I know Razorback fans are frustrated but does it help to claim that the 2018 football team is the worst in school history? An Internet website covering SEC football proclaimed today that Chad Morris’ first team at Arkansas wins that title.
How is it possible to know such a thing? It’s entirely likely that this bunch will finish with 10 losses which would be the most total losses in a season. But it’s only been since 2006 that Arkansas began playing 12 regular season games every year and it was after 1969 when they went from 10 games to 11.
In 1895 Arkansas played just one game and that was against a high school team.
The 1905 Arkansas Cardinals went 2-6 and lost to Transylvania. Are they the worst of all time?
If a lack of wins is the standard then the 1932 Hogs come up number one. Those guys won just one game.
More recently in 1950 and 1952 Otis Douglas twice coached Arkansas teams that went 2-8 with some future NFL players on the roster. I had old timers tell me that Douglas was easily Arkansas’ worst coach of all time.
My time covering this team goes back to 1975. In those 43 years my pick would be the 1990 Hogs. That team had Quinn Grovey as a senior quarterback and still just won just 3 games playing a SWC schedule that in no way compares to the SEC in 2018.
The most poorly coached Arkansas team that I’ve covered was the 2012 Razorbacks. As an interim head coach John L. Smith earned $100,00 a month for eight months to sit in his office and dream up jokes to crack in press conferences after losses.
Look I get it that the 2018 Hogs played stinko football in losses to Colorado State, North Texas, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Should Morris and his staff be held accountable for those pitiful performances? Of course. But that same team played Texas A&M and LSU to within seven points and were up on Ole Miss in the second half until they lost their quarterback and top two running backs.
Clearly as the losses have mounted there have been some players who checked out mentally and emotionally during certain games. Why did the defense show up big against LSU and fold completely the next week against a Mississippi State offense that had previously put up a goose egg against Alabama?
It’s not unlike what I saw with Nolan Richardson’s first basketball team at Arkansas. Eddie Sutton not only left him with roster of depleted talent but a lot of those guys really didn’t care for Nolan’s style of play. Often they looked comical, like the afternoon when a 5’9″ guard tried to shoot a game-tying shot over a 7’0″ center at the buzzer. The center simply stuck his hand out and blocked the shot while standing flat footed. Hilarious maybe but does anybody believe that Nolan told his vertically challenged guard to try that?
There were plenty of fans who concluded after that season that Nolan could not coach a lick. Apparently Frank Broyles was with them because he offered to hire Bobby Knight as a consultant to teach Nolan how to coach.
Thankfully Nolan declined the offer and five years later Arkansas was in the Final Four. Four years after that the Hogs won the national championship. It takes time to rebuild a program when what you’re doing is 180 degrees from what was done before and requires players with a different skill set.
Some Arkansas fans may not be willing to wait that long for Morris to win big but his boss will almost certainly give him time to put his own players on the field and not as freshmen but as upperclassmen.
In the meantime feel free to argue about which is the worst Arkansas football team of all time. I think I’ll go with that 1905 bunch. One of their two wins was against something called the Kansas City Medics and there was that loss to Transylvania. That seems really bad.