Arkansas' Four Losses Comes To Top 10 Teams

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Not surprisingly, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt wasn't pleased with how the 2006 season ended. He wanted to go out with a victory in the Capital One Bowl.

But if it's any consolation, his team's four losses came against some of the nation's top teams -- including the nation's best in Florida.

The Associated Press released its final college football poll on Tuesday, and the Top 10 included all four teams that Arkansas lost to during its surprising 10-4 season -- No. 1 Florida, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Southern California and No. 7 Wisconsin.

"You look at the teams that beat us, and we were right there," Nutt said Tuesday.

Aside from a 50-14 loss to USC in the Sept. 2 season opener in Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Arkansas had chances to upset LSU, Florida and Wisconsin over the final month of the season.

But the Razorbacks came up short in their three final games, in large part because of breakdowns on special teams, a lack of consistency at quarterback and an inability to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

They lost 31-26 to LSU in the regular-season finale in War Memorial Stadium, 38-28 to Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game and 17-14 to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.

"It shows you how close you really are," Nutt said of the narrow defeats.

It appears that the AP voters took Arkansas' close losses into account when filling out their final ballots.

At No. 15, Arkansas is the highest-ranked four-loss team -- ahead of even two-loss Brigham Young (No. 16) and three-loss Notre Dame (No. 17). The next closest team with four losses is Oregon State at No. 21.

Arkansas' No. 15 finish is the team's highest season-ending ranking since 1989 when the Razorbacks ended the year No. 13 in the AP poll.

It's also the first time that Arkansas has been ranked at the end of the season since 1999, when the team finished No. 17 in Nutt's second season as coach.

"I was hoping that we wouldn't drop at all (in the polls)," Nutt said. "But I know you're going to drop when you don't win that last one."

Despite ending the season on a three-game losing streak, Nutt said he was impressed more with what his team accomplished this season after watching Monday's lopsided BCS national championship game.

Nutt thought it would be a close game, but he -- like others -- was surprised with how convincingly Florida was able to dominate previously unbeaten Ohio State in the 41-14 rout.

"After that, I was even prouder of our team," Nutt said.

In contrast, the Razorbacks hung with the Gators and even led 21-17 following a 40-yard interception return by defensive end Antwain Robinson at 8:33 remaining in the third quarter. But Florida pulled away to keep its improbable national championship run alive.

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