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Jim Harris on the Hogs’ Bowl Options, History

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Jim Harris on the Hogs’ Bowl Options, History

The dean of Arkansas sportswriters breaks it down.

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Hogs Not Going To The Cotton Bowl

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Reports are that Texas A&M has accepted an invitation to the Cotton Bowl, January the 7th. Since the Hogs played them earlier in the year and will play them again next fall, you can count on the Cotton Bowl not offering the Hogs if Auburn (gasp!) should lose in the SEC Championship game. LSU or Alabama would be more attractive for a game against the Aggies. The Capital One Bowl could choose Alabama over the Hogs, for it would put Saban against his old Michigan State team and would bring the Tide to a bowl they haven’t been to since 1995. Though the Hogs have a better record than the Tide, the Capital One people could point out that the Tide beat the Hogs and that they are the former National Champions with a Heisman winner on the team. So where would that put the Hogs? The Outback bowl in Tampa is a possibility. It is a January 1st bowl game, and the Hogs would get a Big Ten team, possibly Iowa. And the Hogs have never played in that bowl. Of course, if we don’t get the Sugar that is going to be a big let down for all of us. Dropping even further below the Capital One to possibly the Outback Bowl (I hate these corporate names!) would even be more of a downer. I am sure he is not feeling it, but from a Razorback point-of-view, more pressure on that son of a preacher man to get the job done in Atlanta for all of us Hog fans.

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SEC Power Poll: Week 13

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The Hogs continue to peak at the right time, soaring to their highest-ever (on our ballot, at least) Power Poll slot:

1. (1) Auburn – For his next trick, Cam Newton will spot South Carolina a 50-0 lead, then lead his team to eight straight TDs in the 4th quarter. 

2. (4) Arkansas – The Hogs can beat anyone at this point. We would really, really like to replay those Alabama and Auburn games with the emergent Knile Davis.

3. (5) South Carolina - The biggest mismatch in the SEC Championship Game might be Spurrier vs Chizik. Not a fair fight.

4. (2) LSU – Playing on turf in Little Rock, Les Miles ran out of grass-eating miracles.

5.  (3) Alabama – We’re still trying to process the fact that Bama lost three conference games this year.

6. (6) Mississippi State – Whichever school hires Dan Mullen for next year will be lucky to have him.

17. (7) Florida – Starting here, we bumped everyone 10 slots down in the poll to reflect the difference between the top and bottom halves of the conference. Florida, quite frankly, sucks this year.

18. (8) Georgia – They beat Georgia Tech! Yea!

19. (10) Tennessee – After a rough couple of years, the Vols are beginning to show faint glimmers of hope for the future.

20. (9) Kentucky - Lost to Tennessee for the 25th straight time. Incredible.

21. (11) Ole Miss - Now we can sit back and watch the Jimmy Sexton-based rumors fly about all the schools that are throwing job offers at Houston Nutt.

22. (12) Vanderbilt - Guys, it makes everyone else in the SEC look bad when you lose to Wake Forest.

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Doc Saturday on Petrino, Mallett and the Hogs

 

 

Ryan Mallett as Vanilla Ice?

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Ryan Mallett as Vanilla Ice?

Straight from the twisted mind of Every Day Should Be Saturday’s Spencer Hall comes this awesome parody of “Ice Ice Baby”, starring our own Ryan Mallett. Enjoy…

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WE GOT THAT BOOT

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Danny Johnston – AP

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One of my favorite things about the Hogs’ win over LSU on Saturday was that, as KevinHog put it, no miracle was required. Sure, things did get a little wacky there at the end of the first half, but overall it was a solid, end-to-end victory. It was the kind of solid win that a BCS-bound team should produce (and that the Hogs have traditionally managed to let slip away in the past…see the 2006 LSU game for reference). LSU is a good team and put up a tough fight, as expected, but in the end there was no doubt about who was better.

Other thoughts:

* as a Little Rock guy now living far away, I always get a particular thrill from seeing War Memorial on national TV. I went to many Razorback games there as a boy, and my high school (Go Rockets) played there as well. Love that place.

* I’m guessing both teams were a little too wound up at the start of the game…the first quarter was exceedingly sloppy all around. I kept picturing people from around the country seeing the Hogs and Tigers for the first time and thinking “these teams are supposed to be good?”

* it wouldn’t be an Arkansas-LSU game without a little crazy, and the sequence to end the first half was about as crazy as it gets: LSU fumble deep in their own territory + Arkansas interception in the end zone + Les Miles actually leaving too much time on the clock with an incredibly short possession + that insane Ryan Mallett/Cobi Hamilton bomb as time expired…all in about two minutes of game time. Dizzying!

* Props to Alex Tejada for making a couple of potentially game-saving tackles on Patrick Peterson‘s painfully long kickoff returns.

* Although it didn’t feel like a great thing at the time, the decisive point of the game was when LSU took over on the Hogs’ 9 yard line after Dylan Breeding‘s muffed punt in the 3rd quarter. Instead of letting the Tigers roll in for an easy TD and the lead, the Razorback defense stiffened with three consecutive great plays: a touchdown-saving open field tackle on a screen pass, stuffing a run up the middle for no gain and batting away the corner fade pass on 3rd down. From that moment on, it was all Arkansas.

* Continuing the theme of the above point, the defense played its best game of the year. Hats off to them (and especially SEC defensive player of the week Jerico Nelson). LSU had just 71 yards of offense in the second half.

* After the aforementioned defensive stand, the offense rose to the occasion with two of the best drives I can remember from an Arkansas team: first, an 11 play march that culminated in Mallett’s triumphant 39 yard TD pass to Joe Adams on 4th down (and featured a couple of huge 3rd down conversions before that), then, after a quick stop by the defense, a smashmouth masterpiece that featured nine straight butt-kicking runs by Knile Davis and Broderick Green.

* Les Miles must have still been a little sleepy from too much Thanksgiving turkey, because we never even saw a glimpse of the wackiness that’s made him famous. LSU had several opportunities to go for it on 4th down and never did…in fact, it was Bobby Petrino who broke the game open with that ballsy 4th down call on the TD pass to Adams.

* Cobi Hamilton is a proud Texarkana native, but he must feel a special connection with Little Rock: in his two SEC games at War Memorial the speedy WR has caught TD passes of 85, 80, 64 and 58 yards. And, he made the game-clinching recovery of LSU’s last minute onside kick. Not too shabby.

* I alluded to this in the intro, but in 2006 the highly-ranked Hogs took on the highly-ranked Tigers in War Memorial with a BCS bowl on the line and managed to lose in typically Nutty fashion. Very nice to come full circle and close it out this time.

* Final thought: when was the last time the Razorbacks had a win this big? Submit your suggestions in the comments section, because I’m having trouble thinking of one.

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No Miracle Required / Notes from the North Endzone – LSU Edition

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Miracle on Markham One will always have the names Matt Jones and Decori Birmingham associated with them. Miracle on Markham Two will always be associated with the names Casey Dick and London Crawford. Instead of a last second hope and prayer play like in wins past, this year’s team made big plays throughout the game. But I would say two names still should forever be associated with this year’s win, Cobi Hamilton for his two amazing touchdowns and his securing of the on-side kick and then Knile Davis for his 152 yards rushing, the first score of the game, and the grinding out of time eating yards in the fourth quarter. With that said, it was still very much a complete team effort, including some 50,000 plus loud and screaming Razorback fans. I am happy to say that I was one of them. Here’s what I saw, heard, and thought during last night’s 31-23 victory over LSU.

* Waking up yesterday morning had something of the feeling of Christmas just two days after Thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that Desmond Howard had chosen to play the Grinch and proclaim on Gameday that the Hogs would lose to LSU. It didn’t matter that ESPN kept running on the scroll that Ryan Mallett had twenty-two incompletions against LSU last year. Such Debbie Downers! haha. What mattered was that it was a beautiful blue-bird day in Arkansas and that I had a coveted ticket to the game.

* Or I thought I did. FYI: If you should mistakenly use one of your two LSU tickets at the ULM game earlier in the season, haha, well, you will need to go to the “Will Call” area by Gate Seven where they’ll ask to see your driver’s license and issue you something that looks like a note from the principals office to get in. We first tried to walk up there and see if the ticket ripper wouldn’t notice. They didn’t notice it during the ULM game! But he had a sharper eye. The take away message, do be careful fellow season ticket holders about which tickets you bring to the game.

* The sights and sounds of the tailgating around War Memorial are always great to behold. LSU fans were dotted amongst the red and white outposts of Hog Nation, but it was clearly an Arkansas gathering of the faithful. In that tent city, those who wore purple and gold were the only sinners. Yet, it was an atmosphere of good natureness from what I could tell. You would see groups of friends, some LSU fans, some Arkansas. Then there mixed dating couples, the woman in Arkansas red and white, her boyfriend or husband in Hog gear.

* My favorite sartorial sighting of the day was a t-shirt that read “The Good (picture of a Hog), the Bad (Alabama A), and the Ugly (picture of the LSU Tiger). Haha. Santa, get me one of those for Christmas!

* The Good Hog, Tusk, was back in Little Rock, but carrying many more pounds of bacon in his skeleton than what he was carrying a few months ago at the ULM game. Like our team, Tusk has done some growing up as well this season.

* Ramon Broadway and Little Rock’s native son, D.J. Williams, were both on the cover of the program. And I am sure Nike is pleased that they are both wearing this year’s uniform and not the Addias wear that was on the first  Little Rock program of the season.

* I thought it rather apropos that a member of one of our early SEC teams, Isaac Davis (1990-93), should be named honorary captain to what was one of the Hogs’ most significant SEC wins since joining the conference.

* I am not up all that knowledgeable on current country music recording artists, but the guy who sang the national anthem sounded a lot like the twang of a country star I used to follow, Randy Travis.  

* The banners were confined to just regular old advertizing this go around. No politicians. No fire the coach. And there is no truth to the rumor that a bunch of LSU fans flew a banner after darkness had fallen that had anything to do with Les Miles’ tenure at LSU. haha.  

* Aesthetically Speaking: Painting is pretty much my chief hobby these days. And I think my fellow painters in the crowd were probably also just blown over by the pure colors on display. The intense green of the field. The horizon to horizon pure blue of the sky. The sun shining on our red uniforms, helmets in particular. I have to admit the purple and gold looked wonderful in the sun as well. I think Van Gogh would have loved to have set up his easel in the press box. The purple and gold really would have appealed to him. As great as your television reception is, nothing can really replace the world is aglow feeling that you get from being at War Memorial on a sunny fall afternoon.

* Cliff Lee and his family led a Hog Call early in the game. I don’t think they mentioned on the CBS broadcast that Cliff has generously given a million dollars to Arkansas Childrens Hospital where his son was treated for cancer. They didn’t mention it at the game either. But I had read of his generousity in the paper.

* And I would say nothing can really replace the collective joy of being surrounded by 50,000 plus people celebrating a touchdown with you. It truly is electrifying. Knile Davis’ first touchdown was at our end of the field and we in the North Endzone started the explosion of joy that went around the stadium, only interrupted by areas of purple and gold.

* I recalled the big day Cobi Hamilton had last year against MSU at War Memorial. I had a pre-game thought of maybe he’ll repeat himself. haha. And did he ever! Putting it in baseball terms seems appropiate, actually, in describing the day. It was a day when we hit home runs more than doubles and triples. But then in the fourth quarter we did steadily round the bases in a drive that took just over six very valuable minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.

* Trends: The Hogs have a negative trend over the last two games of turning the ball right back over after getting it ourselves from a turnover. A significant trend was broken in that there were no false starts and the penalties (just two for 17 yards) were the fewest this team has made all year. The trend of beating schools that previously beat Alabama continues (South Carolina, LSU). And finally, the trend of not losing to anybody outside of the state of Alabama continues as well.

* Some we still got to work on this numbers: The Hogs kickoff coverage gave LSU 187 yards on five kickoffs. The Hogs gained only 80 yards in six kickoffs. Towards the end of the game I wasn’t the only one in the North Endzone who was advocating for just kicking it out of pounds and letting LSU start on the forty yard line. I give credit to Tejada for forcing Patrick Trindon Holliday Peterson out of bounds when needed. But why was he even kicking to him in the first place?

* I mentioned in a previous comment that I would love to see a repeat of the 1998 LSU game in Little Rock when the Hogs just had the game won going away early. The beatdown on Markham. It wasn’t like that. But the Hogs did put up two pass plays of over 80 yards. And the last time that happened was with Stoerner and Lucas / Eubanks in the 1998 LSU game.

* I will admit that I was thinking the Hogs would just take a knee and go into the half 14-14. Oh, how happy I was not to have a headset in this game, haha. And if you are an LSU fan, you have to say to yourself ironically, “Les Miles left too much time on the clock!” haha.

* This was the 8th time the Hogs have racked up a ten win season. 1977 and 1964 are our lone two eleven win seasons. Might we add 2010 to that list? I think it is highly possible if the Hogs take where they are at now as a team to the bowl game.

* Credit to the defense for holding LSU to field goals and doing some bending, but not breaking out there. The offense seemed to sputter at times, but the defense played more consistently well throughout the game. This was an LSU offense that was trending upwards before this game, and the Hogs held them to 23 points, three of which were more the responsibility of the special teams unit (Breeding’s unforced error).

* This isn’t the first time I’ve complained about War Memorial’s inability to keep a scoreboard and a forty second clock running throughout a game. This isn’t very complicated technology people. High schools across the country manage this without as much trouble. At one time the scoreboard had the score at zero to zero in the fourth quarter. God Forbid!

* Fear of the Night: Somehow LSU might pull off its own miracle on Markham. But the sacking of Jefferson and the resulting turnover put all thought of that out of my head. And finally the Hogs were able to just line up in the victory formation and take a knee. Some around me were yelling for the Hogs to run it in. I wasn’t one of them. I would rather see us be good sports and not shoot a wounded Tiger when it isn’t necessary. Those shots usually find a way to bounce back and hit you latter on. Such is the karma of football.

* The only time I’ve referenced Def Leopard in a post: Yeah, the stadium was singing “Pour Sugar On Me” at the end of the game. The players were jumping up in the air and bouncing off one another. The golden boot, a good kind of heavy, was being carried around by the team. From the recording I watched after getting home, I thought I saw Bobby Petrino even kiss a baby! 

* We listened to the postgame on the radio as we drove through the darkened Arkansas landscape. It was nice to hear the intelligent post-game talk from Bobby Petrino and his coaches. No “I called that play, Brotha” business. Just strictly the business of talking about how the game transpired. Yeah, put me in the Bobby Petrino fan club along with Hog fans everywhere.

* BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: And saw draws to a close the 2010 regular season (Tempus Fugit) and begins a week where we all hold our noses again and become Auburn fans in order to get that Sugar Bowl invite. It has been one amazing season, and it is one that I’ve enjoyed sharing with all of you here on this website, my old friends and expats in places as diverse as Wichita, Kansas, and West Monroe, Louisiana, and my family back in Arkansas, including my mother who is the quinessential Southern lady who loves her college football. Thanks for sharing the season with me. And now on to the bowl game and getting consecutive bowl wins for the first time in program history.

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Sweet as Sugar? Arkansas 31, LSU 23

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Danny Johnston – AP

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If, after the Alabama game, anyone predicted that the Hogs would cap a 6 game winning streak by knocking off LSU with a punishing, clock-eating ground attack, please raise your hand. No one? That’s what I thought.

In what is certainly the biggest win of the Bobby Petrino era, the Hogs showed they can do the fancy stuff on offense (Cobi Hamilton!!) and grind it out in physical SEC style. That final drive of nine straight smashmouth runs against the mighty LSU defense was a thing of wood-bringing beauty and should put to rest the myth that the Razorbacks are a finesse team.

The reward? Possibly a birth in our best postseason bowl in nearly a quarter century: Sugar Bowl officials confirmed after the game that, should Auburn defeat South Carolina in the SEC Championship game, Arkansas is headed to New Orleans. Today we are all Cam Newton fans, ladies and gentlemen.

We’ll have more coverage of today’s huge win soon enough, but for now raise your glass to the 2010 Arkansas Razorbacks and let loose with the greatest cheer in sports: WOOOOO PIG SOOIE! RAZORBACKS!!!

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Game Thread: Battle for the Boot – LSU vs. Arkansas

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Big game today – this one’s for all the marbles. Or some of the marbles. Or maybe I’m just so excited about the game that I’ve lost my marbles. Whatever.

This is the place to share your pre- and in-game nerves, excitement and observations.

Woo Pig!!

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Boot Battle Memories #1: The Wood, Brought

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The final clip in our Boot Battle series needs no introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, a post-game interview so amazing it inspired its own hip hop remix…BRING THAT WOOD:

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