Arkansas-E. Michigan: Razorbacks Catch Break In Schedule

Roger GowensCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Wide receiver Greg Childs #85 of the Arkansas Razorbacks grabs a pass for a touchdown against the Florida Gators October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Like our diets, football schedules loaded with too many cupcakes and twinkies are downright unhealthy. Also like the human diet, all meat is not a healthy alternative.

The Arkansas Razorbacks, after a six week gauntlet consisting of five teams that have been ranked at one time or another this season (including seeing both of the current Top Two teams on the road), are ready for some dessert.

The 0-7 Eastern Michigan Eagles, I believe they are called, are a welcome relief after that brutal stretch without a bye.

Rather than Eagles, I believe this team should be known as the Emus, a wingless Australian bird related to the ostrich, 'cause this team isn't exactly flying high. After all, the school is known as EMU, right?

All week, Hog QB Ryan Mallett has warned his teammates about the Appalachian State win over his Michigan Wolverines two years back. The problem with that analogy is that App State was a good team that won the FCS national championship that year.

EMU has major defensive problems, compounded by the probable return of the Hogs' Joe Adams who was the leading receiver before suffering a mild stroke the week of the Auburn game.

"Fuhgeddaboutit" as they say in New York, this game won't be close. So what can the Hogs gain from a win over EMU, other than just getting one step closer to a bowl game?

Confidence, that's what. Before beating Arkansas last week, Ole Miss had a confidence-building rent-a-win over UAB the week before to get their struggling offense on track. Then we saw what happened against the Hogs.

Arkansas can use this game to get a big lead, rest starters, get some work for second stringers, and hopefully get the running game and D.J. Williams going before the stretch run. And, of course, regain some confidence.

Beginning this week, four of the Hogs last five games are at home with only a finale at Baton Rouge outside the borders of Arkansas. 

South Carolina on Nov. 7 is a critical game.

While the Hogs should be cruising against hapless EMU, the Gamecocks have a date with the improving Tennessee Vols. The Hogs should be rested and ready to go, while hopefully South Carolina will be extended in Knoxville.

Bobby Petrino would never admit as much, but the Hogs have probably snuck a peek or two at the Ol' Ball Coach's team this week on the sly.

Arkansas desperately needs that game to get within one game of bowl eligibility and to try to establish a homefield advantage for the future.

Sticking it to Ellis Johnson and Lorenzo Ward—SC assistants who left UA right before national signing day—the last two years wouldn't be a bad thing, either.

Of course, sticking it to an old coach last week didn't work out so well, so that's not the primary objective. The Hogs just need to take care of business against a weak opponent this week, then put chicken on the menu.

Some people do eat dessert first, you know, and the Hogs haven't had any dessert in a long time.

For Halloween, surely the Hogs will get a whole bag of sweet treats against Eastern Michigan as long as EMU doesn't come dressed as Western Illinois, a team that gave the Hogs fits in 2008.