One thing Sam Pittman has done since taking over Arkansas’ football program is, well, he’s locked down the information leaks, even during the ongoing Covid panic.
If anything we’ve only learned the only people talking really don’t know what they’re talking about and the ones who do know won’t say a word.
Even on social media, which is where a lot of leaks occurred or in whispered tones from “sources” everybody has.
With the Thursday testing, everybody was anxiously awaiting word Friday about whether there would even be a game against LSU on Saturday.
Athletics director Hunter Yurachek basically broke the news on the Twitter thing:
— Hunter Yurachek (@HunterYurachek) November 20, 2020
Pittman followed with his own a little later:
— Coach Sam Pittman (@CoachSamPittman) November 20, 2020
So we’re assuming it’s all game on.
This is where things get interesting. Pittman said Thursday the Razorbacks’ roster was “thin,” but he also talked a lot about what backup players meant in making practices better for the starters and guys who played most of the snaps.
If you read between the lines on all that the guess is the Hogs have some backups with either positive tests or in quarantine because of who they’ve come into contact with or whatever.
These days it’s hard to know at best and virtually impossible with the lack of any information handed out by colleges and universities.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron has dealt with the issues, having games against Florida and Alabama postponed. According to the best guesses of folks in Baton Rouge he didn’t lose sleep over either one of those games.
It tells you how much both the Tigers and Hogs have changed from last year.
The Hogs were nearly a 50-point underdog going to Baton Rouge last year with a freshman quarterback starting (K.J. Jefferson) and an interim head coach (Barry Lunney, Jr.).
LSU has moved into a 1-point favorite at some betting locations while the Hogs are back to a 1.5-point favorite at some others. As I learned years ago, if it’s less than a 3-point spread it’s probably going to be a close game and is virtually a pick-em.
That’s what I think this one is.
While some Razorback fans are picking a 2-3 touchdown win, the guess here is it won’t be that big of a margin … unless freshman T.J. Finley plays like a freshman.
And LSU will have to pass because they haven’t been consistent running the ball this year at all.
Barry Odom has been able to return to witness protection this week as Pittman has returned and this is the type opponent his scheming seems to work well against.
Finley hasn’t seen a look throwing the ball like he’s going to see Saturday morning.
It’s all about matchups and this is a matchup that really doesn’t favor LSU. Odom made quarterbacks with far more experience than Finley make repeated and costly mistakes, leading to Arkansas wins.
That is precisely why I’m taking the Hogs in a close one.
For the first time in years, the Hogs will have the best and most experienced quarterback on the field in this game and Feleipe Franks will be the difference.
Hogs 34, LSU 29
While holding a consistent two-game advantage over Pete Morgan, who somehow came up with one of the possible excuses for me being quiet was something called “Cocomelon,” whatever in the world that is. Nope, Pete, it’s called being polite about another year of kicking you around in the picks. Call it what you want.
Florida (-31.5) at Vanderbilt
Let’s see, the Gators’ game with LSU is postponed but this one is still going to be played. This is going to be over by halftime unless Florida just suddenly can’t play. Florida 69, Vandy 3 (I don’t want to be cruel)
Kentucky at Alabama (-30.5)
While we have more games this weekend, nobody has said they are better games. Alabama 45, Kentucky 13
Tennessee at Auburn (-10.5)
It feels like a month since the Tigers have played a game while the Vols probably wish they hadn’t played a game in a month. Auburn should not have much problem as the Tennessee crash continues. Auburn 35, Tennessee 14
Mississippi State at Georgia (-24.5)
Okay, that line is a little out of whack to me. One stat is the reason why — the Bulldogs, with the noted offensive genius Mike Leach running things, is averaging 21.5 yard rushing per game. Leach ran off the best running back on the team. Georgia is debuting J.T. Daniels at quarterback … finally. Georgia 48, State 6
Missouri (-6) at South Carolina
The Gamecocks will be debuting a new coach which probably won’t change the results an awful lot. The Tigers aren’t great but they are playing better than South Carolina right now and their coach is in his first year. If Hugh Freeze goes to Columbia, though, life in the SEC East may get a little more interesting. Missouri 31, South Carolina 21