Arkansas to the Sugar Bowl?
If there’s an Arkansas fan anywhere who hasn’t heard that the #12 Razorbacks just knocked off the #5 LSU Tigers 31-23, I’d be shocked.
At the risk of sounding redundant, we at First Arkansas News want to repeat it again. Some polls have LSU ranked #6 while some put the Tigers at #5. Regardless, Arkansas pulled off a very solid win tonight, finished out the regular season at 10-2 (6-2 in the SEC) and may be ranked in the top 10 (we’ll have to wait and see on that).
We’ll also have to wait and see about which bowl will send and invitation to Arkansas. There’s a lot of speculation that Arkansas could wind up in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 4. That would be an historic game for the Razorbacks, which haven’t yet played in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game.
Yes, the BCS has operated since 1998 and the Hogs have never been in one of the five annual BCS games. The Razorbacks have a good shot at getting in this year, according to the Sugar Bowl’s convoluted selection process. What it boils down to, evidently, is this — if the Auburn Tigers defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC championship game, Arkansas may well wind up in the Sugar Bowl.
Most of us here in Arkansas would love to see that, just as we’ve enjoyed the first 10-2 season the Razorbacks have had since joining the SEC back in 1992. By the way, these cats think it is almost a certainty that Arkansas will go to the Sugar Bowl and face the #8 Ohio State Buckeyes. Sounds good, but we’ll wait for an official announcement.
It’s worth mentioning that this year is the kind a lot of Razorbacks hoped for when Bobby Petrino took over as head coach three seasons ago. The fact of that matter is that the Razorbacks haven’t had a coach worth much since joining the SEC and have gone through some good seasons while spending most of their time as a middle-tier team that messed up the hopes of opponents from time to time with surprise upsets.
Should Petrino stick around, you’d better believe some more great seasons and recruiting efforts will be expected of him. Perhaps recruiting great players and actually competing in the SEC is possible for the Razorbacks, after all.
How great are those Arkansas recruits? Junior quarterback Ryan Mallett went 13 of 23 with 320 yards and three scores, sophomore running back Knile Davis had 30 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown and sophomore wide receiver Cobi Hamilton made three catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Yes, and that’s just on offense, folks. The crowd at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock (the Hogs’ home away from home) got to witness one of the most significant Razorbacks games in years. They saw their team finish the season at 10-2 and put on a show that may well get the team an invitation to a BCS bowl. They saw the Hogs finish second in the SEC West with a record only worse than undefeated Auburn.
It was a great season and just the kind of thing that Razorbacks fans hoped for in vain just a few short years ago. Here’s hoping Petrino’s got the recruiting acumen to build on the success he’s had so far.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.