Arkansas-Ohio State Sugar Bowl: What Could Screw the Razorbacks?

Ashton GilstrapContributor IDecember 1, 2010

Arkansas' Star QB Ryan Mallett
Arkansas' Star QB Ryan MallettStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

It’s December, and the 2010 college football season is officially winding down. Bowl season is almost upon us, and fans all over the country are either slavering or dreading over the bowl selection process this weekend.

One team with a significant amount of interest on the line this weekend is the Arkansas Razorbacks. After trucking through a tough schedule with their best record in years, Arkansas is poised to slide right into the SEC’s spot in the Sugar Bowl.

This selection, unfortunately, hinges on the performance of the No. 1 Auburn Tigers this weekend against South Carolina in the SEC Conference Championship game. If Auburn wins, they will be a lock for the BCS National Championship game, and Arkansas will move up into their slot in the Sugar Bowl.

If Auburn loses, however, Arkansas could get the shaft in a big way.

Going 10-2 in the SEC is no easy feat. Every team’s schedule is littered with juggernauts with whom they must collide week after week. This is especially true in the SEC West, Arkansas’ division. Hard losses to Auburn and Alabama, both teams who were ranked in the top ten, are the only stains on Arkansas’ otherwise spotless record.

Auburn has mangled their opposition all season, coming back from a 2nd Quarter 24-0 deficit against Alabama to win at Tuscaloosa. Auburn, in fact, has already beaten South Carolina once this season, and the SEC Championship game is simply a rematch in a neutral location.

All signs point to the fact that Auburn should win this weekend. Their superior offense has been augmented by a defense that steps up when called upon. When you couple these with the Cam Newton effect, you are left with a simply dominant football team.

Arkansas is going to rely on that dominance this Saturday if they want to get to their first ever BCS bowl. A BCS matchup against Ohio State would enlarge Arkansas’ blip on the national football radar, and would be a signature win for Bobby Petrino, the program, and the entire state.

I can only hope that Arkansas’ convincing victory over a higher ranked team this past weekend will be enough to ensure our spot in New Orleans.

There are, however, at least two things that could mess the hogs up:

(1) If Auburn chokes in the homestretch this weekend, and loses to an inferior South Carolina team, a massive wad of excrement would collide with the fan. Not only would it knock Arkansas out of the Sugar Bowl picture, but it would also eliminate the SEC from National Title contention for the first time in four years.

(2) There’s a small chance, because of the fickleness of the Sugar Bowl committee and the fact that New Orleans is in Louisiana, that despite Arkansas’ victory over LSU last weekend, the availability of the fan base and marketability of an old national title rematch would cause the committee to snag LSU and leave Arkansas in the cold.

Either way it goes, Arkansas has had a great season, and we all can do nothing but cross our fingers and hope that the dice roll our way.

Woo Pig.