Against Arkansas today, Alabama covered the over (51 points) without allowing Arkansas to score. This is a difficult thing to accomplish. Vegas didn't see it coming - the last line I saw was Arkansas +20.5 - but at least two Razorbacks fans knew this one was going to be the college football equivalent of a sewer main break. I just wish my brother and I had been wrong.
From our Google chat a few hours before the game:
me: I hope you put $1,000 on Alabama to cover when you were in Vegas this week. [Note: In my family this would constitute a preposterous amount of money to bet.]
Dane: Yeah, I saw some places only giving 14 points while I was there. I knew it was a good bet but it would have been blood money. The spread is still only 20, which I think is crazy. They're going to kill us.
me: Let's predict our own over/under and final spread.
(The line with Tyler Wilson was 51 o/u.)
I say Alabama wins 40-something to something-teen.
I'm saying the over/under is 60, with a spread of 26.
Dane: I'm thinking Bama 55, Hogs 10.
Dane: We will not be able to move the ball worth a shit.
me: Outscored by 10 points per quarter.
Yeah, but good special teams ...
It's going to be a fucking bloodbath.
Dane: I know. I posted on FB yesterday about the '05 '06 USC blowouts. This could be just as bad.
The two implosions of which he speaks were disasters for the Razorbacks, who unfortunately scheduled Southern Cal near its Carrollian apotheosis. In 2005 the Trojans hoisted a middling Arkansas team 70-17 and in 2006, at a game I actually paid to attend, they whomped a solid but McFaddenless Arkansas team 50-14 in Fayetteville.
As hometown-deluded as this sounds, that game felt much closer than a 36-point loss. And sure enough, the Hogs bounced back to win 10 straight games. This year, though, Arkansas has looked lost and, worse, borderline gutless in all three of its games, with only a win over Jacksonville State to show for its season so far. The overtime loss to Louisiana-MONroe was grisly, but this 52-0 smearing marks the first time Arkansas has been shut out in Fayetteville in nearly 50 years. In the booth today Gary Danielson said of the Razorbacks, "I hate to say it, but they may have to start over." It was the CBS color announcer version of "Oh! The humanity!" They can start, maybe by getting Wilson healthy and back on the field. Tweets just after the game reported that Tyler Wilson flatly called out his teammates as quitters. Sounds about right.
The only question there is left to answer, as John L. Smith spends the rest of the autumn tinkering with the fonts on his resume, is: When a coach's contract spans its life of 10 months and not a heartbeat longer, will there even have been such thing as a John L. Smith "era," strictly speaking?