Panic is a sudden sensation of fear so strong as to prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming anxiety and frantic agitation. Sound familiar, Arkansas and Auburn fans?
In just the third week of the season, widespread panic has enveloped these SEC Western Division schools amidst fears of football futility. Staring down the barrel of potentially disastrous seasons, there's trouble in Hogland and on the Plains. Panic has set in for good reason.
Last Saturday, Arkansas blew a 28-7 lead and lost at home to the mighty War Hawks of Louisiana-Monroe (pronounced "MUN-roe" by the locals; believe me, I know). Arky plummeted in the polls and is unranked after enjoying a lofty No. 8 AP poll spot this time last week.
To pour salt on an embarrassing wound, the Pigs' star quarterback Tyler Wilson suffered a head injury against ULM and is questionable this week. It gets worse. Who does Arkansas face this Saturday? That'd be Alabama - not quite the tonic to remedy a panic attack. "Where are you, Bobby Petrino?" ask panicked Arkansas fans.
They are not alone. Listen closely and you'll hear frenzied, desperate cries emanating from Auburn, Ala. Auburn is 0-2 with dim prospects for improvement. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier looks lost, Auburn's defense looks inept, and head coach Gene Chizik, just two years removed from a BCS title, is quickly expending capital earned from that national championship. You know what happens when capital depletes rapidly: panic ensues. But hey, at least the Tigers get a rent-a-win this week as Louisiana-Monroe comes to town. Oh, wait... Time will tell how Arkansas and Auburn handle their panic attacks and a few classic films provide guidance here. Michael Douglas was calm and collected after barely missing breakfast service at Whammy Burger in 1993's "Falling Down." "I don't want to be your buddy, Rick. I just want some breakfast." Steve Martin was frenetic as shots rang out at the gas station in 1979's "The Jerk." "The cans! He hates the cans!" An all-out, uncontrollable panic would place Arkansas and Auburn in the same league as that aisle-seat passenger in 1980's "Airplane." "I've gotta get out of here!" Remember how bad she freaked out? Even the nun on the plane stood in line to set her straight.
Though the panic button has been hit in Fayetteville and Auburn, other SEC teams are brimming with confidence. Georgia's defense is playing lights out despite four suspended players and I'll go so far as to predict a win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday. For the first time in years, the Tennessee-Florida game actually matters. I'll take "nerd alert" Derek Dooley and his Tennessee team over Will "I should still be a coordinator" Muschamp in Neyland Stadium. Bama will obviously roll over Arkansas and LSU will win its scrimmage against Idaho. Finally, Steve Spurrier will win his 200th career game with a Sakerlina victory over UAB. Pretty impressive for the ol' ball coach.
In the meantime, far be it for me to poke fun at Arkansas' and Auburn's panic attacks. I've hit my own panic button. I'm at an airport Whammy Burger and they just stopped serving breakfast. I just saw Ted Striker from "Airplane" board my flight as the pilot. Surely, you can't be serious, you ask?
I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.
Ben Prevost can be reached at email@example.com or @secbanter.