I have a mantra that I try to live by: Always expect the worst, so that you’ll either be correct or pleasantly surprised.

Sometimes I forget about that phrase and instead get my hopes up, put all my eggs in one basket, sit back and just expect my favorite sports teams and people to do as well as the media says that they will.

Have you noticed that in the case of Arkansas, that just doesn’t seem to work out?

The Razorback baseball team ended their last season on a fairly high note — the Hogs earned a third-place finish in the College World Series, which is quite a feat, as the Hogs have only made seven appearances.

Those seven appearances put Arkansas in the top 10 teams who have made the most appearances in the CWS without actually earning a title.

That high note drifted over into the 2012-2013 season and landed the Hogs at No. 1 in preseason polls. At first, it felt as if we deserved to be ranked highly.

But a few weeks into the season after some struggles in nonconference games, it felt like a No. 1 ranking might have brought the Hogs more pressure than confidence.

A bout in Arizona shot the Hogs right down to No. 19. That’s not where the supposed No. 1 team should be, though, should it?

Slowly but steadily the Hogs have been crawling back to where everyone thought they should be, and if the trend continues, the Hogs may still have a chance at going for the CWS title again.

I’m not sure why I even dare mention the 2012 Razorback football season, but the Hogs fit the bill in that category too.

The Razorbacks were meant for glory that season, they really were, but unfortunate circumstances wreaked havoc on the team.

At No. 10 going into the first game of the season — a whopping win over Jacksonville State, 49-24 — it started to look like a new coach would not be a problem for the Hogs.

Out spilled all the eggs in that one basket and suddenly, following an overtime loss to ULM, the Hogs dropped out of the rankings, never to be heard from again.

Why does the nation put so much faith in the rankings? The more I watch Arkansas start off so well and then plummet to their rankings death, the less I trust our high rankings.

As so many coaches say, the rankings are nothing but numbers on a paper that show what is expected of them. The numbers don’t prove how skilled — or unskilled, in these cases — a team might really be.

Tamzen Tumlison is a writer for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every other Wednesday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.

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