John L. Smith's Rising Debt Further Proof 2012 Is Worst Season Ever for Arkansas
Every college football program has experienced its fair share of terrible seasons. You know, you refuse to show up to the games because your team is that bad. And if you do want to see your team in action, you bring one of those paper bags with you so nobody would notice you out in public.
Well, the Arkansas Razorbacks are going through one of those years in 2012.
Remember when it was reported that John L. Smith was $25 million in debt?
Never mind those numbers. According to the AP, via ESPN, the Arkansas head coach is really $40.7 million in debt, as some of his listings when he filed for bankruptcy are slowly coming to light. The coach owes Branch Banking & Trust in Louisville, KY at least $15 million, as the exact amount is still unknown.
Arkansas has certainly seen many dark years, as this program has never been a consistent bowl-winning team. It has even gone many years without even qualifying for a bowl game. There has never been a Heisman Trophy winner that has worn a Razorbacks jersey, and there is only one national championship for Arkansas fans to be proud of. It was won in 1964.
This season, it finally appeared that the school many fail to remember in the loaded SEC was turning the corner. Quarterback Tyler Wilson was looking more and more like a first-round NFL draft pick, running back Knile Davis was returning from injury, the schedule was favorable and six starters were returning from an improved defense.
All of those positives were for naught.
Head coach Bobby Petrino was fired before spring ball, as he got into a motorcycle accident that revealed he was doing much more than enjoying a day off from the gridiron. Smith was later hired as his replacement, as he left Weber State before the airplane even landed in Utah.
Oh, and that was just the beginning.
The top-10 team lost to Louisiana-Monroe, was shut out 52-0 by Alabama in Arkansas and lost to Rutgers and Texas A&M. A team with so much star power had lost to three unranked teams and was beaten down by an SEC rival in the first month of the season.
As for the key players, Wilson isn't even completing 55 percent of his passes and has five interceptions to go with his disappointing nine touchdown passes. Davis, who said he was still the best back in the SEC before the season started, would be better off if he missed the remainder of the 2012 season as well. The junior is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and has scored three touchdowns in five games.
Defensively, the team is ranked dead last in the SEC, allowing 510 yards a game. There have been 27 plays that have gone for more than 20 yards, which is also the worst in the conference. There is almost zero pressure up front, and the defense has only forced two turnovers the entire season.
Seriously, folks, I can't make this stuff up.
Then there is Smith, whom Arkansas shouldn't have hired to begin with, knowing he owed a colossal amount of money that he wouldn't have been able to pay back in 10 lifetimes. Sure, Petrino lived the life of a single man when he was married, but at least the guy could provide victories on the football field. And at least he wasn't a creepy 63-year-old who scared all of the media from attending press conferences.
With teams such as Auburn, South Carolina, Texas A&M and LSU still on the schedule, there is a great chance the Razorbacks will miss the bowl season altogether for the first time since 2008. And since losses have already occurred to Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers, we also can't forget about the high and mighty Kentucky Wildcats and Tulsa Golden Hurricanes that remain as well.
This season really can't get much worse for the Razorbacks and its fanbase, but every time I say that, it somehow finds a way to prove me wrong.
So if your team happens to hit a few bumps in the road this year and doesn't exactly fulfill expectations, just look at Arkansas and remember that things could always be worse.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.
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