The excellent collegefootballnews.com always has a five thoughts section. My brain and I got together and decided I could do one more thought to make it six here on our website. So here are six initial thoughts about the upcoming game with East Carolina. Please add your thoughts in the comment section. Then be sure to read the excellent interview below concerning the 1969 Game of the Century.
1.) Is this a lose / kinda lose game for the Hogs? I don't think so. Nationally, of course, we won't have scented footballs thrown at our feet for beating East Carolina (if we do), but I think it is very important from a momentum standpoint to get a bowl win. We made progress from 5-7 (no bowl), and now we need to take the next step to (7-5) plus a bowl win. The whole vibe around the program was much better for the LSU victory in Little Rock last year. I think the vibe gets even better ending the season with a bowl win of any kind.
2.) If the game is played in nasty weather, give an advantage to the Pirates. If you saw the Conference USA Championship game last weekend, you know the Pirates have played in the muck. The Hogs, on the other hand, they've had nice weather all season. Does the Petrino offense work when cold and wet?
3.) Personally, though I know it isn't as high profile as the Capital One Bowl and doesn't pay as much, I still like the idea of going to a bowl that has kept something of its original name and hasn't gone all corporate on us. And as you can see by the picture here, not a bad looking trophy. Better looking than a credit card! haha.
4.) Did Willy and the boys luckout by not getting the pass happy Houston offense to deal with? Either way, I wonder if this game might not be a mini job interview for Willy. If the Hogs really stink it up on defense, might Petrino go looking for someone else? This is not a good year to be named "Willy" and hold the title of defensive coordinator in the SEC (See Georgia). I guess it will depend also upon which coaches are out there. I have to think that Petrino is keeping his eyes open during the coaching shuffle that is December.
5.) Psychology is so important with bowl trips. I hope the Hogs aren't feeling the least bit slighted about not going to the Cotton Bowl. As much as it pains me to say it, Ole Miss did beat us, so I don't have a problem with them getting the nod over the Hogs. The Liberty Bowl feels about right for our Razorbacks at this stage. If they had won at Baton Rouge and got the Capital One, then they are probably in over their heads against a good Penn State team coached by the bowl game master Paterno (23-11-1). And getting in over their heads with a late season rally seems to be a Hog trait (eg - 2008 Cotton Bowl) when it comes to bowl games.
6.) Bobby Petrino at the moment is a .500 bowl coach who won the Liberty while in Conference USA and the Orange as part of the Big East. Our last coach had never been the head coach at a bowl game when he coached the Hogs in the Citrus to a loss. And Nutt never really got the hang of winning bowl games at Arkansas, one of my biggest bones of contention with his era. I like to think that Petrino brings a better talent for the art and science that is bowl preparation. One thing I think we can be certain of, Bobby Petrino won't be texting a female reporter from Fort Smith just before kickoff. haha.