My friend Doug is an adopted Hog, sort of.
Doug actually graduated from Arkansas State, but because their football program is not exactly major-league, he’s a longtime supporter of his home state’s flagship football program, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. He even has a bright red stuffed razorback sitting on top of his computer monitor. At least, I think it’s a razorback. Looks more like a red aardvark.
Anyway, since I’ve been reading that Razorbacks fandom has been keying on the game with Georgia for months and many in the “Natural State” are predicting a major beat-down for the Dogs, I decided to check in with Doug and get his view of Saturday’s game in Fayetteville. So I asked him: Are Ryan Mallett and the Hog offense as good as SEC media types say? Will the Arkansas defense be any better than last year, when it was awful? Are the folks in Arkansas really feeling that confident?
“It should be a pretty good game,” Doug said. “As far as Mallett is concerned, I guess we’re about to find out how good he is. He lit up Missouri State pretty good, but he’s about to play against a real team now. But he’s no stranger to big-time college football. He started (and won) three games at Michigan before he transferred, so he won’t be rattled easily by Georgia’s defense. I do believe the offense will be better because Mallett is a good quarterback, his backup [Tyler Wilson] is pretty good as well, and we won’t have too much of a dropoff in the running game.”
But Doug said he is “not sure about the defense. That was a sore spot once we got to SEC play last year; it would have to be greatly improved to make a positive difference this season, and I don’t think they made that many changes.”
As to my last question, Doug said, “yes, Arkansas fans are really confident right now, but irrational confidence comes with the territory for those folks. I mean, back in 1992 when we first joined the Southeastern Conference, they thought that they were going to dominate the conference just like we did in the old Southwest Conference. Even I knew better than that!”
Bottom line, Doug said, it “should be a close and fun game. And since the Hogs are playing at home, I believe that will be worth at least a touchdown in our favor. So my prediction: Arkansas 31, Georgia 24.”
He closed with a “WHOOO PIG SOOOIE!” and since I’m a lifelong member of a fandom that’s known to bark, I guess I should just leave that alone.
As for the game, flip Doug’s score around, and you’re closer to what I expect.
Come back midmorning and we’ll talk about the keys to a Dogs win over the Hogs.