Arkansas athletics/courtesy photo
It's been a rough start to the year for Arkansas athletics.

Yikes: Arkansas basketball is skidding and Arkansas football has no DC

Eric Bolin

Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.

Prone to irrational fits of panic? Prefer to see things as glass-half-empty? Generally have a miserable disposition?

Then you’re right at home with Arkansas athletics in 2018.

The first week of the new year has been a bit rough for the Razorbacks. With each passing day that first-year coach Chad Morris has not named a defensive coordinator, nervousness grows. The problem is exacerbated by the reports of who Arkansas wants.

John Chavis has been the top-reported name to become the Hogs’ next DC for weeks. Almost a month, even. His replacement at LSU, Dave Aranda, just landed a $2.5 million deal. Worry becomes whether Arkansas will pay its coordinator, whether it’s Chavis or someone else, similar money. Will it be worth it?

On top of that, the Arkansas men’s basketball team has lost two games in a row. Both defeats came at the hands of teams predicted to finish below the Razorbacks in the SEC. The losses have brought back the “fire Mike Anderson” crowd from the woodwork, even though Arkansas was ranked 22nd this week.

Neither issue is that big of a deal, frankly. Arkansas will get a DC. It will be a legitimate DC, even if it isn’t the best in the nation (as Morris said he would hire in his introductory press conference). Arkansas basketball, too, isn’t going to finish 6-12, despite the 1-2 start.

But, hey, it’s January. This is what fans do at this time of year. Gotta find something.

Time to turn it around, Arkansas basketball

This is a big week for the basketball Hogs, no two ways around it. Anderson’s team isn’t as bad as the panic-mongers protest. They’re also not as good as the loony-bin crowd that thought the Razorbacks were Elite 8-level earlier this year, either. The truth is in the middle.

But the way the SEC is playing out so far, Arkansas can’t afford to slip too far behind the pace. It looks like another season where the middle of the league is going to be all bunched together. A lot of teams are 8-10, 9-9, 10-8 caliber. When it comes to NCAA Tournament time, how is the committee going to distinguish between those?

Arkansas needs to do everything it can to avoid that muck and mire. Taking advantage of two games at Bud Walton Arena this week will help. First comes last-place-predicted LSU on Wednesday. Then, Missouri, a team Arkansas was expected to fight in the upper-middle of the league, on Saturday.

It’s time to start stringing together wins, lest this thing goes sideways and real worry begins to settle in.

ICYMI

  • Morris made a couple of hires to his staff over the weekend. His first college quarterback, GJ Kinne, was brought on to help with quarterbacks. Julian Griffin was also hired as offensive quality control assistant.
  • Arkansas basketball’s RPI fell 11 points after the loss to Auburn on Saturday. The Razorbacks are now 17th in that regard. Still quite strong.
  • Arkansas women’s basketball fell to 1-2 in SEC play after a loss to Alabama on Sunday afternoon. The team heads to the road this week for games at Georgia on Thursday and at Auburn on Sunday.

Tweets and the like

It should be no shock after over a year doing this and four years covering Arkansas that I’m a college baseball fan. Not just a regular one, I’m an advocate for the sport. Nice for me, then, the Diamond Hogs are supposed to be good this year. Makes it even more fun. You can go meet them just before the season begins.

Arkansas’ other FBS team has a date to play one of the state’s FCS teams.

That little boy from The Blind Side movie is a real person and he’s all grown up now.