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O Me of Little Faith: Arkansas 71, Seton Hall 62

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Marshawn Powell #33 of the Arkansas Razorbacks shoots against the Seton Hall Pirates.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Andy Lyons – Getty Images

Marshawn Powell #33 of the Arkansas Razorbacks shoots against the Seton Hall Pirates. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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I will admit it: When Arkansas found itself down 51 to 50 after leading by as many as 17 in the first half and by a dozen at intermission, I was convinced the Hogs were going to lose. Most of the second half was as ugly as all get out, but I think the Hogs showed something by gathering themselves to walk away with a nine-point victory.

The hero of the night was undoubtedly Delvon Johnson, who had 10 points, 12 rebounds and 8(!) blocked shots. It’s early yet, but I don’t know that I’ve seen a Hog player improve so dramatically since Nicky Davis seemingly came out of nowhere to become a rebounding and defensive machine in his senior season of 1998. Kudos to Delvon.

Julysses Nobles also deserves a special mention, as he finished with 19 points and really helped the Hogs build their big first-half lead.

The Hogs look pretty rough at times and halfway decent at times. All in all, about what I expected so far. They seem to have a good spirit about them, and the season is early yet. Here’s hoping some good times are in store during the rest of the year.

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Petrino Makes Chris Low’s Short List of Candidates to Replace Urban Meyer

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ESPN.com’s SEC blogger has consulted his tea leaves, or perhaps a few sources actually in the know (it isn’t entirely clear from his post what he’s basing this on), and says that Bobby Petrino is on Florida’s short list of candidates to replace Urban Meyer.

Says Low:

In his third season at Arkansas, he has the Hogs in a BCS bowl game for the first time in school history. He’s one of the top offensive minds in the game and was on Foley’s radar when Meyer was hired back in 2005. Giving Petrino the keys to Florida’s recruiting machine could be scary for the rest of the SEC. He does have a sizeable buyout, more than $3 million if he leaves before the end of this year. 

Hopefully Hog fans will be able to not go completely insane in the days ahead. We have our doubts though. In fact, we just obtained footage of one frequent message boarder reacting to Low’s report:

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Urban Meyer Steps Down (Again)

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Urban Meyer Steps Down (Again)

I love December traditions – Christmas decorations, family visits, letters to Santa and Urban Meyer’s annual resignation from the University of Florida.

Jokes aside, the coaching carousel is about to start spinning a LOT faster. Fasten your seatbelts!

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Time for Some Arkansas Bowl Trivia

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If I should ever get on Jeopardy and the category of Arkansas Bowl Trivia pops up on the screen, haha, like I am sure that is going to happen, I think I would run through it rather successfully given how much time I’ve spent thinking about this subject, its dark record of failure, its bright few moments of glory.  Unfortunately, I could say, “What is a loss, Alex?” more than a few times. But today I want to concentrate on wins. Gotta start that positive mojo going for the Sugar Bowl. So take a look at this trivia question, think about it, vote your best guess, and then look in the comment section for the answer.

Poll
Which conference does Arkansas have the most bowl wins against? Count the conference that the team was in when the Hogs played them.




  5 votes | Results

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Laughter Is the Best Revenge

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With the Hogs merrily on their way to their first BCS bowl appearance, it is pretty hilarious (and pretty satisfying) to review this clip of ESPN windbags hyperventilating about Bobby Petrino in the immediate aftermath of his admittedly, ahem, messy departure from Atlanta.

I vote Sean Salisbury’s comments as the most insufferable. Those who live in glass houses

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2010 All-SEC Team Announced

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The AP’s 2010 All-SEC team was announced earlier today, and congrats are in order to Knile Davis, D.J. Williams and DeMarcus Love for making the 1st team (D.J. was one of five players to be chosen unanimously), and to Ryan Mallett, Tramain Thomas and Catholic High’s Jake Bequette for making the 2nd unit.

If anyone had placed a decently-sized bet in Vegas on Davis being an all-conference RB before the season started (or after the Alabama game) they’re probably shopping for yachts or property in the Carribbean right about now. Davis’ rise from sporadically used platoon back to all-conference monster (over highly touted competitors such as Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson) has been one of the best parts of the entire season…very nice to see him get the recognition he deserves.

As for snubs, it’s hard to argue against any of the WRs that were chosen, but it’s a little unfortunate that we couldn’t combine our four top guys into one mighty candidate…as it is now, Childs, Adams, Wright and Hamilton are all so good they end up cannibalizing each other’s award chances. It’s a nice problem to have.

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Who is going to chant "SEC! SEC!" in the bowl games?

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So the bowl season is set. All 500 of the games! haha. Well, 35 to be exact. But I am going to walk us through just the ten bowls that have an SEC connection with my gut reaction about the matchup and the SEC’s chances in each bowl game for a victory. After each prediction,I put my level of confidence in my pick on a one to five scale with five being a feeling of metaphysical certitude and one being a Woody Allen level of self-confidence. We’ll go through this chronologically.  

MUSIC CITY BOWL: Tennessee (6-6) vs. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  (7-5) (Dec. 30th): Couldn’t they just move the bowl to Asheville, North Carolina, and meet in the middle? These are both halfway there teams based upon their records, the Vols more than UNC, which has that one additional win. Tennessee backed out of playing UNC for this upcoming season, so it interesting to see the bowl gods throw these two together anyway. The SEC normally doesn’t win this bowl, but my gut is saying they make it to 7-6 due to something good has to happen to the Tennessee program eventually, haha. And bowl games are largely about motivation, and I think Tennessee “wants it more” to use that tired cliche of sports talk. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 4

LIBERTY BOWL: Georgia (6-6) vs. Central Florida (10-3) (Dec 31st): One way to handle SEC East teams in bowl games is to judge them based upon their opponents’ geographical relation to SEC West teams. The closer the opponent is to an SEC West school, the more likely the SEC East team will lose. Central Florida is east of all the western teams, so Georgia has a chance here, haha. I think like last year (Independence Bowl) pride steps up for Georgia and they get a close win. But I think the Hogs took whatever good luck mojo was left for the SEC after last year’s Liberty Bowl escape. Georgia, it could be close. Bring a lot of pride! THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 2.5

PEACH BOWL (yeah, I know its current name): South Carolina (9-4) vs. Florida State (9-4) (Dec. 31st): I look forward to seeing Steve Spurrier face Florida State again, even if Bobby Bowden is no longer on the sidelines and is off trying to talk to “Peggy” about his credit card. I think round two in Atlanta is going to go better for the Gamecocks than round one. Florida State has no Cam Newton to ring their chicken necks in the Georgia Dome. South Carolina finishes off 2010 for the SEC with three bowl victories and gets the Gamecocks to ten wins for the season. Lattimore will have a much better game this go around, and Lord Alshon Jeffrey will colonize the FSU secondary. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 3

OUTBACK BOWL: Florida (7-5) vs. Penn. State (7-5) (January 1st): Meyer, the only SEC coach not to vote Auburn number one in the final poll  (had them at two) doesn’t deserve to hear the SEC chant at the end of this game. And I don’t think he will. Paterno knows a thing or two about going down to the state of Florida and winning bowl games, and I doubt Florida finds an offense between now and 2011. Make it Penn. State 8-5 when this done. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 4.5

CITRUS BOWL (yeah, I know its corporate name): Alabama (9-3) vs. Michigan State (11-1) (January 1st): How would we feel if Arkansas had gone 11-1, best season in recent memory, and still didn’t make the BCS? Rather pissed. And that is what I feel like Michigan State will come to play with, a pissed off attitude, and they’ll give Bama all they want, maybe even a fake field goal. But at the end of the day, Michigan State is a program that lives under a black cloud of Murphy’s Law, and I think some epic goof will take place on their part and Bama secures a narrow victory. The confidence isn’t very high due to memories of Alabama vs. Utah two years ago.  Bama could come out flat as a pancake. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 2 

GATOR BOWL: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Michigan (7-5) (January 1st): With Michigan’s defense, you have to think the Cowbellers are going to score in this game and score plenty. But so will Denard Robinson! The players on each team certainly want this win, but the factor here is how much does each coaching staff need this win? Michigan and Rich Rod need it way, way more than Mullen and his staff, the princes of Starkville for an 8-4 record and a Florida bowl, their first since WWII. Though I hate to say it, I think the Cowbellers leave Jacksonville with a loss in this one. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 3

SUGAR BOWL: Arkansas (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1) (January 4th): First off, I just hate that this bowl isn’t on January the 1st. I am pleased that the Hogs have sold out their allotment of tickets, but the 4th is not a good day for people who work and have kids in school. A Tuesday night? Anyway, I’ll start by saying I am nervous as hell about this game. Both programs have no lack of motivation. OSU looks to beat an SEC team in a bowl game for the first time and get that monkey off their back. The Hogs look to raise their level of college football street cred to a much higher level by going 11-2 and finishing possibly in the top five while beating a Big Ten team in a bowl game for the first time (thanks a lot, Houston!). Right now I am giving the edge to the Hogs based upon these factors. The Hogs have played a tougher schedule, having beaten three teams in the top 25 and five bowl teams. Their enemies have better prepared them than Ohio State’s enemies. If it is a tight game, the Hogs have the experience and confidence from having been in those type of games, MSU and Georgia. Though the Hogs have been gashed at times by the mobile quarterbacks they’ve faced, they do have the experience of facing that type of attack, so nothing new there. The Hogs have Bobby Petrino, who has coached a BCS game before with success. Tressel, of course, has coached in more of them, but also knows how to fail in them. I like that the game is inside a dome unlike the cold of the Liberty Bowl, so weather doesn’t act as an advantage for Ohio State, and Mallett won’t face any wind factors. Finally, I think our fans will be louder than the Buckeyes’s faithful and will have the dome rockin’ when the Hogs are out there on defense. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 1.5  (It would be higher if I didn’t know so well Arkansas’s history in bowl games and the Sugar Bowl in particular.)

COTTON BOWL: LSU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (9-3) (January 7th): How strange is it going to be to watch the Cotton Bowl on a Friday night? Friday Night Lights, Jerry Jones style, I guess. The Aggies got hot not too long after their game with the Hogs in Arlington. They changed quarterbacks, and that seems to have made a big difference in their overall play. This is a hard one to get a feel for. I could change my mind after more reflection, but right now I think the LSU defense (still a great defense)  finds a way to shutdown the A&M offense just enough for Jordan Jefferson and Jared Lee to get the job done. Besides, the Aggies don’t have very much of a winning tradition right now in Jerry World, thanks to us. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 3

BBVA COMPASS BOWL: Kentucky (6-6) vs. Pitt (7-5) (January 8th): I don’t even know what BBVA Compass is??? Anyway, Kentucky got their 5th bowl in a row, but the Wildcats, I believe, are playing a basketball game that day, so don’t expect much blue in the stands! These two teams are just the opposites in conference records. Kentucky couldn’t hang with the SEC and went 2-6, but Pitt could hang with the Big East and went 5-2. But is hanging with the Big East saying much? haha. South Carolina lost here last year to a Big East team. I say Kentucky gives us the black eye here again with a loss in the heart of SEC country, Birmingham. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 2.5

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Auburn (13-0) vs. Oregon (12-0) (January 10th): Just too much has been going Auburn’s way, from tight games to the NCAA going all soft on them to the hail mary just before the half, so I think the storybook is due for a ripped page for its ending. And the Ducks, I believe, will rip right through that suspect Auburn defense. Yes, many, many points will be scored. And it will come down to the team that has the ball last, which will be Oregon. And Auburn will just not be able to make the last stop, and Oregon wins its first national championshp. Cam Newton will have a hell of a game, but so will LaMicheal James and the Ducks’ offense. The four SEC teams that played in the championship game before Auburn had a stellar defense to count on. Auburn really doesn’t compare to those teams.  And I  think of the two teams, the one most in danger of over-confidence in their mindset is Auburn, and that will be something of a factor in this outcome. “Everything has gone our way. We are the SEC! The SEC always wins this game. Team of destiny, blah, blah, blah.” Hmm, those whom the gods destroy, they first make proud! I think the football gods have set Auburn up for a heartbreaking last second touchdown fall. THE CONFIDENCE SCALE: 3.5 (would be even higher if I knew for certain that Cecil Newton didn’t also make a deal with the devil at some Mississippi crossroads.)

My gut says the SEC goes 6-4 this season.

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The Hogs Are Heading for Sugar!

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When, several weeks ago, the scenarios required for Arkansas to make a BCS bowl began appearing, they seemed almost too far-fetched to invest much hope in: the Hogs had to beat three ranked teams (two of those games on the road), mighty Alabama had to lose twice and Auburn had to win out. And yet, here we are…heading to the Sugar Bowl to defend the SEC’s honor against perennial conference punching bag Ohio State.

Make no mistake about it – this is a huge step forward for the program. After years of fans fervently hoping for a breakthrough that would usher the Razorback into the top tier of the SEC, it’s finally happened. And, although nothing is certain, they seem poised to make a nice stay there: rather than hoping to occasionally play above their level and knock off a highly-ranked team, they now expect to win every game. Big victories are beginning to feel more like a tough team taking care of business than glorious, out-of-the-blue miracles.

We’ll have much more to say about all that (and the actual game against Ohio State) in the coming weeks, but for now let’s take a breath and savor how far we’ve come in just two years. Very, very impressive.

And, of course, none of this would have been possible without a big win today by our frenemies over at Auburn. Special thanks are due to Cam Newton, Gus Malzahn, Gene Chizik’s sideburns groomer, the mysterious booster who kindly donated the money to help rebuild Cecil Newton’s church, the NCAA compliance investigators and all the other Tigers out there who contributed.

Woo Pig Sooie!

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Rasputin Makes His SEC Championship Game Prediction. What’s Yours?

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predictions_crystal_ball_2

In anticipation of tomorrow’s SEC championship battle between South Carolina and Auburn, we asked Rasputin, our staff soothsayer and a seemingly ageless Russian immigrant, to offer his prediction for the game. Rasputin – who has been banned from numerous golf courses throughout the Southeast for drunkenly harassing the ‘Ol Ball Coach - has been a rabid Razorback football fan since the program’s debut in 1894.

His forecast is after the jump:

“A New Year’s trip to New Orleans – oh this I long to take,
In the land of voodoo and spirits, much merriment would I make!

But something must first happen in busy Atlanta town,
Cam and the Auburn Tigers must take the SEC crown!

Their opponent has a wily coach – and resourceful he doth be,
and Chizik’s lack of sideburns creates much anxiety in me!

Points will be aplenty, and our nerves will remain quite tight,

But we and the Tiger fans will be happy come early Saturday night.

The mighty warriors of Auburn – 41,
the spirited warriors of South Carolina – 38.”

Poll
Who will win Saturday’s SEC Championship Game?


  25 votes | Results

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The Streak Stops at One: Arkansas 84, Oklahoma 74

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In a game that will no doubt be remembered as fondly and vividly as the Hogs’ 1978 Orange Bowl upset of Oklahoma, the Razorback hoopsters defeated their Sooner counterparts 84 to 74 tonight in Bud Walton Arena. OK, so this game probably won’t live in Arkansas history. But for those 48 of us still paying attention to the basketball team, it was an encouraging win nonetheless.

Granted, this Sooner squad won’t be confused with the early 70s UCLA Bruins any time soon, but it was good to see the Hogs bounce back strongly from their semi-comatose effort last Friday against UAB. The Hogs led by as many as 17 in the second half.

From the ”no surprises” file, sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke led the way, scoring 20 points while making 7 of 12 from the field. Other highlights include the team’s making 23 of its 26 free throws, its field-goal percentage of 50 percent, Jeff Peterson‘s 15 points, and solid efforts by Peterson’s fellow newcomers Marvell Waithe, Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott.

Now if only Marshawn Powell could fully recover from his foot injury, this season could yet turn out to be an interesting and enjoyable one.

For those of you who watched the game, what are your thoughts on tonight’s win and the season thus far?

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