Ol’ Las Vegas. The Sin City knows what it’s doing when it comes to gambling. It’s a town where fortunes go to die if you’re an outsider. Yet, we play. Some of us. Even for entertainment value only, the point spread has become water cooler conversation throughout the week.
The much-smarter-than-me men and women in that town have set the betting line for Arkansas-Alabama at two touchdowns. The number fluctuates on bettors’ trends, but is likely to settle around there, give or take a point or half-point over the rest of the week. That spread had some around here talking, too.
At first blush, 14 points seems high for a 4-1 team at home, regardless of opponent. I know it’s silly to compare year over year, but even last year, when Alabama was the national champion and Arkansas wasn’t as good as they are this season, the Crimson Tide won by just 13 points in Tuscaloosa. So 14?
My theory: It splits the difference.
Think about it. If the Arkansas team that played three quarters against Texas Christian, a half against Texas A&M and a full game against Texas State shows up, this is a close game on Saturday. Like, a touchdown either way type of close game. But if the Razorbacks of the TCU fourth quarter, Texas A&M second half and Louisiana Tech are the ones we all see, Alabama wins by three touchdowns. At least.
The average of 21 and 7? Fourteen.
It’s simplistic, but hey, I’m a simple kind of man (S/O Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama week or not). Plus, we can all pretend to know what we’re doing when it comes to playing the numbers against Vegas. In the end, they’re the rich ones. We’re not.
Well, I’m not.
Well, lookie here
Let’s run through Austin Allen’s accolades real quick, shall we?
- Completion percentage: 1st in SEC
- Passer rating: 1st in SEC
- TD/INT ratio: 2nd in SEC
- Yards: 4th in SEC
- Touchdowns: 4th in SEC
- Completions: 4th in SEC
The only other quarterback who can proclaim top-four status in each one of those categories is Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly. Kelly was the easy choice for first-team All-SEC quarterback in the summer, so his start is unsurprising. Allen on the other hand, had never started a game until this fall.
Over at Sports Illustrated, they put Allen as the No. 2 overall quarterback in the league so far this season, a ranking that fits, as far as I’m concerned. The junior is playing his way onto NFL draft boards and keeping Arkansas near the top of the SEC thus far.
Cue up the “Roundball Rock”
NBC probably still maintains the rights to this song.
But anytime I think about basketball, I hearken back to it. Legendary.
Speaking of basketball, the Arkansas men’s team finalized its start times and TV schedule for the upcoming season. Every game but one will be available to watch on television or online.
Grab your calendar, we've added tip-off times to our remaining games.
— Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) October 4, 2016
Highlights include four games on the ESPN Big 3 (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU), including Texas on Dec. 17, Oklahoma State on Jan. 28, Florida on March 1 and Georgia on March 4. Every other game can be seen on SEC Network or SEC Network+, except the game against Sam Houston State on Dec. 22, which won’t have any broadcast.
Bret Bielema talked about how to traffic in Twitter in an Associated Press story published Tuesday. He mentioned Springdale High School football player Kyler Williams, who died late last month in a car accident, and how he had to be careful about tweeting about high school players. The piece is intriguing.
By the way, heads up, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples is in Fayetteville. He will likely be at the game Saturday, which means Arkansas-Alabama is getting some much-deserved national attention.
Down in Alabama: the old legend says Bear Bryant was almost coach at Arkansas. AL.com’s Michael Casagrande wrote this great story on how everything changed for Bryant on Pearl Harbor Day.
This one from former college and NFL coach Dave Wannstedt on the Bo Mattingly Show was a bit of an eye-opener.
Wannstedt: Bama has an inexperienced QB. At some point, the wheels will come off. Will it be this week? Who knows, but you better be ready.
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) October 4, 2016
I mean, I guess. Listening to him, things felt like Wannstedt was playing to the audience a little bit. Alabama had inexperienced quarterbacks the last two years, too, and made the College Football Playoff one year and won the national title the other. Optimism is a good trait to have, though.
This is the best team at Arkansas right now
After an 8-1 record in September for the Arkansas soccer team, the Razorbacks are in the midst of what could be their best season in history.
The SEC season is half over and Arkansas has yet to lose an SEC game. Sitting tied atop the league, the Razorbacks are ranked No. 11 in the nation, have the 11th-best RPI and have the 11th-best attendance.
The meatiest part of the schedule comes comes over the next week-and-a-half. Arkansas hosts Vanderbilt on Thursday, travels to South Carolina on Sunday and then to Auburn on Friday, Oct. 14. All three opponents are the ones immediately behind the Razorbacks in the SEC standings. Can you imagine if Arkansas pulls the sweep?
Cross Country freshman Carter Persyn was named SEC Freshman Runner of the Week after finishing 18th (out of 201) in the Chile Pepper Festival over the weekend.
Arkansas’ men’s golf team finished sixth in the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate on Tuesday. The Razorbacks shot a team 861, 21 strokes behind winner Auburn, which is ranked third in the country.
In women’s tennis, Ana Oparenovic and Shannon Hudson fell, 8-5, to Texas A&M’s Rachel Pierson and Rutuja Bhosale in qualifying at the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships and Michigan’s Kate Fahey defeated Oparenovic, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, in singles play. The Razorbacks continue in the consolation rounds Wednesday.
Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas
Baxter County might be getting a new road-side sign. Exciting, right? Not normally, of course, but this one is a little different.
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is proposing a roadside tombstone off Arkansas Highway 5 near the state border with Missouri citing remembrance of the cows who died in a Sept. 25 wreck in that area after a livestock truck crashed.
A tombstone for cows. According to PETA’s press release, this is what the tombstone might look like.
As always, here at SEC Country, we’ll keep you updated if it comes to fruition.