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Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is a polarizing figure in Arkansas right now.

Homer or hater? Opinions on Arkansas football varied as national politics right now

Eric Bolin

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.

Bret Bielema and Jeff Long are in things together

If you hate Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, you can say he was the man who fired Bobby Petrino, the winningest coach Arkansas has had in the modern era.

If you love Long, you can say he was the man who hired Petrino, the winningest coach Arkansas has had in the modern era.

Both can be either good or bad decisions, depending on your own personal disposition.

Similar views can be taken with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, the most recent football hire Long has made. As with everything, neither view is correct. Or both are. We live in an age of extremity and it’s no different with what’s going on with the Arkansas football program now.

But no matter whether you love them, hate them or don’t think either way about them, the truth is the Hogs would not be where they are today without them. Long and Bielema, inarguably, saved Razorbacks football.

And that means for both good and bad.

Arkansas baseball brings good news

Longtime readers of Hogs for Breakfast know college baseball is my A-1 favorite sport to cover. Nothing else comes close. Accordingly, you will have to pardon me for putting baseball up this high in the middle of football season. But I think you are going to want to see this.

Baseball America ranked the 2017 recruiting classes at programs around the country. The Razorbacks ranked third.

You read that right. Third-best recruiting class in the nation is on-campus, playing fall ball right now for coach Dave Van Horn.

Arkansas is absolutely loaded with that bunch and the return of outfielder Luke Bonfield, infielder Carson Shaddy and starting pitching Blaine Knight. On paper, the 2018 Diamond Hogs are going to be an absolute force.

This is what happens when you scare the national champs

Arkansas basketball was a national favorite last season. Perhaps out of pity, but everyone who doesn’t wear Carolina Blue was rooting for the Razorbacks to knock off North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament last season. And when it didn’t happen, hearts were broken.

People noticed and people remembered. National, important people remembered. That’s why Arkansas is on the ESPN family of networks 20 times next season.

Those are not just SEC Network and ESPNU games, either. Coach Mike Anderson’s team is scheduled to play eight games on ESPN or ESPN2. Ten games are slated for SEC Network and another two are on ESPNU. The Phil Knight Invitational Tournament could make those numbers increase, too.

And while Arkansas basketball isn’t projected to be quite as good as its second-round team last season, the Razorbacks are going to be right there among the NCAA Tournament would-bes. Now, the country can watch them.

Bret Bielema, Arkansas still seeking kicker

Turns out, Cole Hedlund may still have his gig.

Or not.

Bielema had his weekly local media press conference on Wednesday and said the Razorbacks’ junior kicker still has a shot at the job. After Hedlund missed 20- and 23-yard attempts against TCU, Bielema seemed to say Hedlund was done as Arkansas’ No. 1. He backed off that pedal Wednesday.

Still, smart money is on Blake Mazza as the field goal and extra-point man come Sept. 23 against Texas A&M.

ICYMI

  • The top JUCO commit on Arkansas’ 2018 board is visiting Oklahoma. Our Trent Shadid reports that is not a big deal, though.
  • On our weekly “Sound Off,” Trent and I put a cap on TCU and discuss whether Texas A&M is a must-win for the Razorbacks.
  • With Arkansas struggling early this season and Arkansas State playing well, now is as good a time as any to bring up the annual “Why don’t the Razorbacks play in-state schools?” for some. Brooks Kubena at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette provided this piece.
  • Ken Hamlin was the best player on the college football team closest to where I grew up. He then played for my favorite NFL team (when I last had one). I’m a big fan. Bob Holt at the Democrat-Gazette caught up with him after his Hall of Honor induction Saturday.
  • Chase Hayden will get more carries next week. You can almost guarantee it after Bielema’s and offensive coordinator Dan Enos’ pressers Wednesday. Jimmy Carter at WholeHogSports wrote about it.
  • Arkansas student-athletes are taking part in a relief effort for victims of Hurricane Irma. You can head to the Northwest Arkansas Mall on Friday to meet some of your favorites. Bring donations!

Tweets and the like

Oh, man. This went under the radar Wednesday. But one professional handicapper has Arkansas over Auburn right now. This minute. Danny Sheridan is taking Hogs over Tigers. Whoa.

I don’t recommend doing a Twitter search for “Matt Reynolds.” The former Arkansas infielder is in the majors with the New York Mets but hasn’t had the greatest of seasons. Mets fans aren’t in love. But Reynolds has overachieved his whole career. Why not now?

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.