It was the beginning of another season of college football. My beloved Razorbacks won their opener, which was expected. The news out of Mississippi was a little less cheerful however. I know that there are a lot of Arkansas fans who find glee in this loss by Houston Nutt. I admit that I laughed when it happened, if only because it wasn’t happening to the Razorbacks this time. It isn’t that I have ill will for Nutt, but the pattern of how Saturday’s loss happened is familiar to anyone who followed his tenure at Arkansas as well. I saw a succinct description of the malady in an article posted about the game. You can read the whole thing here, but the “money quote” is this:
The game did not turn for the Rebels on Saturday when the Gamecocks started to believe they could win; it turned when Nutt believed that he already had.
Conservative play calling on both sides of the ball to start the second half had the Ole Miss team playing on its heels. All Jacksonville State had to do was keep pushing it over.
Nutt is actually a pretty good coach overall. There are increasing questions about his ethics, which I find disturbing, and he certainly had a few of those types of issues at Arkansas as well (with player integrity and such). In any case, the upset loss provided a couple of interesting ironies as well.
The coach at Jacksonville State was a former coach of Arkansas as well, Jack Crowe. I was in the stands, as a member of the Razorback Marching Band, the day that the Razorbacks, under Crowe, lost to the Citadel on opening day; resulting in the firing of coach Crowe. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and while Nutt won’t lose his job over this loss, it will certainly cast a pall over the entire season. I thought that was crazy enough, but my memory has been refreshed by another column about the strange connections in yesterday’s Ole Miss defeat. It turns out that Houston Nutt was a member of Jack Crowe’s coaching staff for that upset loss to the Citadel. Life is a funny thing indeed.
I honestly don’t know what to make of Nutt anymore. He was a likable enough guy when he was in Arkansas and at first I was pulling for him to do well at Ole Miss (except against Arkansas of course), but I don’t really feel that way anymore. His character isn’t what I thought it was, and those coaching “quirks” that seemed to be an occasional fluke keep turning out to be regular occurrences instead.