That's right. I’m here to say that the University of Arkansas will NOT lose to Texas this Saturday.
Why do I make such a bold prediction, you ask.
Is it because Arkansas will shock the world?
Is it because Texas will come in with the big head?
Is it because Petrino has sent a package of laxative filled chocolates to the Longhorn team as a pre-game snack?
No my friend. It's because of Ike! And this has nothing to do with Tina Turner.
Another storm in the Gulf of Mexico is wreaking havoc, thus canceling more games. This time it's in Texas.
Last weekend saw the postponement of games throughout Louisiana, including the LSU vs. Troy game. This has made LSU restless, and has given Troy more time to prepare by securing several more games under their belt before taking on the Bayou Bengals.
The Texas vs. Arkansas game will be rescheduled for September 27. So that allows a week off for Arkansas, and it could not have come at a better time for the Hogs.
After struggling to beat Western Illinoisin week one and narrowly escaping the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe last week, which required a fourth quarter come-from-behind win, Petrino and the Hogs were looking to get smoked in Austin this Saturday.
Now, not only do they have the week off to regroup and try to get the season back on track, but they have two weeks to prepare for their SEC opener against Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
I’m trying not to look too far into things. After all, the Tide still has a game to be played against Western Kentuckythis weekend. But it looks like the schedule just got a little stiffer for the Crimson crew, making this the fourth out of five teams Bama faces from the SEC West who will have a week off prior to playing Alabama.
What does that mean? Well it means that four of the teams Bama must go through to come out on top in the West this year have two weeks to beef up before playing the Tide. And that's not to mention the likes of Tulane and Temple from two other SEC teams the week prior to playing Alabama.
I have stated continuously that the Arkansas game will be a telling game for the Tide, and for many reasons.
First, you never take any team for granted on your schedule, especially an SEC team. It doesn’t matter how good or how bad they are, overlooking a team is something you just don’t do!
Second, this will be Alabama’s first away game. Sure they traveled to the ATL to take on Clemson, but it was a neutral site game where about 33,000 Crimson Tide fans were on hand. Plus the travel distance is not the same as it will be to Arkansas. There’s a lot to be said of the difference in a bus ride and plane ride.
And third, this game has traditionally served as a spring board for both teams, with the winner typically going on to compete for the SEC West race, or at least having a better season.
This rivalry has been a split over the past few years. Just take a look at this rivalry over the last decade.
The 1998 game was not close at all, with the Hogs winning 42-6. Bama finished the season 4-4 in the SEC and 7-5 overall. Arkansas finished the season 9-3 (6-2 SEC). Hogs are winners in the game and season record.
In 1999 Alabama beat a number 14-ranked Arkansas squad 35-28. This prompted them to go on and take the SEC Title with 10-3 record and 8-1 in the SEC. Arkansas finished 8-4 and 4-4 in the SEC. Bama takes the games and better record on the year.
In 2000 Arkansas won 28-21. The Tide fell apart and finished the season 3-8 (3-5 SEC). Arkansas went on to finish the season a bit better 6-6 and the same 3-5 SEC record. Arkansasnotches another victory in the rivalry and three more than Bama for the season.
The 2001 season saw Alabama win 31-10. They went on to finish the season 7-5 (4-4 SEC). Arkansas also finished the season 7-5 and again, the same 4-4 SEC record as the Tide. Even though Alabama won the game, both teams ended up in a tie for wins and losses.
In 2002 Bama won 30-12, finished the season 10-3, and compiled a 6-2 SEC record. Even though Bama won the game, Arkansas surprisingly won the West (Alabamawas on probation and prohibited from going to the conference championship). But in the end Bama had a better overall record and bowl victory, which Arkansasdid not. The Hogs finished the season 9-5 and 5-4 in the SEC (counting the SEC championship loss to UGA). Bama won the game and had a better record.
The 2003 game was horrific for Bama fans. After jumping out to a big lead, Arkansascame back to win 34-31 in double overtime. Bama would go on to finish the year 4-9 and 2-6 in SEC play. Arkansas however would finish the year 9-4 (4-4 SEC), including a bowl win. Arkansas takes the game and the season.
The 2004 match-up was all Hogs, as they ran away to a 27-10 win. Bama again struggled that year with a 6-6 record and 3-5 in the SEC. Arkansas struggled as well, finishing the season 5-6 and 3-5 in SEC play. This was the exception when the winner didn’t prevail on the season; however it was virtually the same.
In 2005 Bama won 24-13, which helped vault them to a 10-3 record and 6-2 against SEC foes. Arkansas on the other hand finished the season 4-7 (2-6 SEC). Again the winner, Bama, takes both the game and season.
In 2006 another heartbreaker came to Bama as they lost 24-23 in another double overtime game. Bama finished the season 6-7 (2-6 SEC). And how they got a bowl bid is beyond me. Arkansas finished with a 10-4 mark, an SEC West title, and 7-2 SEC record. Arkansas takes the season after taking the game.
Last year Bama got up big, only to let Arkansas come back to take the lead. With just seconds left the Crimson Tide pulled it out 41-38. Now the Tide finished the season 7-6 (4-4 SEC), but there were many reasons why they fell apart. Arkansas bounced back to an 8-5 record, but still only 4-4 in the SEC. In an odd turnout, Bama wins, but Arkansas finishes slightly better.
As you can see, the games have been split 50-50 over the last ten years, with the winner going on to have a better season in seven out of ten of those seasons. The other three seasons had virtually the same record between the two schools.
So you see, Arkansas’ extra week to prepare could be huge in not only this game, but also in determining the outcome of the entire season for both squads.
Whether or not Arkansas will improve from their last two performances is the biggest question, but they do have two weeks to work on it.
Bama, on the other hand, must make the most of this week by dominating Western Kentucky to keep the Tide rolling into what could turn out to be a bigger SEC opener than most had predicted: a battle of the unbeatens!
Oh, how I loathe the storms of the Gulf Coast!