“You are quiet this week.” I heard that phrase multiple times. What much was there to say after we played so poorly against BYU? After all, it was almost gut-wrenching.
Honestly, I had thoughts of how the Cougars were not at all impressive team, yet we struggled with them, especially with our …. You guessed it – our offensive line.
But mostly my thoughts were all shifted to this week as the Hogs make the journey to Baton Rouge to face No. 12 LSU. Even with the Tigers not looking like the hyped-up team from the preseason predictions, they are still seeming like a safer bet than our Razorbacks.
LSU had a resounding Week 1 loss to Florida State; a Sunday night 45 – 24 disgrace for the SEC at the time. Do not let that fool you, the Tigers are far better than the weak opening salvo they fired against the Seminoles.
One facet change would change the entire approach to not only my words here but also the thoughts running through most Arkansas fans: the Razorbacks offensive line. If it is even 20% better, we do not lose to BYU. In fact, we would have beaten them by three scores.
If our offensive line is 30% better, we as fans would have spent this week discussing how we are not ranked but should be.
If our offensive line is 40% better, we probably are ranked, but even if we are not, we have a strong sense of hope for the remainder of the season, and my whimsical 10 – 2 preseason prediction seems a little more possible.
If the offensive line is 50% better, I would be predicting a close win (not an upset) for the Hogs in Baton Rouge. But I am not. Arkansas’s offensive line is struggling mightily, and the entire team and its fanbase are in for a long night in Death Valley. Please prove me wrong.
Why LSU will Win
They are better. LSU has a far more competitive defense than we do an offense. Why? You already know the answer.
The game is in Death Valley …. at night. The Tigers have already proven they can win on the road in the SEC when they easily handled Mississippi State last weekend. Hosting an unconfident Arkansas team under their own home lights, surrounded by enough drunk Cajuns to instantly revitalize Bud Light’s nationwide sales, may prove to be too easy of a task.
Rocket Sanders is still out. Arkansas running back Rocket Sanders is still injured. His speed and quickness can sometimes offset the weak offensive line of the Hogs when our opponents attack, thus causing them to over pursue. With him out, the Tigers defense should have a fun day in the Razorbacks backfield.
Why Arkansas will Win
Run defense. At 55.7 yards per game, Arkansas leads the SEC and is fifth in the nation in preventing the opposing team from rushing the ball.
Our season is teetering. The Tigers are just the first opponent in the murderer’s row we have coming up on the schedule. If Arkansas loses, not only will it put us in the backseat of the SEC, but it will also affect the confidence of the players. The latter know it is a “must win” game. Hopefully they can draw a little inspiration from that.
KJ is healed? Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson looked off last Saturday. He looked quite a bit slower, and he also appeared less willing to take a hit. Yes, he had been encouraged to stay in the pocket longer, but it was painfully obvious he was hurt. That’s the question mark this week. If he is better physically, our chances against LSU increase drastically.
LSU, 31 – 20
I almost forgot this game is still “The Battle for the Golden Boot.” The 28th installment of this rivalry trophy may have slipped the minds of fans after the wind was taken out of our sails following BYU’s comeback win. I am wondering how often this SEC game will be played when the new “two times in four-years” format is in effect starting in 2024.
Prayers for our man Greg Brooks, the former Arkansas defensive back who transferred to LSU. For those of you who are unaware, Brooks recently had surgery to remove a brain tumor. There is hope he can be back on the field by the end of the season.
TRIVIA QUESTION: The Golden Boot is not actually the first trophy given in this rivalry. Can you name the prize?
I am leaving this up until it is no longer a truth: Pittman STILL has a lot to prove for himself and his coaching staff. He may find it extremely difficult to turn up the jukebox this weekend, though.
For those who like to say BYU fans are the nicest fans, here is a newsflash. After last Saturday, I quickly recognized every school has its “nice” fans. On the other hand, one must admit every school, including BYU, has countless mouthy imbeciles who need to take their noses out of their quads and invest in a few lessons in character and class.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The Silver Football was first awarded to the winner of the State Fair Classic in 1924. Ten years prior, both Arkansas and LSU were asked to join the Southwest Conference. Arkansas accepted. LSU declined.
One other fun fact: In 1935, LSU’s first live mascot was purchased from the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas. Originally called (and said to be fond of the name) Sheik, he was renamed as Mike the Tiger I.
Arkansas can pull off the upset, but, like K-Mart stock, I would not bank on it.
You can listen to the game Saturday at 6 p.m. at HitThatLine in select radio markets and on the air at ESPN Arkansas 99.5 in Fayetteville, 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs, and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home.
The Arkansas GameDay LIVE! pregame show with Zach Arns picking on Tye Richardson in Baton Rouge will start at 1 p.m. Arkansas Gameday LIVE from Baton Rouge. It is presented by Arkansas Gameday and KC Insurance Partners. Behind Enemy Lines is brought to you by Mock Legal Solutions.
After the game, Zach and Tye will have Hawg Reaction beginning around 10:30 p.m. after the radio broadcast postgame show ends. It is presented by Teague Law Firm and Signature Bank. Behind Enemy Lines is brought to you by Mock Legal Solutions.
SEC Picks for Week 4
The SEC line-up does not seem very competitive this week, and that may hinder any movement in the standings for the HitThatLine.com cup.
Andy Hodges seems to be more worried about my Halloween plans than ensuring his lead is safe against me. We will revisit this week on October 31. Andy will easily recognize me in my Bubba Newman costume and will henceforth refer to me as “The Comeback Kid.”
Auburn at Texas A&M – Auburn is better than expected, and we all know the Aggies would Jimbo flop, even with Bobby Petrino calling the plays. Tigers by 14.
Kentucky at Vanderbilt – Once both cellar-dwellers, these two teams are both seeing an increase in wins. The difference is Kentucky has improved its program in recent history while Vandy has simply seen a favorable schedule so far. The Commodores drop below .500 for the first time this year. Wildcats by 20.
(15) Ole Miss at (11) Alabama – GAME OF THE WEEK: This game seems to give Ole Miss fans high hopes each season. Yes, there have been a couple of upsets in years past for the Rebels; however, with Alabama being out of the Top Ten for the first time since 2015, I would not see a 15th ranked Ole Miss team coming away with a victory as an upset. That said, Saban is fuming on the inside when in public, and I have no doubt his players have felt his wrath. This will be a great game, but in the end, the Tide will roll away. Bama by 17.
Texas-San Antonio at (23) Tennessee – Nap time! Vols by 32.
Arkansas at (12) LSU – It hurts the heart to be so down on the Razorbacks again. I fear it will cause recruiting to ache as well. All it takes in improvement by the offensive line. Tigers by 11.
Charlotte at (25) Florida – Last week surprised me when Florida seemed to make light work of Tennessee. Today is basically a bye week for the Gators. Florida by 42.
Alabama-Birmingham at (1) Georgia – UAB will provide the Bulldogs with a fun blowout and an early evening. Wait, why is this game at night again? Georgia by 41.
Memphis at Missouri – Did these two teams not already play each other this year, or am I just bored with some of these games already? Missouri by 14.
Mississippi State at South Carolina – Two of my favorite “other” teams from the SEC. This may be the closest game. USC by 1.
This week’s choice was a no-brainer for our local gambling expert, Eric. He breaks down UCLA at Utah, and you must ask yourself if you will follow suit on his advice, or will you take the Soller Opposite?
[Note: We do not promote gambling, and if you have an addiction to wagering money in any format, please seek professional help.]
UCLA (+4 1/2) @ Utah (o/u 52)
Saturday 9/23 @ 2:30 PM
Seeing Utah shut down Florida in Week 0 makes the under in this game extremely attractive. UCLA (3rd overall in rushing efficiency) will attempt to test Utah’s top ten rushing defense in a game that would make Gary Kasparov nod off by the 3rd quarter.
Luckily, it’s a mid-afternoon television match-up, so we should stay awake long enough to see how effective each program’s kicking teams are feeling that afternoon. Neither team has shown red zone efficiency this year.
I’m taking under 52-1/2 as my lead bet this week.
With a low scoring game and a 3-1/2 spread, I will also be taking the Bruins plus the 4=1/2. If this line moves, I will take the UCLA as far down to +3-1/2.
UCLA under 52-1/2
Great take, Eric. With your newfound writing prowess, I may have to see if you can get your own weekly piece.
Thank you, coach Jason Rucker, for reading and for the best damn nachos on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Tonight will be tough on us, Razorbacks fans, but at least it is date night.
Find me on ‘X’: @PeterMorganWPS