Right now, there isn’t a more depressing story in sports-- aww, screw it, there isn’t a more depressing story anywhere than the plight of Arkansas Razorbacks football. Who knew that when Bobby Petrino rode off into the sunset and then straight into a roadside ditch with Jessica Dorrell, that he’d be taking the entire Arkansas football program with him?
Still, all hope is not lost. At least not in my eyes.
That’s because while the rest of the college football world has used the last month to turn Arkansas football into a walking punch-line, I won’t do it. I’m better than that.
Ok, I’m definitely not better than that, but still, I believe in John L. Smith. It’s not too late to turn this thing around. Not too late to right this ship. Not too late make lemonade out of lemons. Yes we can!
As a matter of fact, I believe in John L. Smith so much, that after Saturday’s heartbreaking, last second, 58-10 loss to Texas A&M, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and express just how much I believe in Arkansas, and believe in their coach.
Here are the 50 Reasons I Still Believe in John L. Smith!
1. Because John L. Smith might be the only person on the planet who could make Arkansas fans sit back and think to themselves, “You know what? Maybe that Houston Nutt wasn’t so bad after all.”
2. Hey, at least we know he’s not having an affair with his secretary, right?
3. All I’m saying is, if this whole mess ends with the phrase: “Ryan Mallett, Arkansas head football coach,” won’t it all be worth it?
4. Sure some of you see Arkansas’ 116th ranked scoring defense as “terrible.” To me, all I see is eight teams that are worse than them.
5. Hey look, that opening win over Jacksonville State didn’t happen by accident. Know what I’m saying?
6. Because on the 0.000000000000000000000000000000001 percent chance that Bobby Petrino somehow gets this job back, wouldn’t that go down as the greatest story in the history of sports?
7. All I’m saying is, after that 58-10 loss to Texas A&M the other day, that narrow, three point overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe doesn’t look nearly as bad. Does it?
8. Let’s be real here: Outside of his first team All-SEC award, the 24 touchdowns and 3,600 yards passing, Tyler Wilson wasn’t that good last year.
9. Because if Arkansas finishes the season 1-11, it might lead to the single greatest Skip Bayless rant in the history of “First Take.”
10. Understand that when prescription, tinted glasses come back in style in a few years, we’ll have John L. Smith to thank for it.
11. Because John L. Smith reminds me of my grandpa. Sure it’s the grandpa who always forgets to call on my birthday and once had to leave the country because of tax evasion. Still, he does remind me of my grandpa none the less.
12. When Auburn beats Arkansas by four touchdowns this weekend, the win might singlehandedly get Gene Chizik off the hot-seat. That John L. Smith, he’s always thinking of others.
13. Because there is no one- I mean NO ONE- who takes smiling more seriously than John L. Smith.
14. To his credit, through five months on the job Smith and Arkansas still haven’t committed one, single NCAA violation. Then again, maybe it’s time to start.
15. Honestly, Knile Davis didn’t want to be a first round draft pick anyway.
16. Yes Arkansas gave up over 700 yards to Texas A&M, but believe me, I watched that game, and I swear it didn’t feel like anything more 650.
17. Just remember, from 1977-1983, Lou Holtz was the head coach at the University of Arkansas. Does anyone else besides me smell a comeback?
18. Hey, at least Kentucky is still on the schedule.
19. Seriously, I don’t think Arkansas fans wanted to go to another Cotton Bowl this January anyway.
20. Sure he confused Arkansas with Alabama the other day. But who amongst us hasn’t?
21. In case you hadn’t noticed, Arkansas State is 2-3 so far this season, meaning the Razorbacks are still the best D-1 team in the state of Arkansas. Ok, probably not. But who’s counting?
22. Because at some point, someone is going to make a spectacular “Call Me Maybe” spoof video of this entire season. If it hasn’t happened already.
23. You didn’t hear this from me, but I’ve heard that “the threat of watching Arkansas football” is getting prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to confess to all sorts of crimes they may or may not have committed.
24. In Smith’s defense, even Bobby Petrino never came close to beating Alabama.
25. At the very least, isn’t spending a Saturday watching Arkansas football still better than the alternative of hanging out with your wife and kids?
26. Because at least we know John L. Smith doesn’t own a Harley. If only because he can’t afford to put gas in it.
Wait a second…
27. I’m pretty sure John L. owes me a little money too. No wonder I’m keeping such close tabs on him.
28. Even with all the losses, hasn’t this season reminded every Michigan State fan just how appreciative they need to be of Mark Dantonio?
29. Because even at his worst, remember, John L. Smith is still the most distinguished alum Weber State University has ever sent out into the world. Go Wildcats!
30. At least we know that no matter how bad things get, Arkansas will still be favored against Ole Miss… maybe.
31. I mean seriously, haven’t all the goofy Bobby Petrino t-shirts made this whole thing worthwhile?
32. Remember, if Arkansas weren’t so bad, everyone would instead be whining about how awful the BCS is. And honestly, isn’t the world a better place without that?
33. When Smith has a whole slew of high school athletic directors lined up offering him a contract in December, who do you think get the last laugh then, huh?
34. In 20 years, this whole Arkansas season is going to make a hell of a “30 for 30” documentary.
35. Again, the man beat Jacksonville State. Get off his back!
36. Because the first time I hear a rumor that “Jon Gruden is interested in the vacant Arkansas job” in December, well, it might be the highlight of the entire 2012 year for me.
37. Without Arkansas the kind folks at ESPNU would never get to broadcast SEC games. Now they’ve practically opened a satellite office in Fayetteville.
38. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times: With each Arkansas loss, Bobby Petrino can just go ahead and add another zero to his next paycheck. He has John L. Smith to thank for that.
39. If this whole “football” thing doesn’t work for John L., I’m pretty sure he has a future as the mayor of Monroe, LA.
40. Say what you want about the guy, but at least he’s never worn orange pants. Yes, I’m looking at you Derek Dooley.
41. In my Friday preview column I predicted that Texas A&M would put up 60 points on Arkansas. To their credit though, the Razorbacks only gave up 58. Shows what I know, huh?
42. Because if betting against Arkansas this year hasn’t made you several thousand dollars already, well, you’re doing it all wrong.
43. On the bright side, at least you won’t have to bother to re-arrange your schedule the day after Thanksgiving to watch Arkansas-LSU this year, right?
44. Weren’t we all predicting that by October 1 Northwestern would be ranked and Arkansas unranked anyway?
45. Look, even if Petrino were still coaching this team, Arkansas would’ve finished no better than third in the SEC West. So isn’t it better to bottom out and get the No. 1 draft pick---
Wait, never mind. Wrong sport.
46. For anyone looking to get drunk at 2:30 in the afternoon, there’s never been an excuse than “2012 Arkansas Razorbacks football.”
47. Because at least for one week, Rutgers win over Arkansas singlehandedly raised the credibility of the entire Big East. And as an alumnus of a Big East school, I am grateful for that.
48. Yes, no team that has ever started the year 1-4 has gone on to win a BCS National Championship. But hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?
49. Look, at some point in his career Johnny Manziel will very likely be a Heisman Trophy candidate. If anything, the Razorbacks defense was just ahead of the curve Saturday afternoon in College Station.
50. I mean honestly, aren’t we talking about Arkansas football more now than we ever have before?
John L. Smith truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
(*** Note: if you enjoyed this article, Aaron will soon be starting a once-weekly e-mail newsletter for updates on all his articles, interviews, giveaways and more. E-mail him at ATorres00@gmail.com to ensure your place on the list, and updates around the site!
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