The Smile! Train: How a Razorback fan can enjoy the Auburn game

Mike Zarrilli - Getty Images

With another long week behind them, the Razorbacks head to Auburn in search of their first SEC win. Here are a few surefire ways to make sure Hog fans enjoy the game.

Another week, another long, slow descent into madness and despair.

For most of the first half against Texas A&M, things went surprisingly well. But that was about it. The second half was pure, unadulterated torture.

I can feel the entire state of Arkansas already preparing itself to hate Johnny Manziel for the next three years.

But now it's on to Auburn week - and the Razorbacks encounter what appears to be a winnable game against a Tiger team that has had an up-and-down season.

Auburn has played a tough schedule to this point, but their performances against Clemson, Mississippi State, Louisiana-Monroe and LSU have been very muddled. On one hand, the Tiger offense frequently looks about as effective as a broken slinky trying to go down the stairs. On the other hand, Auburn fought LSU all the way to the final whistle and very nearly pulled off the upset.

Altogether, it's hard to tell which Tiger team is going to come out of the tunnel this Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Perhaps the single biggest things that could come out of this game is this: One win by Arkansas could change the complexion of the conference. If John L. Smith is able to somehow able to outfox Gene Chizik in this contest, it could spell doom for Chizik's tenue at Auburn. (Heavy emphasis on the word somehow.)

While a national title has helped stave off Chizik's detractors so far, the rapid regression of the Tigers in the post-Cam Newton era has many on the Plains already looking elsewhere, and with good reason.

It's not inconceivable that Arkansas' offense could pull out a win, but perhaps the best thing for the Hogs to do would be to tank Saturday's game in order to make sure Chizik wins as many games as possible this season. The more games Chizik wins, the less chance he has of being fired. If he's not fired, there is one fewer coaching vacancy in the SEC - and one less program to compete against in the high-stakes musical chairs game of finding a new coach.

Keep your hands off Willie Taggart, you filthy Alabamians.

With all that said, here's a few additional ideas to help you take in Saturday's game and still have fun doing it.

Tip 1: Delight in karmic retribution.

Cam Newton is being torched in the media for being acting like a circus clown after scoring a touchdown in a blowout, then sulking about said blowout afterward.

Nick Fairley is in trouble with the law.

Michael Dyer is not on a football field anywhere.

Trooper Taylor is suffering from a severe case of tennis elbow that makes him unable to twirl a towel around his head. (Yeah, I made that one up.)

Really, all of this is punishment for 2010. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Tip 2: Remember what a tackle looks like: Tackle, verb. To seize and throw down or stop (an opposing player with the ball) in football.

Jerico Nelson studied this definition for days back in 2009, and it all came to fruition when he turned Mario Fannin into an orange-and white Flat Stanley.

Tip 3: Catch yourself up on the Arkansas coaching search:

Charlie Strong has been the biggest name on the Razorbacks' radar so far this year, but the Louisville head coach sounded pretty clear about his intention to stay with the Cardinals yesterday on the Jim Rome show.

"You don't just walk away when you're building a program," Strong said. "I look at the players I recruited here. I told them to come here for me and for this university. And then all the sudden I get a shot to go somewhere else and I walk away from them? I'm just not cut like that, Jim. I am happy where I am.

"The Athletic Director and President here gave me my first opportunity. I owe it to them to uphold what we had talked about."

Naturally, this kind of problem arises in almost every coaching search, and coaches jump ship all the time to capitalize on a bigger opportunity. Sure, the media excoriates them for being "weasels," but I doubt any coach really cares what Gene Wojciechowski or a message board troll thinks.

But based on this statement and the fact that the Louisville athletic director said he would match anyone's salary offer to keep Strong in Louisville, it certainly appears that Strong might be leading the Cardinals for a while.

If you're interested in checking out the work of other coaching candidates, the 11:00 start means that you have plenty of time to scope out other games and how those coaches run their teams. For example, Arkansas State and Florida International play on Thursday night, and Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette play on Saturday night. Unfortunately, Louisville, Baylor and Western Kentucky are all off this weekend.

Tip 4: Spend an hour behind enemy lines.

If you haven't seen ESPN's documentary Roll Tide/War Eagle yet, I highly recommend setting aside some time to watch it.

It's a good examination of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry as well as a candid look at how football has become such an integral part of Southern culture.

As an Arkansas native, it's interesting to consider how different the state would be if there were two SEC teams - two bitter rivals - contained within the square borders of the state.

Could you imagine if Bo Mattingly or Randy Rainwater or Wally Hall were the firebrands that Paul Finebaum is? What it'd be like to get smug or disgusted looks from Arkansas State fans whenever they see you wearing a Razorbacks shirt? To not talk to your neighbors if, God forbid, the Red Wolves beat the Hogs in the annual Thanksgiving rivalry game in Little Rock?

It makes me shudder.

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