War Memorial Mystigue? Miracles on Markham?


You may find those ghosts of past glories roaming aimlessly in the catacombs of War Memorial Stadium, banished to the dark world in this cursed, haunted season for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

It’s “Mess on Markham.” 0-2.

Any rising expectations of Razorback fans were frozen Saturday by Freeze and is newly energized band of Rebels.

Entering Saturday’s game, the teams that had defeated Arkansas were a combined 23-4. Those that had defeated Ole Miss were 17-4.

It set up as a shootout between teams that were beginning to think they were reasonably good. It came down to which could shoot itself in the foot the fewest times. Or which had the foot with the chance to win in the end.

So what did we learn by the Rebels’ 30-27 victory that was settled without  need of overtime or learning goal posts?

* The Razorbacks, further short-circuited by injuries, are really not that much better; they had defeated two bad teams (Kentucky and Auburn).

* The Rebels and the Hogs were two ordinary teams vying possibly for some kind of ordinary bowl game in less-than-destination locales with strange initials. Going to a lesser-name bowl is a big deal for Ole Miss in the first (and the change-of-culture, revitalizing season under Hugh Freeze). It’s deflating for the UA, where the fans expected more and at least one national pundit put the Hogs in he national title game.

* UA back Dennis Johnson plays with a lot of heart and want-to. Also Cobi Hamilton. Some others, not-so-much.

* Quarterback Tyler Wilson is still a leader but is making mistakes of the nature you wouldn’t expect from a senior.

* UA offensive coordinator Paul Petrino and defensive coordinator Paul Haynes are overmatched in the Southeastern Conference.

* The Hogs cannot beat the teams that are supposed to beat, a mark of a good team.

* Nothing can change the complexion of a football game more than a blocked kick.

* The best case for the UA playing multiple games at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock has been tarnished.

* A fragile Razorback team and fan base is more fragile.

* UA interim coach John L. Smith and most of his staff will again say they will just have to go back to the practice field and get better.

* Will Tulsa be a decisive favorite next week at Fayetteville?

* The two most exciting things for UA fans heading into November are: 1. the start of basketball season; 2. the annoucement of the next head football coach.

And if you wondering about Halloween costumes, the Bobby Petrino, bloody-faced, neck-brace thing may be too horrific.

What about the coordinators?

But then, you would be invisible.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net)