The year from hell: A horrifying timeline of Arkansas football
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A year ago Monday on SEC Country Arkansas, there was a published piece in which one of our writers, me, wrote then-Razorbacks defensive coordinator Robb Smith should be fired. The piece was penned the Monday before Arkansas’ eventual loss to Missouri later that week.
None of this came from memory. Social media allowed me to take a look at things from a year ago. With that, it made me ponder, too.
Has this been the most disappointing calendar year in Arkansas football this generation?
Razorbacks’ awful timeline
- November 20, 2016: SEC Country Arkansas writes Robb Smith should be fired
- November 25, 2016: Missouri rallies from 24-7 halftime deficit to beat Arkansas, 28-24.
- December 27, 2016: Jeremy Sprinkle cited for shoplifting from Belk.
- December 29, 2016: Arkansas blows 24-0 halftime lead in loss to Virginia Tech in Belk Bowl.
- January 9, 2017: Defensive coordinator Robb Smith reportedly headed to Minnesota.
- April 29, 2017: Rawleigh Williams III carted off field in Arkansas’ final spring practice. He retired shortly thereafter.
- September 1, 2017: Cornerback Ryan Pulley out for the season.
- September 20, 2017: Running back Devwah Whaley and a teammate involved in fistfight.
- September 25, 2017: Wide receiver Jared Cornelius out for the season.
- October 23, 2017: Offensive lineman Frank Ragnow and running back Chase Hayden out for the season.
- November 15, 2017: Athletic director Jeff Long fired.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a batch of bad things no team was going to overcome. Too many things went wrong. A 5-7 season under normal circumstances would not have been cause for alarm. But a 5-7 season (or 4-8, if the Razorbacks lose to Missouri on Friday) after the collapses against the Tigers and Hokies last year, plus all the bad of this year appears to be much too much to stomach.
What does the next year hold?
Accordingly, almost no one thinks coach Bret Bielema will get a sixth season running the show in Fayetteville, and it all stems from the Battle Line Rivalry 2016.
Truly, it is wild how quickly things turned sour for Bielema, Long and the football program. There were signs throughout 2016 that the Razorbacks were getting wins with smoke and mirrors. But they were getting wins. In the 2017 season, however, the smoke evaporated. The mirrors were smashed.
With all of it, the program came crashing down. Arkansas is already looking for another athletic director. Soon, most likely, it will be seeking another coach.
All because of the worst 365 days I can remember in 25 years of following Arkansas football.