Bahn: Blown Chance Against Alabama Doesn't Have to Define Razorbacks' Season

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2010 2:30 pm  

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FAYETTEVILLE — Immediately after Alabama 24, Arkansas 20, the game felt like one of those missed program-changing opportunities of the past. Instead of knocking off the No. 1 team in the country, rising into the Top 5, taking over the SEC West and getting into the BCS title conversation, the Razorbacks were left wondering what could have been.

Contrary to what is being written and said on talk radio, losing a 13-point lead and getting outscored 17-0 in the final 16 minutes of the game isn’t "hanging with" the best program in college football. That’s called "squandering an opportunity,"

Arkansas should be 4-0 right now, so you can’t blame folks for thinking back on epic "what if" games from 1969, 1998 and 2006. Ultimately, Saturday's game came down to this: Alabama is a program used to four or five of these big games a year. Arkansas is a program used to one of the big games every four to five years.

Bobby Petrino is working to change that. And it's possible Arkansas finds itself in another big game setting this year.

That's the good news in all this.

Unlike those blown chances, which came at or near the end of the season, the Razorbacks have plenty of time left in 2010 to make an impact on the national scene. Simply put: the Arkansas season is far from over – if the Razorbacks get over the Alabama loss.

Beginning with the Oct. 9 Southwest Classic matchup against Texas A&M in Cowboys Stadium, there are eight games remaining. How do the Razorbacks respond?

Will they still be dwelling on the opportunity that evaded them on Sept. 25? Or will they be looking at the opportunities ahead of them between now and LSU visiting Little Rock on Nov. 27?

It won’t be easy, but there are eight winnable games ahead. Judging from what we’ve seen so far, it’s not hard to imagine Arkansas improving just enough each week to win out and go to a BCS bowl.

Arkansas has a much-improved defense. Through four weeks the team ranked 28th nationally in total defense, 71 spots ahead of where it ended 2009.

Offensively, the Razorbacks haven’t done much on the ground. They’re one of the worst rushing attacks in the country (104th through Week 4), but are ranked in the Top 20 nationally in total offense.

Watching Arkansas you get the sense that the offense hasn’t scratched the surface. There is more in store for the Razorbacks. Remember, there were still parts of the 2009 playbook Arkansas didn’t unveil until Week 10 in a 56-20 victory against Troy.



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