ARKANSAS FOOTBALL: 2012 IN REVIEW

• Jan. 6 — Arkansas, with new defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, turns in a dominant defensive performance during a 29-17 win against Collin Klein and Kansas State in the 2012 Cotton Bowl. The Razorbacks tied the school record with 11 wins and finished ranked in the top five in The Associated Press poll for the first time since 1977.

• Jan. 10 — Running back Knile Davis confirms he will return to Arkansas after briefly considering the 2012 NFL Draft. Three days later, quarterback Tyler Wilson announces he will be back as well after giving the draft serious consideration. The decisions helped fuel Arkansas’ expectations as a preseason national championship contender.

• Jan. 15 — A fourth new assistant coach — Taver Johnson — was hired to complete Bobby Petrino’s staff. Johnson, who left his position at Ohio State to work with Haynes at Arkansas, was named assistant head coach/linebackers coach.

• April 1 — Petrino was hospitalized with multiple injuries from a motorcycle accident off of Highway 16 in Madison County in the rural community of Crosses. Petrino’s family issued a statement through Arkansas’ athletic department saying the coach

• April 3 — Petrino appears in public for the first time since the accident, holding a press conference on campus. He wore a neck brace and had visible abrasions on his face, but indicated his plans to return to work as soon as possible. Petrino, after being asked by a local television reporter afterward, indicated he was alone on the motorcycle.

• April 5 — The Arkansas State Police accident report revealed Petrino had a passenger on his motorcycle — 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, who had recently been hired as the program’s on-campus recruiting coordinator. Petrino admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with Dorrell and Long placed the coach on paid leave while he conducted a thorough review.

• April 10 — Long announces decision to fire Petrino for cause. It ends Petrino’s four-year run with the Razorbacks, who went 21-5 with Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl appearances during his final two seasons on the sideline. Assistant head coach Taver Johnson is placed in charge of the football program.

• April 24 — John L. Smith, who was in his first few months at Weber State, is named Arkansas’ coach. Smith left Arkansas a few months earlier for Weber State after working three seasons as an assistant. He agreed to a 10-month contract paying him $850,000.

• May 12 — Marquel Wade, Maudrecus Humphrey and Andrew Peterson were suspended indefinitely after being arrested for residential burglary after stealing items from dorm rooms. Smith eventually dismissed all three from the team for 2012. The three were among six Hogs arrested in the offseason, five on felony charges. Tackle Jason Peacock was the only one who remained with the team in 2012.

• July 4 — Smith tells the Associated Press he is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy because of soured land deals in Kentucky. Long said he was aware of Smith’s financial difficulties when he hired the coach and didn’t believe it would serve as a distraction.

• Sept. 6 — Smith formally files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Two weeks later, filed court documents show Smith claimed $25 million in liabilities. It is later amended to $40 million. Smith stresses, again, his financial difficulties would not distract the Hogs.

• Sept. 8 — Arkansas’ lengthy win streak in Little Rock ends with a 34-31 overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas, which lost Tyler Wilson to a concussion in the second quarter, led 28-7 before crumbling in one of the season’s biggest upsets.

• Sept. 29 – Arkansas suffers its fourth straight loss with a 58-10 beating against Texas A&M. The Razorbacks surrendered 716 yards and allowed another SEC opponent to top 50 points. Arkansas was outscored 110-10 in losses to Alabama and Texas A&M.

• Oct. 27 — The Razorbacks saw a two-game win streak end with a 30-27 loss to Ole Miss in Little Rock. The loss was a critical blow to bowl hopes, dropping Arkansas to 3-5. It also wrapped up the program’s first winless season in Little Rock since 1993.

• Nov. 23 — Arkansas suffers a 20-13 loss to LSU at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, putting the finishing touches on one of the most frustrating seasons in school history. The Razorbacks lost eight games for the first time since 1990.

• Nov. 24 — Long announces, officially, Smith will not return in 2013. Smith will remain employed by the school through February, at which time his 10-month contract expires. Long said assistant coaches will have opportunities to remain on staff depending on the program’s next head coach.

• Nov. 27 — LSU coach Les Miles’ flirtation with Arkansas becomes public. Two reports indicated Miles was mulling a five-year, $27.5 million offer from the Hogs. A source with knowledge of Arkansas’ search disputed the report, saying an offer had not been made. Miles announced a day later he would remain at LSU.

• Dec. 2 — Long reportedly meets with Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy to discuss the Arkansas vacancy. The coach also met with Tennessee about its opening, according to multiple reports. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, who was rumored to be among candidates considered by Arkansas, announces he will remain with the Commodores.

• Dec. 4 — Arkansas hires Bret Bielema as the program’s 32nd football coach. The 42-year-old leaves Madison after guiding Wisconsin to its third straight Big Ten Conference title and subsequent berth in the Rose Bowl.

• Dec. 12 — Davis confirms he will skip his final season of eligibility at Arkansas to enter the 2013 NFL Draft despite a disappointing season. One week later, Arkansas guard Alvin Bailey’s plans to enter the NFL Draft as a junior are revealed.

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau