"Almost is hard to measure because almost don't matter." — John Dutton, Yellowstone Ranch
Sam Pittman knows where Arkansas is in the pecking order in the SEC West standings. Texas A&M's win over Alabama on Saturday night pretty much made the Razorbacks' loss in Oxford a wash.
Hog fans spend too much time worrying about what "might have been" instead of what "could be."
Going into Week 7 of the season, the Hogs control their own destiny. The path is there for a 10-win season, something that hasn't been done in a decade.
Of course the same problem is there. Winning 10 games in the West can still land you in third place, but it does set up a better bowl trip and not too many folks were considering that a possibility in August.
"There’s a lot of pressure," Pittman said at his Monday press conference. "Once you start out like we did, the fan base starts getting excited that you can go beat the Green Bay Packers.
"With that comes a lot of responsibility."
And expectations. Hogs fans now expect wins over just about everybody below the level of Georgia and Alabama this year.
Even that could be changing with the Aggies' win, but the guess is Nick Saban knows two wins brings out the lunatic fringe of Crimson Tide fans that want to fire him. He won't be, of course.
"I would much rather have it that way," Pittman said.
He also is well aware of the added pressure that comes with those expectations.
"There’s a lot of pressure that comes with success,” Pittman said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of pressure that comes with losing, too. I don’t really want to get used to that part of the pressure."
Nobody has thought to mention how having a big season demands another similar year. Once fans get those wins they don't want to go back to being in the middle of the pack.
As Saban and every other successful coach has said for decades, the hard part is not building a winning team, it's staying there year after year.
For now, though, Pittman likes where the Hogs are.
"We have to get better," he said Monday. "I have to do a better job, and once I do that it’ll trickle down. I’m proud of where we’re sitting at this point, and I’d probably be lying to you if I told you anything else."
We'll get more answers Saturday.
The Hogs have beaten Auburn three times in the last 10 seasons, only once in the last eight.
But it's often been a measuring stick for a season. Beating the Tigers usually means a pretty good record (okay, there's 2012 that is the exception proving the rule).
We'll have more clues about this team by Saturday afternoon.
Kickoff for the Auburn game is 11 a.m. and will be televised on CBS.
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