Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is benefitting from having a former Power 5 coach on his staff.

Did Michael Vick try to take Darren McFadden’s money? Plus Diamond Hogs nearing regional host nod

Eric Bolin

With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.

A lighter day in Arkansas sports Monday. But there were a few things happening across the sports spectrum in Fayetteville:

Did Michael Vick swindle Darren McFadden?

Arkansas’ greatest football player in history is suing for his owed fortune.

McFadden sued Michael Vick (no, not that one) of Mabelvale, Ark., back in 2016. Vick was McFadden’s financial adviser. McFadden alleges Vick mishandled his money, and, practically, stole from him. The initial lawsuit against Vick was in 2016. Now, McFadden is suing Ameriprise Financial, the company Vick represented.

Vick was a family friend from McFadden’s childhood. The ex-Razorbacks running back hired him in 2008, the same year McFadden was taken at fourth overall pick in the NFL draft. He had a six-year, $60-million contract at the time.

Diamond Hogs in top 5

The Arkansas baseball team is one of the best in the SEC. That makes them, by default, one of the best in the nation.

Are the Razorbacks favorites for a national championship? No. Are they locks to even host an NCAA Tournament regional? Negative. But they’re in the conversation for both. And they’re also potentially, with a lot of help and luck, SEC West champs.

Arkansas-Dave Van Horn-Arkansas baseball
Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn has his team back on the good side of things. (Courtesy Arkansas Athletics)

Right now, the Diamond Hogs are in fifth place in the SEC standings. They’re also in fifth place in the SEC power poll, which gauges more on the quality of a team rather than that team’s record.

In this day and age — and for a good part of the last 10-plus years — being a top 5 team in the SEC has meant you’re a top 20 team in the nation. If you’re a top 20 team in the nation, you have a shot at hosting in the postseason.

The long and short of things: Arkansas baseball is back.

Paul Rhoads was always the man for the job

When Paul Rhoads became part of Bret Bielema’s staff ahead of the 2016 season, everyone on the planet thought it was a home-run hire. Bielema included.

Arkansas defensive coordinator and DB coach Paul Rhoads formerly was the head coach at Iowa State. (Jason Kersey/SEC Country)

A no-brainer, really. Rhoads was, and is, considered an excellent defensive mind. And former Power 5 head coaches were in such a role for a reason, too. Rhoads made the most of what he had at Iowa State, a place perpetually in the muck, it seems. So, when Bielema hired him, he knew what he planned to do down the road.

“I knew I had a coordinator-in-waiting,” Bielema said Monday during an SEC football coaches teleconference. “I knew if I had a transition on the defensive side of the ball, I had a guy I could promote immediately.”

Spoken like a man, too, who understood such a change could be on the horizon. Sure enough, defensive coordinator Robb Smith was that for just one season with Rhoads in tow. Smith was fired after the 2016 season and it took about two seconds for Bielema to promote Rhoads.

Now, with massive personnel changes, a new scheme and a new coordinator, Bielema and Rhoads both are hoping the good faith is borne out.

Softball is dancing

Two straight one-win SEC seasons are a distant memory. The Arkansas softball team is officially no longer the dregs of the SEC. The Razorbacks are headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Courtney Deifel, in just her second year, won seven conference games this season after the team recorded just one win in 2016 and one in 2015. Arkansas is headed to the Norman (Okla.) Regional, where it plays Tulsa. Also in the regional are top-seeded Oklahoma and fourth-seeded North Dakota State.

All 13 schools that field a softball team in the SEC (Vanderbilt doesn’t have one) made the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Arkansas finished 12th out of those 13 in the regular season. Didn’t matter. The Razorbacks were ranked most of the year and were, really, only barely on the bubble.

Deifel’s crew plays Friday at 12:30 p.m. on SEC Network.

Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas

First, a pair of facts.

No. 1: Northwest Arkansas doesn’t get many good concerts, especially concerts in which the average age of the attendee is under 35.

No. 2: Less than 5 percent of the population of northwest Arkansas is black.

Those two worlds collided at a Travis Scott show in Rogers last week. Scott was arrested for “inciting a riot.” He asked the crowd to rush the stage. A few patrons and an officer were hurt.

Mugshot of Jacques Webster (aka: Travis Scott) after the rapper’s weekend arrest in Rogers. (Benton County Sheriff’s Office)

Related: The Amp had a concert that wasn’t for fogeys for once and the fogeys got mad.

The venue is really uncool. I’ve gone to a good 500 concerts in my life and it’s one of the worst places to see a show. It’s pretty. It’s nice. The beer is reasonably priced. But the way they do things there is … old. Stale. Bland. They don’t like people up against the stage. They put chairs out for shows that should be standing-room only. It’s weird. And annoying.

“These kids and their hip hop” is a phrase I can hear people saying.

I don’t know a single Scott song, but free the man. His court date is June 13, by the way.
Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.