Arkansas playing Western Kentucky? Child, please, give us Arkansas-Arkansas State
Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.
Colorado State and Western Kentucky. Sexy.
Those are the two opponents Arkansas football was able to deliver after rushing to find a pair of teams when Michigan backed out of the scheduled 2018 and 2019 series. Not exactly murderer’s row.
Normally, I’d be quick to roll my eyes. Lots were when Western Kentucky was announced on Tuesday morning. But you can’t blame Arkansas. The school was left in a lurch when the Wolverines up and vanished, deciding instead to renew an old rivalry with Notre Dame. More or less have to schedule who you can to fill those spots on short notice. Guaranteed that I looked to ensure Arkansas State didn’t have an open date before I absolved Arkansas brass, though.
Good thing the SEC is so tough because the Razorbacks aren’t winning any style points for their nonconference schedules. Besides Colorado State and Western Kentucky, Arkansas plays Eastern Illinois, North Texas, Portland State, Tulsa and San Jose State.
The next two years are filled with schedules to rack up the win total. Almost definitely new coach Chad Morris will look better than the exited Bret Bielema in that regard. Two conference wins are all that will be required to get to a bowl.
Nice work, Arkansas, if that is the goal.
About those 2018 wins …
The third Arkansas practice of the spring took place Tuesday. Like most spring practices, a touch of knowledge was gained about the outside. Here are a couple of the most notable items (you can find all observances of note from our Trent Shadid at the link)
First, Ty Storey was receiving the first batch of reps over Cole Kelley. While not a surprise — Morris said the two were neck and neck and he planned to split the reps evenly — it is the first time Storey has been, for all intents and purposes, the first-team QB. Not sure what it means for the long term, if anything, but it is notable.
Second, could Jalen Merrick finally break out? The former 4-star recruit has not done a thing in his three seasons at Arkansas. Merrick worked with the first-team offensive line at right guard on Tuesday. Interesting, mostly because he supplanted Johnny Gibson, who has been a starter the last year and a half or so.
World without Daniel Gafford is scary world
The question is how quickly that subhead is going to become a reality.
Arkansas will lose Daniel Gafford, no doubt about it. The 6-foot-10 freshman is a superstar who very well could have been named SEC Freshman of the Year on Tuesday and no one would have batted an eye. In fact, there is plenty of curiosity out there why Gafford wasn’t — along with Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Alabama’s Collin Sexton.
As to whether Gafford leaves Arkansas after this season, well, that is still up for debate. Some who read this may wonder why it is even being brought up at all. Yet, it is a question I receive more than any other.
“Is Gafford going or not? If he does, what will the starting lineup look like?”
Frankly, he should go. If his stock is as high with NBA teams as mock drafts suggest, staying in college another year does him zero good. Guess we’ll find out in a few months.
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- Morris is, quite literally, trying to Make Arkansas Great Again. At least, that is his plan with recruits. He wants the school, the state, to become more attractive to potential players.
- More on this Wednesday, but Kamren Curl has been playing some safety so far this spring. Shocker in every good way. Arkansas’ secondary is loaded.
- Those practices, by the way, are unlike anything Shadid has ever seen. Frenetic pace.
- Arkansas softball lost for the second time this season, falling 1-0 to Wichita State on Tuesday.
- Gafford, Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford were selected for SEC basketball honors. Barford was a first-team choice, Macon a second-team selection and Gafford made the All-Freshman team.
Tweets and the like
• This isn’t precisely Arkansas related, but considering the Razorbacks will be in the NCAA Tournament, I just had to pass it along. So dumb.
On Selection Sunday, CBS/Turner say they will reveal all 68 teams ‘followed’ by the brackets pic.twitter.com/3IaSVI3IJG
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 6, 2018
• Nice work, SEC, putting the league’s basketball tournament in St. Louis.
📍Is this really St. Louis?!?
— Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) March 7, 2018
Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.