(Editor’s Note: Since Pete Morgan obviously ignored the memo on not doing picks on the off week, which I figured pretty quickly when he sent it in it was a way to get around the fact he blew off the first week of the season by picking only the games he wanted to pick. He obviously thought Andy Hodges would forget about and he could catch up from an impossible deficit. He forgot Andy edits everything, so his picks for the week to get around the technical loophole Pete tried to jump through. — Andy Hodges)
“Give me a break.” We have all heard the expression. We have all said it at some point. But right now, the Arkansas Football team is living that necessity.
We do not need to recap the season. We have all been bearing that nightmare together. A high number of penalties, close losses, disappointing performances, porous offensive line strategies, poor execution, dropped passes, a stagnant offense, a coordinator fired, and six straight losses.
As a program, we are committed to a tough SEC schedule, and, sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall short. As fans, you could almost compare our love for the Razorbacks to a relationship. Sometimes things go smoothly for years at a time, but then, for reasons which may be out of our control, we have a rough patch. Then we start using that word, “break”.
“Maybe we should take a break for a bit.” Easy to say, but very difficult to accomplish. Sure, the first two hours of a bye week may feel low-stress and possibly even refreshing, but then what happens when the weekend comes and there is no one to hold… oops, I mean, no game to watch? You miss it. You wonder what you will do with yourself. You start watching television, and you notice the other fans out their enjoying spending time at their stadium, supporting their team, and expressing their passion for the game. You cannot cheer for another team. No, that would not be right. No matter the past, you must stay loyal.
Then you start pondering how bowl season will soon be upon us, not to mention the off-season. Now where does your mind take you? Does your heart start to ache at the thought of, “I will not be seeing them for a while. This is not simply a break, this is something I love going away for several months. What will I do with myself? My weekends? I am going to hate this.”
Or perhaps you really just cannot stand it anymore, and you are ready for football to take a hike because you have a new passion come into your heart: Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball.
Regardless, this piece is not going to win a Pulitzer. The theory is no one reads opinion pieces during a bye week, so I put it in cruise control. But if you are still reading this, please feel free to let me know. I honestly enjoy the additional interaction when I come across you all in public, especially people like Derek Law who have been so supportive.
Quick note: Basketball season is upon us, and while it may be an exhibition game, the Razorbacks welcome in second-ranked Purdue Boilermakers into Bud Walton Arena this weekend. I hear tickets are hard to come by; however, if you happen to come across one, go enjoy the beginnings of what could be a spectacular season under head coach Eric Musselman.
SEC Picks for Week 9
This week the SEC still allows some of its members to recuperate from a harsh schedule. Speaking of severe things, I asked Andy Hodges the other day if he would consider being a little more chill on the insults he has been slinging towards me. His only response was, “Write something worthwhile, and I might let you name-drop me on social media.” Well, some things will never change, so perhaps my beating him in the picks will garner a more positive response from his gerontocratic high horse. Better put on your Coke bottles for this one, Andy.
(Since Pete had his mother take pity on me picking on him, I’ve eased up a little. She’s nicer than he is and talked about how nice and sweet he his, which only invoked thoughts of how a mother’s love can also be blind at times)
South Carolina at Texas A&M – Forget about the game, let’s talk about Shane Beamer for a minute. I have been a fan of his since he came into the SEC as a head coach, but, right now, there is more trouble brewing in the world of Beamer. He can try to skirt around it all he likes with talks of a broken foot and putting headsets into the helmets of college players; however, his name, and his program’s name for that matter, are being bantered with speculation for having benefited from Michigan’s sign stealing scandal. Add to it, Beamer was in hot water in 2016 when, as an assistant at Virginia Tech, he accepted (in 2014) game plan information from an assistant coach at Wake Forest the night prior to their contest. Even if all of this is nothing but a hot rumor, his coaching seat is even hotter. With his unwillingness to shoulder the responsibility for a growing pile of losses, mixed with the other drama, the South Carolina football team has more distractions than Bobby Petrino at a volleyball game. Aggies by 24.
South Carolina is doing what they can. Let’s not assume they have a lot of people suffering through a lifetime ambition the coach of the Gamecocks. Aggies by 30)
(1) Georgia at Florida – “Oars anyone?” This yearly rivalry game in Jacksonville used to be one of the highlights of each college football season. In fact, it used to be a party … outdoors, with something to drink, if memory serves. Well, that has all gone by the wayside. The Bulldogs are far too high for even a great performance by Florida to overcome. And the party, well, that’s been replaced as well… “Oars anyone?” Georgia by 17.
(It’s still the World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but because it’s not political correct to imply anything approaching something that somebody thinks is inappropriate, it’s marketed by some folks different. The Gators are physical, though, and will leave knots on the Bulldogs’ head. Georgia by 17)
Mississippi State at Auburn – Auburn almost pulled off the upset against Ole Miss last week. They will face another Mississippi team this week, but their victory will not be an upset. Tigers by 14.
(If there is a fan base in the SEC that’s more bipolar than Arkansas it’s at Auburn. Hugh Freeze, in his first year, is already hearing the wolves howling. They want Cadillac Williams as the head coach, which might win the pep rallies but probably has a much steeper rebuilding process until he figures it out. The Bulldogs are terrible, though. Tigers by 7)
(21) Tennessee at Kentucky – GAME OF THE WEEK: The GOW honor goes to the Vols at the Wildcats due to it seemingly being the most attractive match-up. Tennessee is not as impressive as they were last season, and Kentucky is about on-par with where many felt they would be at the beginning of the season. Both have identical 5 – 2 records, but the Volunteers seem to have slightly more favor with the pollsters. Whichever team pulls off the victory, they will find themself nestled somewhere around 20 in the polls. The other team will be on the outside looking in. Kentucky is at home, yet I feel they do not have the firepower to be a lock to win. That said, feels the officials have been giving his team a raw deal. Is that a helpful motivation or a psychological hindrance? Who knows, but we will find out come Saturday. For now, you can take my opinion on it. Tennessee by 7.
(This is Pete’s Game of the Week? Basketball starts next week, so most of the Wildcats’ faithful will be ready to head on over to Rupp Arena. Vols by 9)
Vanderbilt at (12) Ole Miss – What week is it for Vandy? It does not really matter. It will simply be another loss. The only reason it will not be a complete blowout is because Lane Kiffin will be busy on “X” (Twitter) during the second half. Rebels by 24.
(Hang on, Vandy, that electronic transfer of money from the SEC is coming next year. They are the only team in the league that achieves its purpose of being in the league each and every year. Rebels by 24)
Hey, at least we will not lose in football this weekend, right? That’s one thing I can say today which will for certain be correct.
(Poor Pete, he won’t make up any ground in the picks contest this week. Compare our winners, Pete)
Find me on ‘X’: @PeterMorganWPS