Arkansas Football: Comparing Razorbacks' 2012 Implosion to Alabama's in 2000

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst ISeptember 29, 2012

Arkansas Football: Comparing Razorbacks' 2012 Implosion to Alabama's in 2000

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    The nightmare season for the Arkansas Razorbacks continues.

    The Razorbacks hit the road Saturday for an SEC tilt against the Texas A&M Aggies.  After hanging around for the first quarter, the Razorbacks collapsed and the Aggies countered with an offensive onslaught. The end result was another embarrassing 58-10 loss for the Razorbacks.

    It’s hard to remember a team that has fallen so far so fast, but it does compare to a free-fall that the Alabama Crimson Tide endured in 2000.

    While there are differences, here are the ways those collapses are similar.

High Expectations

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    The Crimson Tide finished 1999 as SEC champions after a dominating win over the Florida Gators. Head coach Mike DuBose returned a 2000 team that was stocked with talent and seemed ready to claim another SEC crown.

    The Razorbacks had an exciting 2011. They finished 11-2, with the only losses to Alabama and LSU. It was only the third time in history that an Arkansas team had as many as 11 wins. That record earned the Hogs a No. 5 rank in the the final edition of the AP poll.

    With quarterback Tyler Wilson returning, expectations were high, but like the 2000 Alabama team, the following season would turn ugly.

Poll Dancer

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    After a win in Week 1, the Hogs jumped as high as No. 8 in most polls, but that would be short-lived.

    After an upset loss at home against Louisiana-Monroe, the Razorbacks fell out of the top 25, and it seems unlikely that they will return.

    The Crimson Tide were No. 3 in the 2000 preseason polls, Three weeks later, after a 1-3 start, they had fallen out of the top 25.

Bitten By the Underdog

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    The most damaging loss for Arkansas was its shocking 34-31 overtime decision against Louisiana-Monroe. It destroyed any hopes of a national championship.

    The Razorbacks were at home and were double-digit favorites. But they blew a late lead .

    In the 2000 season, Alabama met a similar fate. In late October. the Tide may have been looking ahead to a meeting with LSU when they played host to Central Florida.

    UCF kept the game close and won it with a last-minute field goal. With that loss, the Crimson Tide became the first team from a BCS conference to lose to the Knights.

Bad Leadership

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    The Bobby Petrino saga has been rehashed so many times that there is no need to bring it up again.

    His replacement, John L. Smith, has been atrocious. Smith has no control of this team and has become a sideshow at best. Smith is entertaining to watch at the podium and it will be interesting to see what he says this week. But as a head coach, he is a failure.

    When this season is mercifully over, Smith will no longer be the coach of the Razorbacks.

    The 2000 edition of the Crimson Tide fired their head coach at the end of the season. And Mike DuBose has something in common with Petrino and Smith.

    Like Petrino, DuBose was accused of having an affair with a member of his staff. Like Smith, he did not make it through the year.

Similar Future?

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    Alabama rebounded from that horrible season and became a national powerhouse, winning several national championships. The Razorbacks are having a difficult season now, but if they can have the same kind of success that Alabama has had since its most disappointing season, perhaps it will all be worth it.

    James Brown is a B/R featured columnist and can be followed on Twitter. Feel free to contact James at He also is a contributor at Bookie Blitz, a sports picks website.