Actually, that started long before the first snap was ever taken after Bobby Petrino put the Hogs behind the 8-ball by having an affair, lying to his faithful fans and getting fired for his antics.
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long had no choice but to fire Petrino. But he did so with the future of the program in mind. He also hired John L. Smith with the future in mind.
I recently wrote a column while in Pine Bluff that cast my opinion on this matter and since being here closer to Fayetteville and talking to those close to the situation, I have developed a clearer look at the past, present and future of Razorback football.
In my previous column, I stated that Bobby Petrino didn't actually wreck his motorcycle, Jessica Dorrell was not on the bike when the "accident" occurred and that Petrino would be back next year. Here is my addition to those earlier suggestions.
I have been further educated on the happenings of that fateful evening when it all hit the fan. Here is what I learned.
Petrino and Dorrell were "visiting" each other at a camphouse when Dorrell's boyfriend showed up and caught the two with their hands in the cookie jar. The boyfriend commenced to doling out some good-ole-boy vigilante justice on Petrino with several blows to the face before the altercation ended. Dorell was then forced into the boyfriend's car as Petrino was attempting to flee the scene.
Already battered and bruised from the assault, Petrino pointed his headlights down the road to escape further injury. The boyfriend, with Dorrell in the passenger seat, followed Petrino in pursuit with full intention of causing more damage, which he did by running Petrino off the road. Petrino claimed in the police report -- which has been sealed by a judge along with medical records -- that the sun and wind affected his judgement. I spoke with someone who knows that stretch of road well. The sun was not a factor and the wind rarely blows in that valley.
So, Petrino did have an accident after being forced off the roadway. Dorrell was not on the bike but was on the scene shortly thereafter when the boyfriend stopped, escorted her from the car, pushed her to Petrino and basically said, "She's yours."
Petrino then called his state trooper buddy who was off-duty at the time and asked for assistance. His buddy could have investigated the situation and kept it under wraps. But from my understanding, he called a superior who told him he had to file a report. That's where it all got out of hand. That trooper is now back on patrol.
So, Long had no choice but to relieve Petrino of his duties, hire a replacement and let the smoke clear. But, remember, Long still has the future in mind. Smith was hired for a one-year deal and that's all he will get. The Razorbacks will win seven or eight games and play in a pre-New Year's Day bowl game and Hog Nation will be rooting for Petrino to come back. Actually, that has already started.
Petrino did not seek employment elsewhere. And it is a fact that somewhere out there is a program that would have scooped him up had he been on the market. He sold his house, for a loss, in Fayetteville, only to buy another one in Rogers, so as not to be far from the program. He is friends with Long and Smith, allowing him to still have input into the day-to-day operations of the team. It wouldn't surprise me what he's not still calling plays. Technology is a wonderful thing.
The dust will settle on this situation sooner or later. The Arkansas faithful want to see it disappear completely. The Hogs were battling for Southeastern Conference supremacy with Petrino at the helm, even getting national attention with talks of a possible national title run at stake. Then, in the opening game of the season, they struggled for one half against a mid-major team that shouldn't have even been in the game.
Let that happen against any SEC team and it's a sure loss. Alabama and LSU are licking their chops right now. So is the rest of the conference. Arkansas is reeling to find an identity and until it does, the strongest conference in the nation is not waiting to see an identification card and the Hogs will be sent to slaughter if things don't change.
They are not going to change this year. But "just wait till next year" now takes on a whole new meaning.
Chan Davis is the sports editor for the Carroll County News.
He can be reached at email@example.com or 870-654-2742.