That was embarrassing. Last Saturday's trouncing probably rang the death knell for Houston Nutt's tenure at Arkansas, but that didn't make the game any easier to watch. I haven't spent so much time with my face in the couch cushions since Borat's nude wrestling match. With the opposing coaches both playing for their jobs, the day went to the man who wanted it more. Nutt seemed consigned to his fate, wandering the sideline like it was the green mile. Dead man walking.
Phil Fulmer's career .776 winning percentage (128-37) and national championship ring didn't bode well, anyways. Nutt's accrued a measly .594 and an increasingly stale Western Division championship by comparison. With Fulmer primed for the conference championship and Nutt struggling to put together a winning record (even with four pushover non-cons on the schedule), who do you think will sweat his walking papers now?
The worst part is listening to Tennessee's mediocre defense talk shit, as if any semblance of a game plan wouldn't have had them scrambling. McFadden runs the plays he's given, and our play-calling might as well have been scrawled in the dirt. If defensive coordinator John Chavis had told me he was going to shut us down by focusing all his energies on clogging up the middle, I would have patted him on the head and sent him packing. But the man knows limitations when he sees them.
Elsewhere in the Hog nation, you have to don a haz-mat suit to log on to the message boards nowadays, with the woopigs and hogvilles seeing levels of vitriol worthy of a call to the EPA. Between astonishingly tasteless e-mails, calculated FOI leaks and airborne banners, the sideline drama's gotten downright operatic. And you thought the off-season was a circus.
Thank God for Mississippi? We rolled right over a frustrated Rebels squad that had all but given up on their season, but the Bulldogs might do the same to us. Coach Sylvester Croom's team has piled up big wins against quality opponents: Alabama at home, Auburn and Kentucky away. After snagging bowl eligibility last week, Croom is a media darling — the first black head coach in the SEC and the first to take the Bulldogs to a bowl game in six seasons.
Any coach at Mississippi State has got his work cut out for him. On message boards, Starkville's a euphemism for hell, a sly way of getting around cursing regulations. And I have to agree with them, having spent some time there. (Due to some remarkably backward legislating, you can't buy cold beer from a package store in Starkvegas. It takes exactly seven minutes to spin a beer to an acceptable temperature on a bed of ice.) The school's a mess, and the town boasts all the poverty of middle Mississippi and none of the charm. You try recruiting to a place that pales in comparison to Greenville. Give me black jack, Nelson Street, and dirty water any day.
Croom spreads his play-calling fairly evenly between pass and rush offense, fielding a passable freshman QB in Wesley Carroll and a consistent back in Anthony Dixon. The Bulldogs seem to thrive on keeping the game close enough to capitalize on the kind of Pontiac™ Game Changing Performances that we're bound to give up. And if this week's cringefest weren't in War Memorial, I'd say we were all but done for, a little like you-know-who.