Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher sat on a set in Birmingham, Ala. talking to Paul Finebaum as the news broke. Texas and Oklahoma were done in the Big 12 and wanted the Southeastern Conference respect next to their name.
Fisher, who led the former Big 12 Aggies to a 9-1 record in 2020, knows how long it takes to win in the conference. A&M's highlight win against then-No. 1 Alabama happened back in 2012.
Since then, they've meshed into the second-tier of teams of SEC play.
"Be careful what you wish for," Fisher told Finebaum in July.
You got your wish, Texas. It was a nightmare.
Steve Sarkisian has up to four more years to figure things out before games like these are a constant. Good. The team needs it.
The Longhorns and Sooners are expected to join the SEC in July of 2025, but maybe they should wait.
Until what, 2030? Maybe 2035? How about whenever the defense can hold a low-ranked SEC program to under 300 yards of offense.
Better yet, how about under 300 yards rushing?
Arkansas trusted its run game and finished with 333 yards on the way to a 40-21 victory in Fayetteville.
“Over time, they wore us out,” Sarkisian said of Arkansas’ dominant rushing attack. “So our defense was on the field to the point where (it) kind of wore out.
The Longhorns (1-1) had zero answers. Four different running backs scored on the ground — two of which were for runs over 20 yards. Every player averaged at least 7.3 yards per run, and Hogs converted 21 first downs on the evening.
Quarterback KJ Jefferson didn't throw a touchdown. He didn't have to, either thanks to the game plan by Arkansas' offensive coordinator Kendall Briles. Throw it short, pick up the first on the ground, make a run instead of forcing a throw.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Why not? It's working after all?
"He extended plays," defensive tackle Keondre Coburn said of Jefferson. "If he didn't have his first read throwing the ball, he would run it. And when running, he was keeping his feet up. He was going to get them yards, and he was doing that tonight."
Little things could have helped Texas at least look ready for the competition come Saturdays down south. A dropped pass from Jordan Whittington could have ended in a touchdown. A better snap to Cameron Dicker could have saved a punt from being basically intercepted.
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Hudson Card's struggles were a different story. Then again, the offensive line deserves some blame as well. Both Bijan Robinson and Card were mobile enough to make Louisiana dance in the open field.
What open field was found in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium? Robinson's longest run was a 20-yard play in the first quarter. He averaged 3.9 the remainder of the night. Card averaged 1.6.
"It was kind of hard for us to execute on the plays that we ran," Robinson said. "I feel that we need some of these games to understand what we have to learn from it."
Texas has been working to come "back" since 2009. In Pasadena, Calif., Mack Brown and Colt McCoy watched Alabama and Nick Saban pick up its 12th national title on the way to a start of a dynasty.
Texas will soon face them on a yearly basis...and Auburn...and Texas A&M....and insert team here across the spectrum. Performances like that make it feel as if it'll be coin flip every Saturday come 2025.
This wasn't a pitiful performance against the almighty Saban and Co. This was against a 3-7 Arkansas roster that hasn't finished above .500 since 2014.
"All Gas, No Breaks" was Sarkisian's motto during his time at Alabama. The brakes were slammed on Saturday night. They had to be to keep Texas in the game.
“This was not a performance we were anticipating,” Sarkisian said, “but I think this one game is not going to define us. It wasn’t so much what they did as much as what we didn’t do.”
As fans rushed the field, Sam Pittman smiled. Arkansas finally has the coach who has the state buying in. They should, at least, since it's the biggest win in five years — maybe even longer.
The small town of Northwest Arkansas was rocking. It felt like the Hogs had just won the national championship, and in their own way, they did.
But again, this is just a normal Saturday night in SEC Country. Every town in the conference is like that.
Welcome to the SEC, Texas. You're not ready for it.
Not even close.
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