It's finally here.
After months of speculation, frustration, and much gnashing of teeth, the 2010-11 College Football season is here, and you would be hard pressed to find a more excited group of folks than Razorbacks fans.
The Hog Nation has been aflame with bold predictions, lofty ambitions, and skyrocketing hopes. As if a Heisman frontrunner being at the helm of the most explosive offense in the country isn't enough, the sheer depth that the Razorbacks are enjoying at many positions is cause for even greater anticipation of the Hogs' chances.
The Associated Press, in their infinite wisdom, assigned the Razorbacks a preseason ranking of No. 17, a number which indicates the vast expanse of potential for this team. An undefeated season would most certainly garner a trip to the BCS National Championship game, while a few key losses could sweep the Razorbacks out of the Top 25 altogether.
Many pundits have designated September 18, when the Hogs travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs, as the primary indicative measure of how they will do this year. They must win this game, it is said, to be taken seriously on the national level, and to not fall into the pit of despair that was the 2009-10 Ole Miss season.
Ryan Mallett and his "dog pound", however, aren't looking that far ahead yet. There are two games to be played prior to the trip to the East Coast, and the boys are maintaining a level of focus for these games that should be terrifying for the opposition.
This Saturday, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, the Razorbacks will play host to the Eagles of Tennessee Tech, an FCS school. Although many would consider such a game to be a gimme, the Razorbacks are well aware of the heavy expectations resting on their shoulders, and are treating the game as seriously as they would if it were Alabama or Florida that they were suiting up against.
Having said this, the Hogs' focus going into the season opener, coupled with their juggernaut receiving corps, howitzer-esque quarterback, and ludicrous depth at running back, should prove to provide a shellacking to the Eagles that will be great fun for the fans of the scarlet and white. This game, by all accounts, should be a blowout of epic proportions.
The other side of the ball will be an interesting thing to observe as well. The Razorbacks' Defense is sick and tired of hearing about how Arkansas' success this season rests on their ability to improve. They are well aware that a last-place defense in the SEC isn't going to cut it, and it should be fun to watch what they can do to Tennessee Tech with this aforementioned chip on their shoulders.
Almost every position on the Razorbacks' depth chart has a big "or" next to the first name listed. I anticipate that we will see a significant amount of rotation on both sides of the ball, as well as possibly seeing multiple kickers put the ball through the uprights. This rotation will help the Razorbacks prepare and find the most comfortable fit as they prepare to navigate the labyrinth that is their conference schedule.
The Razorbacks have been chomping at the bit to get back on the field and show what they can do. Their focus is unwavering, and their dedication is obsessive. They are ready not only to win this weekend, but to have a statement game that confirms their place in the College Football National spotlight. It should be fun to watch, and at the end of the day, the Hogs will leave Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium with a huge win, and some huge smiles.