The Southeastern Conference has long been regarded as the premier league in college football. And for good reason.
The league has won seven straight national championships and just had a whopping 63 players selected in the NFL Draft.
As dominant as it may seem, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops doesn’t seem too impressed. During a recent caravan stop, Stoops reportedly called the SEC’s dominance “propaganda” and said the gap between it and the rest of the conferences isn’t as wide as people may think.
Stoops referred to the bottom half of conference as evidence.“Well, it depends on what gap you’re talking about,” Stoops said. “What are the bottom six doing? “So they’ve had the best team in college football,” Stoops said. “They haven’t had the whole conference. Because, again, half of ‘em haven’t done much at all. I’m just asking you. You tell me.”In a way, Stoops does have a point, as flawed as it seems. The five SEC schools, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Auburn, and Tennessee, who failed to go to a bowl game last year were a combined 19-41. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the Big 12, Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State, and Kansas, combined to go 29-35 overall.“It depends on who you want to listen to,” Stoops told the Tulsa World. “Listen, they’ve had the best team in college football, meaning they’ve won the national championship. That doesn’t mean everything else is always the best. “So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you,” he said. “You’re more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?”
Plantation, Florida running back Alex Collins was able to have his father sign his National Letter of Intent, allowing the five-star recruit to join Arkansas 2013 recruiting class, his strange recruitment might have one more hurdle to overcome.
Shortly before Collins’ announcement Thursday, a law firm announced that his mother, Andrea McDonald, had retained its services “to represent the family’s interests” as she contemplated her son’s athletic future.
McDonald’s representation, The Cochran Firm, was founded by attorney Johnnie Cochran, who famously represented O.J. Simpson in his 1995 murder trial. Theoretically, the firm could attempt to invalidate the letter of intent Collins and his father submitted to Arkansas.
“Our client’s initial intentions remain unchanged,” Jack Paris, McDonald’s attorney, said in a statement. “She is a loving and caring mother who only wants her son to choose a university without any outside and inappropriate influences. Ms. McDonald hopes all NCAA rules and regulations were followed during today’s signing.”
A prospect younger than 21 cannot submit an official, binding letter of intent without a legal guardian’s signature. Collins was prevented from signing with Arkansas on Wednesday after his mother confiscated his signing papers and disappeared. His mother preferred that Collins stay closer to home and choose Miami (Fla.), where he was once verbally committed.
While McDonald’s legal team could attempt to nullify Collins’ letter of intent, doing so wouldn’t have an impact on the running back’s commitment, said John Infante, the former assistant director of compliance at Colorado State University who runs the Bylaw Blog for AthleticScholarships.net.
“Basically, the scholarship agreement binds the school to the player. The NLI binds the player to the school. So as long as he has a valid scholarship agreement and applies to and is admitted to Arkansas, he’s going to get his scholarship to go to Arkansas.”
Forget Wheaties boxes. That was so 1990s. Pop Tarts have taken over cereal boxes in the cool athletics collectables category. Five universities have partnered with Kellogg’s on limited edition Pop Tarts.
The flavors are as follows: Michigan’s Pop Tart flavor is Go Blue Strawberry; Georgia is Bulldog Berry; Arkansas is Razorback Red; Florida is Florida Gators Strawberry; and North Carolina is Tar Heel Blue.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban doesn’t like preseason predictions.
“All these predictions that you all make, they hijack the game,” Saban said Sunday before even taking a question in a 17-minute meeting with news media. “All anybody worries about in college football is the BCS, who’s going to be in the final game. We have a lot of great games, for our fans, for our players, great competitive venues.
“Michigan is going to be a great game. The Arkansas game, Tennessee game, LSU, Auburn. I could go through every game on our schedule and say how exciting a game this is going to be.”
Saban is a voter in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll. The preseason poll that came out Friday predicts the Tide at No. 2 in the country behind Southeastern Conference West Division rival LSU.
John L. Smith always believed real estate development was the safest investment of all, saying “you may not make money, but you won’t lose money.”
The Arkansas coach has had to rethink that philosophy in recent years after several of his land deals went bust in Kentucky. Smith told The Associated Press that he is making plans to declare bankruptcy, perhaps during the upcoming season.
“There have been some sleepless nights trying to get this resolved,” Smith said. “There comes a point in time where you say `Enough is enough,’ and I want it cleaned up and whatever we have to do, we have to do.”
Smith, also a former coach at Michigan State and Louisville, was hired in April to replace Bobby Petrino, who was fired after revelations that he had hired his mistress to a position in the football department and given her $20,000 in gifts. Smith was an Arkansas assistant for three seasons under Petrino before leaving in December to become the coach at his alma mater, Weber State.
Following Petrino’s firing, Smith approached Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long about the job as was later signed to a 10-month, $850,000 contract. Long said Smith was up front about his financial problems during the hiring process, and he was comfortable the issues wouldn’t affect Smith’s ability to coach the Razorbacks.
“Certainly, initially, I had concerns, but as he explained the situation to me, it clearly became a bad investment,” Long said. “There’s a large differentiation for me between what we had just gone through and someone who had made a bad financial decision and put himself in a financial difficulty. But at the same there, there was nothing inappropriate other than he had engaged in a risky financial deal.”
Smith said his land investments began through acquaintances while he was the coach at Louisville from 1998-2002, starting with one subdivision development and evolving from there. As the real estate market began to slow several years ago, Smith said, he and his partners faced a difficult time maintaining their investments.
“It just got big,” Smith said, who described his stake as being in the “multi-millions.”
“It was a situation where we all made a little and said, `Well, that’s good. Let’s see if we can make a little more,’” he said. “At that point, the bank was willing to give away money. We got in over our head with land, and then the bubble burst and all this land value dropped and we couldn’t sustain it.”
Smith wasn’t sure exactly how much money he owed to creditors, including some of his former partners, but he has started preparing to declare bankruptcy now. He wasn’t 100 percent certain he’ll have to declare, but said “that’s where I am proceeding to get my plate cleaned up.”
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right fielder Torii Hunter left the team and has been placed on the restricted list after his son was one of five Prosper high school students arrested on sexual assault charges.
Darius McClinton-Hunter, 17, was one of two adults charged with sexual assault on a child, which is a second-degree felony, according to the Prosper Police Department. Two juveniles were also charged and a third was charged with unlawful restraint. The police department also said more charges could be filed. The investigation into the alleged crime started about a month ago.
Hunter was at Angel Stadium earlier but flew back to the Dallas area. The Angels said they do not know when Hunter will return. There is no time restriction that a player can be on the restricted list.
“The context is Torii has a personal matter to take care of,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters. “We’re certainly willing and able to allow him to take all of the time he needs to do that.”
McClinton-Hunter is a talented wide receiver that has drawn heavy interest from schools such as Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, SMU and Texas A&M.
This isn’t a particularly damaging loss for the Angels on the field because they have coverage in the outfield with rookie Mike Trout now manning center.
If you’re interested in owning a vital piece to the Bobby Petrino scandal, today is your lucky day. The website Copart has listed the motorcycle from the infamous crash that eventually led to Petrino’s firing at University of Arkansas in the auction listing.
The motorcycle is listed to be valued at $16,000, but it is need of over $18,000 in repairs. The auction is set to end on May 31st, so talk it over with the wife and get to bidding.
Jessica Dorrell, the former mistress of fired University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino has resigned from her position with the program, school officials announced. Dorrell’s decision to step down as the football team’s student-athlete development coordinator was mutual and there are no immediately plans to re-fill the job, Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement.
Dorrell will be paid about $14,000 to settle “all matters between the parties.”
“While Ms. Dorrell had a legitimate right to apply for and accept a position within the football program, the circumstances surrounding the former coach’s decision to hire her compromised her ability to be effective in such a position,” Long said. “She and I believe she should have the opportunity to move on.”
As part of her resignation, Dorrell agreed she would not attempt to sell or profit from her affiliation with Razorback athletics, officials said.
Long fired Petrino last week for not disclosing that he was having an extramarital affair with Dorrell, as required by conflict of interest rules at the school.
Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player, was a Razorback Foundation fundraiser before she was hired over 158 other applicants for the coordinator position. Petrino announced March 28 that Dorrell would take over the position at a salary of nearly $56,000.
Their affair became public after the two went for a motorcycle ride April 1 and skidded off the road, putting Petrino in the hospital and resulting in a police report that contained her identity.
Long has said the two were in a relationship for a “significant” amount of time. Phone records show they exchanged more than 4,300 text messages and nearly 300 phone calls over the past seven months, and possibly photo and video content.
She was placed on leave after news of the affair broke.
Petrino has apologized and said he would not appeal his firing and seek any of the $18 million buyout that was part of his contract. He had the option to appeal as part of the seven-year contract he agreed to in December 2010. The contract was for more than $3.5 million annually and carried the $18 million mutual buyout clause in 2011 and 2012.
Sometime yesterday two students were spotted riding around the University of Arkansas campus on their motorcycles with blowup dolls on the backseat.
Bobby Petrino is impressed
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to Bobby Petrino who was fired from his job as head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Petrino was involved in a motorcycle early part of last week and by the end of the week it was uncovered he wasn’t the only passenger as previously reported. He was with former student and current aid Jessica Dorrell whom he paid some $20,000 dollars to and had over 4,000 phone calls to phone records showed.
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long placed Bobby Petrino the head football coach on paid leave pending a review, saying he was disappointed Petrino failed to tell school officials that he was riding with a 25-year-old woman when he crashed his motorcycle.
“I don’t know what I’m going to find,” Long said at a news conference, hours after a state police report revealed that the married, 51-year-old was riding Sunday with Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player who now works for the football program, and he told a passer-by not to call 911, then got a ride back to Fayetteville where the Arkansas football coach was met by a state trooper who provides his personal security during the season.
“I am disappointed that coach Petrino did not share with me, when he had the opportunity to, the full extent of the accident and who was involved,” Long said.
Petrino broke four ribs and cracked a neck vertebra in the crash, which he blamed on the wind and having the sun in his eyes. He was forthcoming with police, but failed to tell school administrators or reporters at a news conference on Tuesday about his passenger.
“My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public,” Petrino said in a statement released by the school. “In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details.”
Long set no timetable for his investigation, which could conclude with penalties including suspension or firing for the highly successful coach. Long said he didn’t hear about Dorrell being on the motorcycle until Petrino called him minutes before a police report was released disclosing it.
Dorrell was hired March 28 by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator after serving as a fundraiser with the Razorback Foundation. She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for each incoming player.
Long said he had not decided whether to suspend Dorrell.
Petrino, who is married with four children, didn’t mention he had a passenger during a news conference two days after Sunday’s accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino’s family as saying “no other individuals” were involved. Petrino said then that he had spent Sunday with his wife, Becky, at a lake and was going for an evening ride. His only mention of Dorrell was vague, and without identification.
“When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car,” Petrino said Tuesday. “The guy that was in the passenger’s seat said, `Get in, we’ll just take you right to the hospital instead of waiting,’ and so I got in the car and they headed toward Fayetteville.”
Petrino apologized and acknowledged that he had kept quiet about Dorrell.
“I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said, I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed,” he said.
“Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”
Petrino was taken to a Fayetteville intersection by another passer-by. There, Dorrell left in her own car while Petrino was met by Capt. Lance King, his personal security guard during the season. King took Petrino to a hospital, where he was treated for broken ribs and a cracked neck vertebra.
State police said they planned to question the trooper, looking for “any information Captain King may have learned about the crash” during conversations with Petrino.
Assistant head coach and linebackers coach Taver Johnson has been put in charge of the program in Petrino’s absence. The former Ohio State assistant coach was hired in January.
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino didn’t hide how lucky he felt returning to practice Tuesday, hours after being released from the hospital following a weekend motorcycle crash.
Petrino, speaking for the first time since his Sunday night accident, arrived at Razorback Stadium wearing a neck brace and with multiple scrapes and red spots showing on his nose and face.
The 51-year-old said he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, which occurred on Arkansas Highway 16 in Madison County about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville. State law does not require an adult rider wear a helmet, but Petrino said he plans to wear one in the future.
Petrino, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, said he noticed the sun in his eyes moments before the accident. He also said he broke four ribs in his upper chest and cracked the outside of the C-2 vertebra in his back.
“I’m very fortunate,” Petrino said. “I feel very lucky to be here and be in good health.”
Petrino was released from the hospital late Tuesday morning before heading to work for the start of Arkansas’ already scheduled spring practice. He spoke to the media and answered questions briefly before heading to the press box to observe practice, which his doctors cleared him to do.
He said he was returning home after an evening ride on a scenic road, a favorite of area motorcycle riders. He also said he had ridden in the area before.
“I remember coming around the curve, I was noticing the sun was going to be in my eyes the rest of the way home,” Petrino said. “And then there got to a point where I was not going to be able to maneuver the turn.
“It seemed like 15 seconds where I said, ‘Oh no, here I go.’”
State police spokesman Bill Sadler said Tuesday that Petrino’s accident report wasn’t ready to be released yet, but Petrino said he ended up in the ditch following the crash. Petrino said a passing car was waiting when he climbed from the ditch and took him to meet his state police escort before the two went the rest of the way to the hospital.
Petrino said he “absolutely” had no alcohol on Sunday and that he spent the day with his wife, Becky, at the lake.
“It’s something that really puts a scare in you,” Petrino said. “I can’t say that I’m not going to ride a motorcycle again because I might do that. The ironic thing is we were sitting there in the kitchen, Becky and I, and I had two helmets out. I said, ‘This one’s going to be really heavy and hot, and then this one makes me look like a cone head. I think I’ll just go with the hat.’
”Obviously, bad call. We wouldn’t have converted the third down.”
Federal authorities are investigating suspended Auburn point guard Varez Ward for alleged point shaving involving in at least two games this season, Yahoo Sports reported Thursday.
The report cited anonymous sources and said the FBI began an investigation in late February centering on losses to Alabama on Feb. 7 and Arkansas on Jan. 25.
NCAA officials say they are “very concerned” by the allegations and have been in contact with the school and federal investigators since the issue arose last month.
“The NCAA takes any allegation of point shaving very seriously because sports wagering threatens two of our core principles – the well-being of student-athletes and the very integrity of intercollegiate sport,” the NCAA said in a written statement Thursday. “As allegations of point shaving, if proven, are also potential federal crimes, the NCAA will defer action until any process with the FBI has concluded.”
Ward and guard Chris Denson were both suspended before a Feb. 25 game against Arkansas, but Denson returned for the next game. Denson was questioned and cleared of involvement in point shaving, the report said.
“Auburn officials were made aware of a rumor regarding an allegation two weeks ago and immediately reported it to the FBI, the NCAA and the SEC,” Auburn said in a statement Thursday. “Because of the nature of the allegation, Auburn is not in a position to make any further comment on the situation.”
The report said a player reported concerns to an assistant coach in late February.
Auburn coach Tony Barbee has said only that Ward and Denson violated team rules, and he declined to address any allegations specifically after Thursday night’s loss to Mississippi in the opening round of the SEC tournament.
“Obviously our university released a statement which I totally support and stand behind, and obviously because of the nature of the allegations and the story, and because of the statement, I won’t be able to elaborate or answer any questions or make any further comment,” Barbee said.
Ward didn’t play in the final three games of the regular season or travel with the team to New Orleans for the Southeastern Conference tournament, where the Tigers lost their first round game, 68-54 to Mississippi on Thursday night.
Denson played 32 minutes and scored 11 points against the Rebels, but declined to speak with reporters after the game. His teammates also deferred comments to their coach.
Yahoo Sports reported that other Auburn players were questioned about whether Ward tried to get them to participate in the alleged point shaving.
Ward, a Texas transfer, has averaged 9.0 points a game and leads the Tigers in assists.
Ward scored three points and had six turnovers in the 68-50 loss to Alabama, playing 17 minutes. Vegas Insider said Alabama was favored by five points.
Ward lasted only 19 seconds after coming off the bench in the 56-53 defeat against Arkansas before crumpling to the floor. Barbee later said Ward took a knee to the right leg he had injured early in his sophomore season with the Longhorns, when he ruptured his quadriceps tendon on a dunk during pregame warm-ups. Auburn still covered the 9 1/2-point spread.
During one of the segments in the debut of Costas Tonight on NBC Sports Network, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones chimed in on a topic that had been addressed before he took the stage. Jones, who played college football at Arkansas, said that he has had “50 concussions.”
He then joked that, if he hadn’t suffered so many blows to the head, he would have been the President of the U.S. instead of the owner of the Cowboys.
Jones quickly pointed out he wasn’t trying to make light of the challenges players are facing. Still, some may believe that the remark came off as a bit insensitive to the plight of the men who are suffering the effects of a career of concussions especially on the same day that Hall of Fame running back and former Cowboy Tony Dorsett added his name to a lawsuit thats suing the NFL along with Riddell over concussions.
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to the Texas A&M University Aggies for failing to show up after halftime for the second week in a row. The Aggies once again carried a lead into the second half this time against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Jerry’s World, a week after blowing a 17-point halftime lead at home to Oklahoma State. Texas A&M scored five touchdowns in the first half but only was able to manage a field goal afterwards. It also marked the seven straight game the Aggies have dropped to SEC teams dating back to 1995.
The Aggies have been outscored 52-12 in the second half over the past two weeks as their defense has surrendered nearly 600 yards of total offense after halftime.
It’s training camp time in the NFL and that means rookies get to thrown to the hazing gauntlet and it’s no different with the New England Patriots. That’s where rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett had to carry the pads of Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer.
The Sugar Bowl was played five months ago but that doesn’t mean University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino has gotten over the fact that five suspended Ohio State players were allowed to face the Razorbacks. The Buckeyes beat Petrino’s team 31-26 with starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas in their lineup after seeing their penalties pushed to the start of the 2011 season.
“There’s no question that I don’t understand how they were eligible to play in the game,” Petrino said Tuesday. “I just don’t, and I never will. They (the NCAA) kind of changed the rules for that bowl game.”
As a competitor Petrino said he was fine with Arkansas facing the best Ohio State players in the game even though it certainly was detrimental to his team.
University of Arkansas Razorbacks freshman wide receiver Quinta Funderburk took to Twitter to show off his amazing new cut. Funderburk had the word Razorbacks and his number all cut into the back of his head graffiti-esque. Tony Allen is impressed.
According to Pro Football Weekly University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett confirmed to NFL teams during the Combine that he at least experimented with drugs during his college years. In Combine interviews, he reportedly came clean about recreational use according to one General Manager.
The NFL General Manager said that Mallet was the first quarterback ever to admit his drug usage to him in interviews and his willingness to be honest about his past and acknowledge issues is viewed as a positive.
Concerns about his history of use could impact his draft position, though. Although Mallett did not produce an official positive test at Arkansas, he has been arrested for public intoxication and carries a reputation as a “big party guy,” per sources who have interviewed him. How much teams believe he has matured will weigh into his draft status. “I would not take him at any point,” one executive not in need of a quarterback said. He still figures to be drafted in the second round.
The event may be old since the Sugar Bowl occurred last Monday but this video just recently went viral and in it shows the Ohio State team heading into halftime to through their tunnel under a cloud of Arkansas fans. That’s where quarterback Terrelle Pryor snatched a Razorbacks fans sign away from them.
Just funny how 75 percent of the team already passed under the sign with no problem and the one player to reach up and grab the sign is the one player to have all the negative hype surrounding him entering the Sugar Bowl
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features The Ohio State University Buckeyes taking on University of Arkansas Razorbacks in the 77th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl at Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Arkansas, 10-2, 6-2 SEC, Razorbacks were viewed as an SEC contender earlier in the season but on the biggest stages in SEC play came up short, falling at home to Alabama and then again at Auburn. Head coach Bobby Petrino has a balanced offensive attack as his team uses the pass to set up the run as they average 489.2 yards of total offense, with 338.4 coming via the pass.
Arkansas is led by standout quarterback Ryan Mallett who threw for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns. One of Mallett’s favorite targets is tight end D.J. Williams led the way among pass catchers with 49 receptions for 589 yard and 4 touchdowns. Mallet spread the ball around a lot this year as 6 different receivers had at least 4 touchdowns on the season.
The ground game is led by tailback Knile Davis and his 1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns for a huge 6.6 yards per carry.
Ohio State, 11-1, 7-1 Big Ten, The Buckeyes shared the Big Ten title with Michigan State and Wisconsin, and earned their 6th straight BCS Bowl bid and 9th overall, the most among all Division I schools. The lone loss on the season came in Madison against the Badgers but the team rebounded to win 5 straight to the first school in Big Ten history to win at least 10 games in six consecutive seasons.
Head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes, had an NCAA investigation on their hands that left five players status for this game in question, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor. However the five in question will be suspended for the first five games next season and were recently cleared to play in this game, providing they gave a commitment to return to Columbus next year.
Pryor’s suspension will cover the first five games of next season, so he will be under center tonight orchestrating an offensive that amassed almost 450 yards total per game, with tremendous balance. One of the few teams in the country with over 200 yards both rushing (219.7 ypg) and passing (229.2 ypg).
Pryor completed 65.8 percent of his throws for 2,551 yards and 25 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. When Pryor looked downfield he could either look left for Dane Sanzenbacker and his 52 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns or to his right for DeVier Posey,who will also sit the first five games in 2011, and his 50 catches for 778 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Tailback Dan Herron, who will also sit the first five games in 2011, rushed for 1,068 yards and 15 touchdowns on 5.6 ypc. Pryor got involved as well ranking second with 639 yards and 4 touchdowns.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools.
PICK: The Ohio State University Buckeyes
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Arkansas Razorbacks taking on Mississippi State University Bulldogs in Starkville.
Last weekend, Arkansas took a break from SEC play to battle Texas-El Paso, and the result of that mismatch was a 58-21 victory. The Razorbacks now own a four-game win streak that has enabled them to move to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in SEC action.
Head coach Bobby Petrino has one of the most explosive offensive football teams in the nation. They are currently averaging 37 ppg and 491.9 total ypg, and it all starts with star quarterback Ryan Mallett. Through 10 games, he has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,967 yards and 24 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Leading receiver Greg Childs is out for the season with an injury, but D.J. Williams, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright are all talented targets. As for the ground attack, Knile Davis leads the way with 844 yards and 10 scores.
Mallett was masterful against UTEP last weekend, completing 19-of-26 passes for 215 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Williams scored twice, and Davis racked up 182 rushing yards and one touchdown on only 11 carries.
Opponents are scoring 21 ppg against Arkansas, which is yielding 329.7 total ypg. The Razorbacks are rather mediocre against the run, permitting 4.1 yards per carry and 152.7 ypg. Jerry Franklin leads Arkansas with 70 total tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Mississippi State entered last weekend’s showdown with Alabama sporting a six-game win streak, the longest for the program since 1999. Unfortunately the Bulldogs fell in Tuscaloosa by a 30-10 final.
Head coach Dan Mullen offense struggled against Alabama, a statement that isn’t surprising considering the 30-10 final score. Chris Relf connected on 8-of-16 passes for 70 and was intercepted once before being relieved by Tyler Russell, who went 4-for-7 for 80 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs. They finished with 299 total yards and permitted five sacks, overshadowing a 9- of-18 effort on third down conversion attempts.
Overall this season, MSU is averaging 26 ppg and 374.8 total ypg, and Mullen has used both Relf and Russell in several games. Neither quarterback has been overly impressive throwing the football, but Relf has run for three scores. Chad Bumphis paces the receivers with 38 catches for 545 yards and five touchdowns, while Vick Ballard leads the ground attack with 699 yards and 12 scores.
MSU has been a solid defensive team for the most part, limiting opponents to 18 ppg and 348.3 total ypg. The Bulldogs are particularly tough against the run, holding foes to 121.2 ypg at a clip of 3.6 yards per carry.
Arkansas owns a 13-6-1 series lead over Mississippi State.
PICK: University of Arkansas Razorbacks
This game goes down on the ESPNU network and it features University of Texas at El Paso Miners taking on the University of Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium.
Head coach Mike Price has his Miners bowl eligible after last weekends 28-14 victory over SMU. That victory halted a three-game skid for the Miners, who opened the season with wins in five of their first six games.
Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe leads a UTEP team that is averaging 26.5 ppg and 373.4 total ypg. Vittatoe has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,260 yards and 19 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. Kris Adams is a dangerous wideout for the team, as he has recorded 743 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 37 catches. As for the ground attack, Joe Banyard has rushed for 418 yards and five touchdowns.
Opponents are posting 21 ppg against UTEP, which is surrendering 373.0 total ypg. The Miners have been mediocre against both the run and the pass, and with only 13 takeaways and 11 sacks there has been a glaring lack of big plays made. Trevaun Nixon is tops with three interceptions, but the team clearly lacks a defensive standout.
Head coach Bobby Petrino leads his Razorbacks into this matchup seeking it’s fourth consecutive wins. They are 7-2 overall and 4-2 in SEC action after they crushed South Carolina last weekend on the road by a 41-20 final.
Arkansas, which is averaging 35 ppg and 482.4 total ypg. The Razorback offense is led by Ryan Mallett, an elite signal caller who has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 2,752 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Mallett’s top target, Greg Childs, was recently lost for the season with a knee injury, but with D.J. Williams, Joe Adams and other talented receivers in the mix, Arkansas should be able to overcome that loss. Knile Davis has played well at the tailback position, as he has rushed for 662 yards and nine scores.
The Razorbacks are allowing 156.7 rushing ypg and 170.2 passing ypg.
Arkansas won its only previous meeting with UTEP back in 1989.
PICK: University of Arkansas Razorbacks
Mike Zimmer is a straight forward kind of guy. When he is asked a question he doesn’t beat around the bush. So when he was asked about his time with Bobby Petrino with the Atlanta Falcons, the straight forward Zimmer did not hold anything back.
“I was never even there. As far as I am concerned. I never even was there. When a coach quits in the middle of the year and ruins a bunch of people’s families and doesn’t’ have enough guts to at least finish out the year. I am not a part of that.”
Fair enough. Petrino did leave the Falcons organization in disarray, but Zimmer was not even close to being finished with Petrino. When asked how he felt about Petrino quitting and 24 hours later he accepted the Arkansas job, Zimmer went off.
“No, most people in football have enough courage about them and enough fight to stick through something and not quit halfway through the year. It is cowardly. He came in and said he resigned, he would talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has ever talked to him since. Not that anybody wanted to. “He’s a gutless bitch. Quote that. I don’t give a shit.”
When told that we might not be able to use the B word, Zimmer went one better: “How about this, gutless MF. You can use that.”