Thought you were rid of me for good, huh? While my wife didn't exactly drag me kicking and screaming up to Canada, the transition has involved much anxiety over how I was going to survive the upcoming season. The byzantine constraints of SEC media arrangements confounded my best efforts to get a handle on the situation and left me wondering whether it would even be possible to watch the inevitable rise of my beloved Razorbacks. A subscription to ESPN360 and arrangements to hop the border for every CBS game seems the final answer, one I came to only after finding that I'd be filing dispatches for A Boy Named Sooie once again this season.
The certainty of it all has left me ebullient, emboldened, exuberant, effervescent and unequivocal. No season in recent memory — even the 2007 campaign — has been anticipated with quite the same widespread eagerness and such consistently bated breath. People must be passing out all over Arkansas. Only a couple more days! Hold it all in! Red's your color, after all!
My prediction? We go undefeated. Here's how:
Next week's match-up with Missouri State meets nary a hiccup, only cementing our dark horse status among the cream of the sports world intelligentsia. Ryan Mallett falls short of 500 yards in the air but only plays the first half. People notice a slight change in our defense, especially in the middle. Still, “it's only Missouri State,” they say.
Next up, we welcome Georgia to Fayetteville for their first pounding of the season. Uga ends up smitten for good, busts loose of his handler and hightails it for home.
We win a squeaker in Alabama, where our defense proves its mettle against the run in convincing fashion and Joe Adams out-Julio Joneses Julio Jones. The pulsing purple vein in Nick Saban's forehead literally explodes in a bloody mess. We're making it through the roughest part of our hellish schedule with grit, sure, but also unaccounted for skill. Pat Forde is fired at ESPN for decrying the obvious.
Florida falls in what folks call a trap game, and many claim to have predicted the loss. People start talking Mallet-for-Heisman. D.J. Williams sparks a renewed interest in tight end play. By the time we get to Ole Miss, Hooten's already dropped a couple silly games, so nobody's surprised when he blows his lead in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. Except the Rebel faithful.
Though Spurrier gives us a run for our money, with South Carolina's defense proving our staunchest opponent yet, the midseason cupcakes pass by in a blur. And are you kidding me? Mississippi State?
LSWho is developing a bit of the thing about the Razorbacks, and though they're still the favorite in the West, Arkansas holds onto the Boot yet again.
In December, we absolutely destroy Florida in the SEC Championship, a game that culminates in a 95-yard punt return by Reggie Fish. Tim Tebow is so crushed by the loss that he retreats to an impoverished village in the rain forest to spend the rest of his life in ill-begotten pursuit of the cure for athlete's foot. He emerges bearded and penniless in 2050 to track down that bosomy girl in the photo we've all seen on the Internet. Erin Andrews is the only reporter who shows up to the press conference. She's aged quite well.
USC doesn't have a prayer. Pete Carroll, after a lopsided the National Championship loss, shaves his floppy-haired head and opens up an organic juice stand, staffed by Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez. He gains a reputation for taking juicers to the next level. In 2019, a misbegotten prank involving kiwis and protein powder will result in the loss of his business, his right thumb, and his favorite windbreaker.
Meanwhile, the Arkansas Razorbacks evolve into something more than a football team. For our great nation, they become almost a religion: A shining beacon of hope among the post-collapse ruins. In early 2010, they're named, collectively, ambassador to Iran, and their knack for diplomacy paves the way to a disarmed North Korea. And at last, for the 2011 season, Petrino reveals his Public Option, a deceptively simple offensive scheme that changes the way the game is played for millions.
It's going to be a good year.