Week off accentuates the negative after loss
It was a loud, long and tumultuous week in the world of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The 28-7 loss by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to TCU was great fodder for radio call-in shows.
There were so many emails to yours truly that it was almost impossible to respond to each of them.
Concern was expressed about everything from concessions to offensive performance.
Athletic Director Jeff Long addressed the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday — and he might not have had the early returns on Levy, the new concession vendor for Razorbacks games — but he did express some concern and admitted the new vendor had never worked a football game with that many people, more than 70,000 in attendance.
Friday, Long and Razorback Foundation Director Scott Varady sent an email to every booster on their email list apologizing and promising improvement.
It is a little difficult to understand how Varady’s Razorback Foundation, which raises funds for the athletic department, had anything to do with long lines and an extreme shortage of all things
hot dog, but it was a nice gesture because the concession situation was way below Razorbacks standards.
Lowering the price of a hot dog and a bottle of water from $4 to $3 was nice, but having them available after the first quarter would have been even nicer.
That was the minor complaint last week.
Mostly it was about Razorbacks football and every coach and even the athletic director.
The TCU loss was hard to digest because Arkansas won last year and this one was at home.
But a sellout crowd saw the offense score one touchdown and the defense get blown up
in the fourth quarter.
Bret Bielema’s name came up a lot last week, and while almost every criticism started with, “I like Bret, he seems like a great guy…’ most ended with concern about the future of the football program.
Some questioned how Bielema had gotten such a huge buyout that started out at $18 million and is now about $15 million. Was beating a mediocre Texas team in a second-tier bowl really worth the two-year extension, raise and huge buyout? That was a popular topic.
By Friday, the furor was calming a bit.
Maybe it was a good thing the Razorbacks were off Saturday, although they now will play 10 games without a break.
A victory over Texas A&M won’t stop the bleeding, but it might get the wolves who
want Bielema replaced off the doorstep.
Bielema took action immediately after the loss to the Horned Frogs, making his coaches and all players hit the film room Sunday studying what they did wrong and how they can improve in a hurry.
A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin probably would have traded places with Bielema in a heartbeat.
Nobody has been on a hotter seat than Sumlin since the Aggies blew a 34-point third-quarter lead against UCLA two weeks ago, and a member of the Board of Regents called for Sumlin to be fired.
Sumlin’s buyout is $11.2 million, and it must be payable within 60 days of termination.
The Aggies followed the UCLA loss with a 24-14 victory over Nicholls State, and then struggled Saturday with Louisiana-Lafayette until the second half.
A Hogs victory over the Aggies should be expected, and it might calm things a little.
A victory over New Mexico State, another bunch of Aggies, won’t matter.
But then, the Hogs have important games at South Carolina and Alabama before hosting Auburn and traveling to Ole Miss. Splitting those last four, along with two victories over Aggies, would put the Hogs within one game of being bowl eligible, and time will tell if that is enough for some fans.