There are different kinds of disasters in sports. Some are disasters that change the trajectories of programs. Some are disasters that unfold slowly and over time, but are easily enough reversed. And then there are the disasters that snatch away that dream season -- something that might not have a lasting effect on the team itself, but leaves fans always wondering what might have been.
Arkansas' 2012 season is one of those disasters. The Razorbacks ended the 2011 season on a high, winning the 2012 Cotton Bowl soundly and seemingly headed for another Top 5 season and the chance at a national title.
And then came Bobby Petrino's motorcycle ride, and the rest is history. John L. Smith was hired as the interim head coach, charmed everyone in the room at SEC Media Days, and promptly proceeded to do to Arkansas what Bobby Petrino had done to his bike. Instead of a dream season, Arkansas fans were trapped in a nightmare, and had no way out other than to watch a hapless team play out the string.
For their trouble, they will likely have to suffer through another difficult season or two before the transition from a Bobby Petrino-style offense to a Bret Bielema-style offense is complete. But, unlike the fans of a program like Kentucky, they can take comfort in knowing that their tragedy is less notable for its long-last effect and more notable for the short-term pain and the unanswered questions that will linger long after the program recovers.
It was a close race. It was decided in the end by 25 votes, or roughly 2 percent of the total. In a way, all the disasters presented were painful and notable enough for the fan bases that suffered through them. But in the eyes of our voters, the rough season that Arkansas fans are still recovering through was the most notable of them all.