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Never let it be said Jeff Long doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Earlier this year, the Arkansas athletic director helped push forward an initiative to renovate Donald W. Reynolds Stadium, a welcome addition. Catch was, a majority of seats inside the stadium would see the price-to-purchase increase. Most people were OK with it. Some were not.
Now, though, Long looks shrewd as ever. The Arkansas-Alabama game is a sellout (which really was a cinch considering the Crimson Tide are icons) and so is, more shockingly, this weekend’s game against Texas State.
— Jeff Long (@jefflongUA) September 15, 2016
That’s right. Texas State is a sellout. Games against opponents like that haven’t sold out in Fayetteville in years. That doesn’t mean there might not be some empty spots, of course, but that’s mostly common wherever you go. And let’s be real here, a ticket sold is a ticket sold.
Chalk it up as another win for Long in a tenure that’s been filled with lots of Ws since, uh, that incident with the previous full-time football coach.
Rollin’ in it
The above isn’t just patting Long on the back. There are concrete results. Take, for example, this…
— Elvis Moya (@ElvisMoyaUA) September 15, 2016
Arkansas football revenue is more than $66 million dollars, good for 15th highest in the country, according to Kantar Media. It’s seventh in the SEC, but whatever. It’s clear the monies in northwest Arkansas are coming in just fine, which is probably part of why Long and company could sell the board on stadium expansion and improvement.
OK, enough about business. This is football season. How about some actual on-field stuff?
Someone – or maybe multiple people, who knows – in the athletic department decided to rank the top 10 plays of the Bret Bielema era at Arkansas. Let’s not waste any time getting into it at this point because I made a C+ in economics, so I don’t need any more dollar signs thrown my way.
Ranking the 10 wildest plays we've had since 2013!
— Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) September 15, 2016
10. Alex Collins’ bruising touchdown run in last year’s Liberty Bowl
This was AC’s goodbye and an important touchdown as Kansas State had just Arkansas’ lead to one possession. Heck of a way to go out.
9. Jonathan Williams’ pinball romp against Texas A&M in 2013
Sort of forgot Hogs made this game close for a while in Bielema’s first season. Williams took the pass from Brandon Allen and banged around off dudes before cutting A&M’s lead to five points late in the third
8. AJ Derby throwing the stiff arm in a touchdown against Alabama in 2014
OK, this should be higher. That moment we realized Derby wasn’t that terrible back-up quarterback we all saw the season before. Reminded me of this at the time. Still does…
7. Sam Irwin-Hill’s fake-punt-turned-pass against Rutgers in 2013
This is the one I’d take out. Neat and all, but nothing extraordinary other than ‘trick play.’
6. Rohan Gaines’ 100-yard pick-six against Ole Miss in 2014
The main thing I remember about this was how gassed Gaines was at the end. That and the win made Arkansas bowl-eligible for the first time in what felt like much longer than it actually was.
5. Brandon Allen’s two-point conversion catch against Mississippi State last year
An oft-forgotten play until last weekend when little brother did the same thing against TCU.
4. Irwin-Hill going 51 yards on a fake-punt run for a score against Texas A&M in 2014
See, this one I can get behind. Punters running for scores are impressive. Sort of like #FatGuyTouchdown, only even more rare.
3. Keon Hatcher’s throw to Austin Allen for two points last weekend
In its importance, huge. In its impressiveness, not sure it’s No. 3.
2. Sebastian Tretola’s touchdown throw against UAB in 2014
The opposite of No. 3. Not important whatsoever, but it was a football cultural phenomenon for a couple weeks after.
1. The Hunter Heave
I get not putting two plays from the same game in there, but, man, not having Brandon Allen’s dive into the end zone that ultimately beat Ole Miss in there feels like a whiff. Accordingly, here. Have at it.
- The Arkansas women’s cross country team will split the squad Saturday, taking runners to both Riverside, California, for the Riverside Invitational and Joplin, Missouri, for the Southern Stampede. (Side note: Joplin is a nice town and all, but how disappointing must it be to go there as opposed to southern California?)
- Arkansas volleyball is back at Barnhill Arena on Friday after a three-week absence. The Razorbacks host the Arkansas Invitational this weekend, a round-robin tournament including 25th-ranked Kansas State, Missouri-Kansas City and Southern Mississippi.
- One day after a column on frustrations with Long’s treatment of some in-state fans, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette had another writer go the opposite way, saying Jeff Long “cares” about those outside NWA.
- Bret Bielema may be old-school in his style, but not in approach, writes our Trent Shadid.
- Some enterprising Arkansas students created a Buffalo Wild Wings parody on the TCU-Arkansas finish from last week. Take a look.
Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas
There are rats in Little Rock! And I don’t mean the politicians. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writes…
The interior of the governor’s private office at his state-provided residence will have to be demolished to deal with the lingering smell of rats, first lady Susan Hutchinson told the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Commission on Wednesday.
The rat infestation was removed and new insulation installed, but the stench remains, she said.
“You can walk in there today and still smell the rat stench. It looks fine, but it’s hideous smelling,” Hutchinson said. “It just permeated anything that would absorb air.”
Actually, I’m not sure which is worse. The politicians or the actual rodents. Oh, well.