UA
Petrino

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Bobby Petrino has never shied away from talk of winning a national championship at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks coach believes the Southeastern Conference provides the perfect springboard for winning a title. It’s a belief backed by the last five BCS national champions, all of them from the SEC.

Petrino, speaking at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, was asked what Arkansas’ blueprint is for winning the school’s first national title since 1964. The coach looked around the room, saw a group of friendly faces and had a little bit of fun.

And he did so at the Big Ten’s expense -- to the roaring approval of the estimated audience of 700.

“We need to get to Atlanta and win the SEC championship game,” Petrino said. “And then history shows that you go to a national championship game and draw one of those slow schools from the north and you beat them.”

The SEC’s national title streak includes two wins against Big Ten member Ohio State, which lost to Florida in 2007 and LSU a year later.

The Buckeyes were 0-9 against the SEC in bowl games prior to last year’s Sugar Bowl. Ohio State, which was making its sixth-consecutive BCS bowl game appearance, finally broke through against the SEC with a 31-26 win against Arkansas and Petrino.

The Buckeyes led 28-7 late in the first half before holding off a second-half rally by the Razorbacks. Petrino lamented that slow start when he was asked what lesson he learned from the school’s first BCS bowl appearance.

“I felt like we were really ready to play that game,” Petrino said. “I thought we did a good job in our preparation and practices.

“And we went out in the first half and you could swear we were sleeping for a week.”

Petrino praised Arkansas’ players for showing “toughness and character” in the second half. He also said he would reconsider the Razorbacks’ preparation and schedule prior to a bowl game this season.