Arkansas Takes a Stunning Loss to Missouri

Nov 25, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema talks with Missouri Tigers head coach Barry Odom before the game at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema talks with Missouri Tigers head coach Barry Odom before the game at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Arkansas finishes their roller coaster ride of a season with a loss on the road to the Missouri Tigers, 28-24.

As soon as Austin Allen is gang tackled on the long 4th down to seal the game for the Tigers, I yelled at my T.V. and stepped outside. Alone in the cold, I pulled a cigarette out of my pack and lit it while blankly staring into the planks of the deck. Not a single thought running through my mind. I am stunned.

After a few minutes, I come back to my conscious mind and begin to ask myself the simple questions. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Most importantly, though, I asked who do I blame.

Was MIZZOU just the better team? Hell no, they were 3-8 and only 1-6 in the SEC. Sure, I give them credit for doing what they did to win, however, they are vastly inferior to Arkansas. This is the same MIZZOU team that lost to Florida 40-14. The same Florida the Razorbacks beat on November 5th.

So then who? Who does this loss fall at the feet of? Under Robb Smith, Arkansas has steadily trended downwards defensively. So much so that this is literally the worst Arkansas defense in program history. I know he shares in some of the blame but let’s be objective when looking at this.

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Missouri scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to come back and win. Where was Dan Enos and his offense? A much as we want to say, Smith should be fired, Enos performed just as badly if not worse. Two interceptions and the inability to capitalize in the red-zone is what ultimately cost Arkansas this game. As terrible as Smith’s defense performed, they gave up 21 in the second half but it was the failure of Enos and his offense to strike back and maintain their lead.

How much of this blame does the head hog himself have to take responsibility for?

I’ve watched Bret Bielema’s post game press conference many times already and I didn’t hear him say “I take full responsibility” or “this falls on my shoulders” and not even “ultimately it’s one me.” Basically, no matter how many times I listen to his explanation of what happened, I don’t hear him directly take responsibility for losing to a 3-8 Missouri.

What he does talk about is “getting after his players” AFTER THE GAME specifically for not being able to get touchdowns in goal line situations. It was like A&M game all over again. Arkansas took three scoreless trips to the red zone.

"“How tough? They’re all tough. I mean when you’re in this profession, they all suck. They’re all very very hard to swallow and that’s why the wins are so sweet but in this league especially.-Bret Bielema in post game press conference when asked how tough this loss was."

This is the last thing that Bielema says in the presser and my screen goes back to the page with the video. My stunned feeling returns for a brief moment and then I begin to think about all his other post-loss pressers. The two of which come to mind immediately are post-Auburn and LSU. In both, Bielema said that these kinds of losses can’t happen and will not be tolerated. It’s at this moment that I realize why he doesn’t repeat that in the MIZZOU presser. He not only can’t but doesn’t have to.

This presser felt more like a crime boss sitting across the table from you telling all about how he committed a crime, why he did it, that it’s someone else’s fault and that nothing is going to happen because he owns the sheriff.  Basically, he knows that even though his team lost to an embarrassingly inferior team and as mad as the fans will be, nothing is going to happen to him or his staff, which is the truth since his buyout is something like 16 million dollars.

We as the fans will just have to accept this and move on to the bowl game.

As much as we, the fans, want heads to roll and people to lose their jobs, it’s not going to happen. Bielema was asked about this in the presser to which he replied he didn’t plan on making any changes on his coaching staff at this point.

Now, for all you conspiracy theorists out there looking at that and saying, “At this point means he’s gonna do it after the bowl game or maybe even some time before. He is just talking about not doing it immediately.”, you could very well be right. He could “help Smith find a new job” after the bowl season or he could be saying he REALLY isn’t going to fire anyone. That remains to be seen.

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Even as I write this I am still just at a loss as to what exactly went wrong tonight. Arkansas should have won but it didn’t happen and I want so bad to be able to say definitively that it’s *Insert Any Coach Here*’s fault, I can’t. All I can say now is on to the bowl game. Remember our motto Hog fans and say it with me, “Next year will be the year.” Woo Pig