All things considered, the state of Arkansas is having a good football season.
There were several weeks last spring and summer when it looked like there might not be football because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NCAA canceled its cash cow, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and all other spring sports. And that was just the beginning of the virus. The NBA, Major League Baseball and NHL shutdown.
Most of the summer was spent debating the merits of trying to play football amid a pandemic.
Now here we are, and not only have the Arkansas Razorbacks played four games but they also have won two.
The SEC has 26 games under its belt with just two postponements. If someone had offered that to Commissioner Greg Sankey, he probably would have started the season on time.
One of the most amazing stories in college football is happening at Central Arkansas.
Its conference, the Southland, postponed football until the spring, following in the footsteps of the Big Ten and Pac-12.
Both of the Power 5 conferences were skeptical that the SEC, ACC and Big 12 could pull off a season. Then the bills kept coming in and there were no paydays.
It was too late for the Southland to do the about-face that the Big Ten and Pac-12 pulled off, but UCA Athletic Director Brad Teague already had performed a Houdini act to pull games out of his hat.
The Southland voted to let teams play if they wanted to, but there would be no conference games in the fall.
Today, UCA is 3-3 with four games to go.
UCA is in better financial shape because Teague scheduled some decent-paying road games, and more importantly he kept the season alive.
In Jonesboro, ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir faced a similar financial headache after the Michigan game was canceled, wiping out a $2 million guarantee for the Red Wolves.
He managed to get part of that back with a trip to Manhattan, Kan., a place no one visits without a really good reason.
The Red Wolves had lost their opener to Memphis 37-24 and were huge underdogs against Kansas State, who they beat 35-31 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
The next Monday, nine days after playing Memphis, the Red Wolves were hit with positives for the virus.
Home games with UCA and Tulsa were postponed before a hard loss to Coastal Carolina. The Red Wolves have rebounded with victories over UCA and Georgia State. After the 59-52 win over Georgia State, Coach Blake Anderson replaced his defensive coordinator.
In a way, the virus has been good exposure for the Red Wolves. Of their five games, four have been on some form of ESPN, and one was on Fox. Thursday’s game at Appalachian State is also on ESPN at 6:30 p.m.
The Red Wolves are a fun team to watch.
The overwhelming majority of coaches say a two-quarterback system won’t work. Anderson is proof it can if you have the right two quarterbacks.
Redshirt sophomore Layne Hatcher has completed 62 of 98 passes for 896 yards and 10 touchdowns with just 1 interception. Redshirt junior Logan Bonner has completed 76 of 119 passes for 938 yards and 11 touchdowns with 3 picks.
Looking back, there seems to be absolutely no good reason why the Arkansas Razorbacks didn’t recruit Hatcher out of Pulaski Academy.
The Red Wolves are 3-2 and on the radar of several bowls.
In a small state like Arkansas, to have three college teams not only playing but being competitive is impressive. But to have so few issues with the virus is amazing.
Of course, there are several weeks left. It won’t be a shock if the virus raises its head in Arkansas again.