Thanks for sticking with us during (what we hope is) the most painful week of the year. The Alabama loss has been tough to shake, and it showed this week. Thankfully the Hogs get on the field quickly on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for just after 11:00am CDT from Jerry World (aka Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas. Adam will be in attendance this weekend, so be sure to get back here on Monday for a full breakdown from the stands (Adam) and the couch (Brett).
Let’s wrap up the week with a look at some of our more popular stories from the week. As always, we’re very grateful you choose to spend time with us. Please tell your friends and visit our sponsors. We love doing this and are very pleased that at least a few folks seems to enjoy what we do.
This week’s One for the Road takes us back to Alabama, but not to again suffer the indignity of the Tide’s ass-whuppin from last Saturday. We turn to Clay Travis with outkickthecoverage.com who takes a look at an Alabama traffic stop that leads to several unanswered questions. I’ll let Travis explain.
On August 28th, 2011 Alabama running back Trent Richardson was pulled over for speeding in Chilton County, Alabama. The Crimson Tide star was going 85 in a 70 and the officer noted that he blamed the “large rims” on his vehicle for the speeding violation. What was the vehicle? A 2011 GMC Yukon which retails for in the neighborhood of $40,000 even without the added expense of new rims. Raise your hand if it makes sense that an ”unemployed” athlete at Alabama with two children, no job, and a non-wealthy family could afford a brand new SUV. Put your hands down Alabama fans. Trent Richardson could be flying in his own private jet and you’d talk about how it’s perfectly reasonable for him to avoid traffic this way.
For the rest of us Richardson driving a brand new SUV raises an awful lot of questions.
Travis asks some legitimate questions and makes us all reconsider our positions on paying “student athletes” for their work on the field. He also ends with a hilarious list of responses to his work from Bama Fan. Like most rational people, Travis does love to poke a stick at the most ridiculous fans on the planet.
Line: Arkansas (+2.5) vs. Texas A&M – (game played in Arlington, TX)
Kickoff: 11:00am CDT (Televised nationally on ESPN with Dave Pasch on PBP, Chris Speilman & Urban Meyer providing color analysis, and Shelley Smith on the sideline)
Weather: Game Played Indoors (Outside: Expected high of 83-degrees with mostly sunny skies)
Streaks: Arkansas has won the first two meetings between these clubs in the Southwest Classic.
This could easily be dubbed the Hangover Bowl, brought you by Excedrin & Gatorade. Both teams are coming off different but equally devastating losses in marquee matchups last weekend. We all know about the Hogs destruction in Tuscaloosa at the hands of Alabama. While the Razorbacks were getting pantsed on national television, the Aggies were suffering a humiliation all their own on ABC’s regional coverage. Up by 17 points at halftime, Texas A&M failed to put away Oklahoma State ultimately falling 30-29 at Kyle Field.
Now both teams have to find their ways to Arlington, Texas, and hope to rebuild their egos after losses that derailed any hopes of national championships for either team.
It seems most folks have pointed towards the intangibles this week. Who can rally quickest? Which team shook off the defeat and “wants it” more? Can Arkansas defend the honor of the SEC against the conference’s newest member? Is Texas A&M ready to show the world it can compete in their new conference home?
I think that’s all nonsense. Those factors may affect players in their preparation, but when the whistle is blown and the ball is in the air, it’s all about which of these teams is able to establish the run, stop the other team from running, and make big plays. In the end, it’s just another football game.
Why Arkansas should win: Head coach Bobby Petrino brings an NFL mentality to Arkansas, meaning that he expects his team to forget losses and get ready for the next week. His players know that, which is why they called a players-only meeting on Sunday. Egos need to be checked at the door because starting jobs are on the line. It’s been a solid week of practice in Fayetteville, and reports have this team ready to go.
On the field, how can you not love Tyler Wilson right now? The redshirt junior took a huge beating in Alabama and hung in there until coaches forced him from the game in the fourth quarter. Despite throwing a game-changing interception (upon reviewing the film, it looks like Greg Childs shoulders a lot of blame on that play), Wilson earned enormous respect from his teammates and coaches. The offensive line couldn’t block a box turtle, but Wilson managed to complete 22 of 35 passes for 185 yards and two scores. With no run defense and no legitimate chances to throw the ball downfield, Wilson’s numbers look far better than they do upon first glance. A team needs a leader like that for a game like this.
The biggest reason for optimism, though, is this: The Aggies aint the Crimson Tide. Texas A&M does have a solid run defense, but the stats are a bit misleading. The Aggies give up a staggeringly low 60.3 yards/game (6th in the nation) and 1.9 yards/carry (4th in the nation). Those are Bama numbers. But remember this: Oklahoma State played behind most of the game, attempting twice as many passes and rushes. In their other two games, Texas A&M raced out to big leads forcing Idaho and SMU to put the ball in the air rather than run.
Through the air, the Aggies give up 279 passing yards each game. That ranks 100th in the nation. Those are not Bama numbers.
Given Bobby Petrino’s and Garrick McGee’s abilities to magnify their opponents’ defensive weaknesses, I like the odds of Arkansas attacking the Texas A&M defensive soft spot. Petrino has proven that he will pass the ball if the rush isn’t working, meaning more opportunities for Joe Adams and Jarius Wright to get the ball in space and Cobi Hamilton to stretch the field.
On the defensive side of the ball, Arkansas played damn well last week considering they played without Tank Wright and Jake Bequette. While Wright is definitely out and Bequette does not look likely to play a lot – if at all – this weekend, coaches have been able to adjust their plans accordingly. Alabama did not score in the fourth quarter, despite the fact starters Trent Richardson and A.J. McCarron played until the final Bama series of the game. This defense is still quite good, even if they are a bit thin on experience at the defensive end position.
If the Arkansas defense plays up to its talent level and the offensive line gives Tyler Wilson time to throw downfield, the Hogs will be back on track, and on their way to a BCS opportunity.
Why Texas A&M should win: The Aggie defense is really good. You can play with numbers all you want, but the truth is that the Wrecking Crew may be making a comeback in College Station. Sean Porter is a legit pass rusher, leading a defense that tops the country with 4.7 sacks/game. Head coach
#10 Sean Porter
Mike Sherman wants his Aggie defenders to pin their ears back and meet in the offensive backfield, and that’s exactly what they do. Even in their loss to Oklahoma State, the defense was good enough to win for Texas A&M in the first half. They allowed only 170 yards from scrimmage and just 3 points. OSU made adjustments to win in the second half, but I fully expect the Aggies to make their own adjustments and be much better this weekend.
Offensively, this is a completely different team than Arkansas faced last year. Ryan Tannehill is a difference maker as a dual-threat quarterback. If Arkansas continues to struggle reaching the quarterback with its own pass rush, Tannehill could have a field day. The Dan Patrick Show’s Andrew Perloff reports that at least one NFL evaluator likes Tannehill as the second QB off the board in the April draft after Andrew Luck. The guy is legit.
Cyrus Gray and Chrsitne Michael provide an SEC-caliber 1-2 punch at the running back position, and Ryan Swope will almost certainly have a long career in the NFL. When all facets are working together, the Aggie offense is as explosive as any we’ve ever seen out of College Station. The Arkansas defense is vastly improved over the past 3 seasons, but they will be tested on every snap tomorrow.
If the Aggies can find balance offensively and get to the quarterback on defense, the Aggies will win this game by two touchdowns.
And the Winner Is…
I don’t know that we’ll find a more difficult game to predict this year. Both teams provide tremendous question marks based on their dismal performance last week. Arkansas looked outgunned and out-talented at Alabama, while Texas A&M collapsed in the second half and showed no killer instinct. Both have scads of talent, yet both look uncomfortable dealing with high expectations.
For three years running I’ve had a bad feeling about this game, and the first two years it proved to be nothing more than five days of anxiety. Because of that I’ve asked Adam to pick the winner this week. (If it were up to me and my pessimism this week, I’d probably say Aggies 37, Hogs 24 – and feel like I gave Arkansas too much credit.) Adam is a bit more clear-headed this week, so I prefer trusting his judgment.
Expect a back-and-forth game in the first half as both squads get their legs back. The early start will also contribute to particularly sloppy play in the first quarter. Much like 2009, though, the key will be a defensive touchdown for Arkansas. After the Hogs stop an Aggie drive by forcing that turnover, Tannehill will overcompensate and throw an interception – this time deep in Aggie territory.
Meanwhile Tyler Wilson will put up an efficient 350 yards passing despite continued struggles on the ground for the Hogs. Ronnie Wingo and Dennis Johnson will combine for just 118 yards on the ground, but it will be enough to keep the heat of Wilson. I expect a solid game from Tannehill outside of the gaffe, and Cyrus Gray will end up with 153 yards on the ground with a TD – and a critical fumble that leads directly to Razorback points. It’ll be an exciting and ugly game that ultimately ends with a Razorback win. Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 28
Since I get this question about twice a day, I want to use this venue to clarify… WHAT HAPPENED TO JON AND DEEK?
So long boys. We'll always have Paris...
As reported here in January, Jon Williams and Derek “Deek” Kastner reunited on a new morning show through a partnership with Vertical Magazine. The show aired on two stations in NWA and in Ft. Smith. The partnership with Vertical dissolved over the summer and Jon and Deek were off the air. They tried to get back on various stations but as is typical in broadcasting, a no-compete clause prevented them from doing so.
Derek has this pesky need to get paid and provide for his family so he took a job on a rock station in Tulsa. After only one week, The Edge blew out their morning show and put him in the coveted morning drive slot.
Jon, meanwhile, decided to maintain ownership of his show and is now broadcasting on New Rock 104.9 the X. To keep his long-time fans happy, Jon resurrected two of the contests that helped make his name in Northwest Arkansas, You Can’t Win This and Dead Guy in the Envelope. The prevalence of the internet has shifted the former into “You MIGHT Win This” but either way, X listeners seem to be enjoying the ride. And Jon is enjoying playing music that was released after 1989. The next question is… will Zach Arns return to make an appearance?
I must be a twit, because I now love to fake Tweet on fake Twitter. I bet NO ONE has EVER used twit, Tweet and Twitter like that. #originalityisintheeyeofthebeholder.
The only rules for the BlogHawgs Twitter Style CFB preview are that the fake user names can’t be longer than 15 characters (but may or may not be registered, already), Tweets cannot exceed 140 characters, and I have to end each tweet with a smartazz (that’s for BK–he LOVES Zs in place of Ss) hash tag. Here we go:
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: @kneeJerks: Hog fans’ reaction to Bama loss was as pathetic as the Razorback performance. UA bounces back. #dontrationrationality.
That rumbling you hear is the sound of 300,000 people going through a mid-life crisis in and around Fayetteville this weekend. It’s BB&BBQ time again. The big names in town at the AMP for BB&BBQ this year are Candlebox (last night) and Jamey Johnson tonight. Oh… and no dogs allowed.
Fayetteville has to renew a one cent sales tax this year. You know it is important if the two traditionally conservative aldermen are supporting it.
A 51-year old woman turned herself in this week after the city worker that she hit on Joyce Blvd died as a result of his injuries. She was charged with driving under the influenceof prescription drugs.
What?! A new restaurant where parking is SOOOO Hard to find? Weird. (Picture stolen from FayettevilleFlyer.com)
Several new restaurantshave opened in Fayetteville. One of which occupies the space that Kosmos left. Wow. I guess maybe parkingisn’t that bad after all, huh?
Uncle Gaylord’s has closed. The owner died quite a while ago so this isn’t really news. The news is what his former building is now going to be. Enter the Dragon…
Jones TV is turning out the lights. The award-winning, not-for-profit station started by the Jones family trust had become too expensive for the trust to continue.