The Arkansas Razorbacks are currently sporting a 6-4 record. On first glance, the average sports junkie will dismiss them with out a second's hesitation. This immediate dismissal of the collective skill of the team is a tragedy, because the nation just won't be ready for an unstoppable Razorbacks team next year.
Allow me, before you navigate away from this page, to elaborate. I base this argument on a few basic premises, each of which I will enumerate herein below.
Ryan Mallett has the best arm in all of football, NFL included. When he throws the ball, it goes precisely where he wants it to go at the exact time that he wants it to go there. This sounds like the basic formula for any good quarterback, but Mallett takes it to the next level.
He is third amongst all quarterbacks in the nation in passer efficiency. On Saturday, he broke or matched five Arkansas offensive records. He passed Clint Stoerner's single-season passing record.
"Big Deal!" you say, or
"Who is Clint Stoerner?"
Those are typical, but uneducated remarks. Mallett broke the record, and still has three games left in the season. Furthermore, Mallett is shattering this record whilst in the midst of what ESPN ranked as the "Third-Hardest Schedule" in college football this year. It's not like Mallett is tearing apart cream puffs, he is offensively dominating powerhouse SEC defenses. Sorry critics, he is the real deal.
Another thing that makes this team so remarkable, and so terrifying for their opponents in next year's schedule, is the sheer youth of the team. Mallett is, himself, a red-shirt sophomore this year. Those bad games that people keep citing when I talk to them about Razorbacks football, like Ole Miss, Florida, Alabama, etc, are moot points.
There are no mistakes, not a one, that the Razorbacks have made this year that cannot be attributed to youth. Mallett's going to do nothing but get better, and the incredible receiving corps that Petrino has surrounded Mallett with is there to stay as well.
This brings me to my next point, one that all anti-Razorback fans are literally slavering over. Defense.
Yes, I'll begin by saying something that I know you want to hear. The Razorbacks defense has been torn apart, giving up huge yardage plays on an almost regular basis.
Let me respond to that by quoting this particular statistic, Arkansas ranks first in the SEC in Red Zone Defense. We bend, we may bend a lot, but we do not break.
The Razorbacks defense is young too, with many starters coming back for next year after an offseason of working on weaknesses. Arkansas is looking to be an offensive juggernaut, but the defense will learn to hold its own as well. It's already showing signs of being able to do so with it's amazing Red Zone stands.
The Razorbacks have entered a new era, and the current team members are going to be the forefathers of a whole new generation of Razorback football. With Mallett under center, and Petrino in the cockpit, there is nothing that these Razorbacks won't be able to accomplish.
I have every expectation of them being in a BCS bowl game next year. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to have fun watching college football's most explosive offense.