Hogs are convincing, even in loss
If I needed any more convincing about the improvement in the University of Arkansas football program, I saw all I needed to see Saturday night.
Wait a minute, youíre probably saying to yourself right about now: The Razorbacks were beaten by four touchdowns, losing to the Florida 63-35.
Yes. And a year ago, it might have been 73-0.
The Florida squad that Arkansas played Saturday night is one of the best teams in college football, and itís hard to imagine any quarterback anywhere playing better than the Gatorsí Kyle Trask did against the Razorbacks.
Granted, Trask had the benefit of throwing to some wide-open receivers but he also made seemingly every throw there was to make.
What impressed me about the Razorbacksí effort against the Gators wasnít what Arkansas did on defense, obviously. Or even on offense, where the Hogs had touchdown passes of 47 and 82 yards to go along with an 83-yard touchdown run.
No, the most impressive thing about the Razorbacks on Saturday night was their absolute refusal to give up and quit playing hard. A year ago, before the UA athletic administration finally had enough and fired Chad Morris, this might have turned into a complete embarrassment.
Instead, this yearís Razorbacks appeared to be giving maximum effort until the final whistle blew.
Head coach Sam Pittman wasnít on the Arkansas sideline in Gainesville after testing positive for COVID-19. But the impact heís had on the Arkansas football program is clear and obvious.
When the SEC released its 10-game schedule for each team a couple of months ago, I predicted that the Razorbacks wouldnít win a game this season. I canít say that Iím sorry I was wrong but I will say Iím sorry if you bet your life savings on my prediction.
Arkansas can rightfully claim to be the third-best team in the SEC West, having beaten Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn (I know, but we all saw what happened) and being very likely to beat LSU.
For a football program that had become an embarrassment just a year ago, itís a remarkable turnaround and Pittman deserves the credit.
Even after a four-touchdown loss at Florida, Pittman is the obvious choice for coach of the year and I donít mean just in the SEC.