FAYETTEVILLE - Too bad for University of Arkansas football that one of Dr. Phil's degrees was achieved at what is now the University of North Texas.
Seems the Razorbacks could use a celebrity with a clinical psychology degree in their corner instead of rooting against them.
That's the Ph.D that Dr. Phillip McGraw has from the Denton, Texas-based school, formerly known as North Texas State whose 2-0 Mean Green visits 1-1 Arkansas in today's 3 p.m. SEC Network Alternate channel televised nonconference game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Ever since the 2012 season's second game second half meltdown against underdog Louisiana-Monroe during Arkansas' John L. Smith era through the five-year Bret Bielema era, the Razorbacks have been haunted second halves gone wrong.
The meltdown repeated just two games into the tenure of coach Chad Morris.
Last Saturday night in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Razorbacks led the 13-point underdog Colorado State Rams of the Mountain West, 27-9 midway through the third quarter. Arkansas lost the game, 34-27.
Are these Arkansas second half demises physical or mental?
Asked that question throughout the week, Morris has refrained from commenting on what happened those years under coaches before his Arkansas time.
But he saw enough from the Hogs both when they were up and when they were down last Saturday in Fort Collins to diagnose the symptoms.
"Well, I think to be really honest with you, it's the ability to handle success," Morris said during last Wednesday's SEC teleconference. "We had things going our way and just the ability to stay focused, to stay in the moment and just to keep doing what we keep saying over and over about the little things. It's the ability when you have someone down to put them away. It's more mental than it is anything physical right now."
What must they do?
"Just having a complete mindset," Morris said. "That's from a staff standpoint, from a players' standpoint. And believe me, that's something we talk about every day and obviously, we've got to continue to address it. If we see anything that's taking our focus off the moment in that fourth quarter, then we all have to be on point and have to address it."
Given the SEC West Murderers' Row awaiting the three Saturdays after this one, starting Sept. 22 at nationally No. 7 Auburn, the Texas A&M Aggies at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium and nationally No. 1 reigning national champion Alabama visiting Fayetteville on Oct. 6, these Razorbacks better be able to capitalize on whatever success they can achieve.
That capitalizing needs to start with today's game.
Nobody's pretending that the Mean Green of Conference USA is Alabama.
But with UNT confident from a Sept. 1 routing Southern Methodist United, Morris' old team that under him beat UNT in 2015, '16 and '17, and UNT quarterback Mason Fine leading the nation in passing, UNT doesn't appear any less formidable than those Rams that outscored Arkansas, 25-0 from midway through the third quarter.
Averaging 431 passing yards for UNT's 46-23 victory over SMU and 58-16 over FCS school Incarnate Word, junior quarterback Fine is on all the Manning Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Maxwell Trophy and Walter Camp preseason watch lists.
Fine presents a marked contrast to Arkansas' quarterback situation. It's still unsettled. Junior Ty Storey played better off the bench than Cole Kelley did starting in the 55-20 opening victory over Eastern Illinois.
The opposite results occurred with Kelley better off the bench than Storey starting until the fourth quarter when the Hogs floundered both sides of the ball.
Arkansas senior receivers Jared Cornelius, the leading returning receiver off Arkansas' 2016 team, and Jonathan Nance, last year's Arkansas leading receiver, haven't gotten untracked their first two games.
UNT receivers Rico Bussey, and Notre Dame transfer Jalen Guyton between them already for 2018 log 29 catches for 443 yards and six touchdowns.
Morris likes to go uptempo but it may take a more deliberate ball-control attack exemplified by the 299 yards rushing that the Razorbacks running backs amassed against Colorado State behind a line run-blocking much better than the previous week against Eastern Illinois.
Arkansas' defense, hoping for but still not promised a healthy return this week by senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw (ankle) and senior defensive end Randy Ramsey (hamstring) needs to play a strong four quarters instead of just the two and half strong quarters it played against Colorado State.