opinion I just base mine on what type teams have beat or given Bama trouble,OM,Clemson,TAMU…like i said I love CBB and would love for us to beat them at their own game and maybe we will! you know thats what I want!! but just have noticed they do pretty good at beating those teams because they own the line of scrimmage against them.

Just curious, why would you say we are trying to beat them at their own game? The last few years they are more of a spread team than anything.

no they are still a power team but Saban is no dummy,he knows they have to throw the ball to win against the few team that can match them up front.

I just think when you have inferior talent up front you need to try to attack their secondary which is very good but compared to their front 7 its your best chance because we have certainly proven we can’t block them at all! they totally stuff our run game and get us into obvious pass situations and pin their ears back and let the bette rpersonnel win…notice we scored all our pts last yr through the air!!

It will take overcoming the inferior talent gap everyone speaks of by cheating more at recruiting (like the big time SEC teams that win) and/or taking players that might be a little higher character risks.

It will also require a head coach that will at least endorse these activities and players, and a culture shift in the athletic department to one that prioritizes winning and championships over being good students and having coaches in the fold that are chummy with the AD, so he thinks football is “fun again.” Also, having a football coach that is one of the best, strategically, on game days, even on defense (the side of the football that needs a lot more emphasis).

That is what it will take. No one will admit it, but that is what it will take. Cheating in dumb ways like Ole Miss did is not necessarily required. But more cheating will be needed.

It’s unsavory, I know. But while college football is something we all love, it’s an unsavory, basically crooked sport that has been overtaken by money and immoral, win at all cost mentalities. And it’s not governed or regulated hardly at all by the NCAA.

So if you want to win big at Arkansas, you’d better get in line. Otherwise, a good year is 8-5 with a bowl win.

I like the approach CBB is taking trying to build a roster of Uncommon Men. If the Hogs can consistently have a roster of talented, hard working players, even though less talented on paper, they should always be competitive and occasionally, win big. This might be the year when things come together. That is my plan.

WPS!!!

I don’t blame you for feeling that way. I really don’t. That is the desired affect of the spin/propaganda machine in Fayetteville. But it is fanciful to think that our players at Arkansas are any more “Uncommon” than players at other schools in the SEC. They’re all just young men, subject to doing the dumb things young men often do. See Jeremy Sprinkle and Drew Morgan late last year.

It takes a real coach to make a difference and, of course, a hell of a lot of big-time talent to win in any meaningful way. The sooner we realize that, and realize that we likely don’t have either, the quicker a shift to a different direction can occur.

Sorry you’re bummed about our team. I’m kinda looking forward to the season to see what happens. I feel bad for ya, bro.

Don’t feel bad for me, “bro.” Feel bad for the thousands of Hog fans that saw us get our ass unmercifully beat by Auburn last year, and that saw us lose to Mizzou and Va. Tech like we did. Then there is the inability to beat A&M. Oh, and throw in the Toledo and Texas Tech losses of yesteryear, too. I am just telling you a lot of Hog fans feel like me. Very frustrated. Arkansas can win. It’s been shown. Just not under this Long/Bielema regime. I hope this season is good and that I’m proven wrong. Despite what you may think, I’m a fan. I do care.

I believe CBP was under the Long regime. Yes, the Toledo loss was embarrassing. So was Auburn last year and the way the team lost the last two games. Losing to Texas Tech is not exactly the end of the world; they do belong to a Power-5 Conference. Should have beaten them. Don’t forget wins over Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss, etc. I hear your frustration and understand it (would prefer you watch your language in expressing it, though). Hope one day you can be proud to have CBB as coach. I know that’s not happening anytime soon, though.

I take it you want a new coach and AD. I’d like to see your list of replacements.

For now, I’m 100% behind this coach and team. It’s curious why someone would be so critical before the first game. Despite popular belief, message board posts have no impact on the decisions made.

The criticism comes from last year, I’m no rocket scientist but that’s what I would assume.

Criticism is deserving after last year.

I’m not sold on CBB, for me this is his make or break year. Do good and I’m all for continuing his career here, disappoint, (anything less than 8 wins) and it’s time to start atleast talking about the hot seat and replacements.

Men, our offense was among the leaders in the SEC last year. We were in the top 5 in almost all the important categories. What we need is danged defense. We have been very good on the Dan Enos side of the ball for his tenure here. We can compete on that side of the ball, no problem.

We have been one of the worst defenses in NCAA football the past 2 years. We were the worst in the country in giving up rushing touchdowns. That is the biggest problem, in my view. We have been just plain horrible on defense. We looked laughable against Texas A+M last year, and we couldn’t even make Texas Tech punt the entire game the year before that. Without that very good offense, the defense would have been every worse than they were.

Coach Bielema is a defensive coach, I have heard, but I have not seen much evidence of that.