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Prediction Time: What Does Our Crystal Ball Say About 2009?

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With only five days to go until the Hogs' season opener, it's time to unveil our highly anticipated predictions for the Razorbacks' 2009 season.  Once again, we have turned to our staff soothsayer, a Russian immigrant who claims to be hundreds of years old and who is known affectionately around the office as Rasputin (that's him in the picture above).

Rasputin sleeps in a chamber of pure oxygen and has arrived at his prognostications after a month of intensive prayer, meditation, fasting and chanting (and - don't tell the authorities - occasional peyote consumption). So, what does Rasputin foresee? Read on ...

Missouri State (9/5) - Given the 1992 upset by The Citadel and last year's unexpected nail-biters against Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe, if anyone should be leery of early-season games against ho-hum non-conference opponents, it should be Hog fans. However, Rasputin is not leery. He's predicting the Hogs to roll in this one - and in similar buy-a-win contests against Eastern Michigan and TroyW

Georgia (9/19) - Many in the media have pegged this game as an upset by the Hogs. Not Rasputin. He thinks the Hogs will play well and lead the Bulldogs for the bulk of the fourth quarter, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion in the final minutes. Think of it as this year's version of this game. L

at Alabama (9/26) - The Tide win this one rather handily. L


Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas (10/3) - Considering the defenses that both teams possess, this could very well be one hell of a shootout. Rasputin says the Hogs will prevail in a game that will be closer than some think. W

Auburn (10/10) - It's a brave new world: For the first time since 2004, the home team in this series will win. W

at Florida (10/17) - Hogs lose, and it gets kind of ugly. The day is not a total loss, though: In a moving post-game encounter, Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will cure one Hog fan's tinnitus and another Hog fan's diverticulosis. L

at Ole Miss (10/24) - Like us, Rasputin is confident that Bobby will get the better of Houston Dale over the long haul. Not this year, though, as HDN still has enough of someone else's recruits to walk away with the victory. L

Eastern Michigan (10/31) - See Missouri State. W


South Carolina (11/7) - The Hogs will struggle on the road (considering who they play, that's no wonder), but they will generally play well at home. This game is no exception, and the Hogs avenge last year's loss in Columbia. Despite the loss, the Gamecocks may very well have an enjoyable trip to and from Fayetteville. W

Troy (11/14) - See Missouri State. W

Mississippi State (11/21) - Considering last year's egg-laying in Starkville, Rasputin hesitated for a second before declaring this game a decisive Hog victory. But only a second. W

at LSU (11/28) - Perhaps it's because moving this game from Friday to Saturday messes with their mojo, but the Hogs lose a well-played game before what seems like millions of drunk, angry Cajuns. Les Miles add insult to injury by once again mispronouncing "Arkansas" during the post-game presentation of The Boot. L

Add it all up, and Rasputin is predicting a 7-5 regular-season record and a minor bowl appearance. His crystal ball got a little cloudy when it came time to foresee exactly where the Hogs will play, but Rasputin is predicting a bowl-game victory.

Now that's change we can believe in!