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UTEP Proves to be Another Step Towards Ten Wins & Possibly Much More

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Unlike most Sunday posts after a Razorback game, I am doing this one without having actually seen the game itself. Yeah, I had a bye week of sorts with the Hogs. They appeared on ESPNU, and I am just an ESPN and ESPN2 football citizen when it comes to my cable package. Though I thought the Hogs very well might start the game like they did against Vanderbilt, which proved to be true, I figured they would dominate in the end, which also proved to be true. Thanks to the Hogs being in the Top 25, the ticker at the bottom of the screen kept me updated with the basics throughout the night as I watched the slate of other night games. A shoutout is also in order to my friend, Shannon, who provided color and some play-by-play via the telephone. He is an ESPNU football citizen. With that said, my thoughts on the weekend are more general in nature and cover not just the Hogs but other goings-on in the world of college football that was Saturday, November the 13th, Day Something Or Another in the Cam Newton, College Football Held Hostage, Crisis.

* Not sure why Gameday was in Columbus, Ohio, for this weekend and not at Cecil Newton's church in Georgia, but there they were. I think Herbie just wanted to stay home for a weekend. It isn't like Ohio State vs. Penn. State was really that big of a game. If you caught the end where Herbie's kids came onto the set, you might be under the impression that Herbstreit knows a lot about college football and cloning.

* Congratulations to Corso for picking Notre Dame over Utah. I found myself pulling for Notre Dame simply because the overrated Utes were ahead of the Hogs in the polls. In what was the best fourth quarter of the day, I also found myself pulling for the Northwestern Wildcats to beat Iowa for the same reason. The Hawkeyes were ahead of the Hogs. 

* It seemed like my whole day of college football watching was dominated by picking a team I don't really care for to win in order to help the Hogs in some way. That was never more true than holding my nose and pulling for Auburn to beat Georgia. I also pulled for South Carolina thinking they might be an easier opponent for Auburn to beat in Atlanta. But after seeing what uninspired football the Gators are up to these days, I am thinking maybe I should have pulled for Florida!

* I did draw the line at pulling for Texas (spit) to beat Oklahoma State, which is ranked higher in the polls than Arkansas. Just couldn't pull for Texas (spit again), and besides, I am rather enjoying their year of woe.

* Observation: Did anyone see Cecil Newton in the stands at the Auburn / Georgia game? I know they often like to show parents in the stands. But I don't recall seeing Mr. Newton senior being shown. Maybe he would have demanded money for his air time? haha.

* As Aaron Murray was torching Auburn for touchdown after touchdown, I had the thought that Auburn would give up a 1000 points to Oregon in a national championship game. But then Oregon went and put up only 15 points against the Cal Bears. Go figure.  

* I wonder what the over/under is going to be for Indiana's next game. They gave up a record 83 points to Wisconsin!

* Still, not a single gray hair on Tony Barnhart's head. Only his stylist knows, haha.

* Did you see where in the Kentucky / Vanderbilt game they took out Larry Smith for play due to some equipment problem and inserted the backup, Funk? Yeah, well, Funk fumbled the ball on the next play. Vandy recovered, but that drive ended up not going anywhere. Funk was the guy who came in and sparked the Hogs two weeks ago when it looked like Larry Smith couldn't do anything wrong. Only Vandy would have a player named, Funk, who comes in and plays like a real downer for his team.

* The Have We Ever Done This Before Question: In talking with my friend over the phone, it occured to us that the Hogs have beaten all three Eastern Division opponents this year, Vanderbilt, Georgia, South Carolina. Have the Hogs ever done that since joining the SEC? We did in 2006, but then lost to Florida in the championship game, so I think this is the only year possibly that the Hogs have beaten all the Eastern teams that they've played.

* The Greek Mythology Reference of the Week: Could we be Achilles? In the sense that Achilles had only one weak spot, his heel, which is where his mother was holding him when she dipped him in the waters of the river Styx. Our weak spot this is year is playing teams from the state of Alabama. Teams from Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi have all tried to beat the Hogs and have failed. And we won't play any additional teams from the Yellow Hammer state. Just maybe we are good for the rest of the season! haha.

* Speaking of Eastern teams, how about Tennessee and the Derek Dooley Era finally getting a conference win this Saturday. Ole Miss was the gift that kept on giving in terms of turnovers (Masoli) at the Manning Bowl. I think Ole Miss is a case in point that you are better off to just suffer with the new quarterback you already have and get him some experience rather than bring in a questionable stop-gap solution from the Pacific Northwest that is only going to be there a year.

* I think the football gods have struck down both Ole Miss for their Masoli recruitment and Texas for just being an arrogant ass in the whole conference realignment drama of the summer. The gods seem to have a bent for poetic justice this year. And are they not cooking up something big for Auburn?

* Did College Football Final really have to wait until after the "must see" Neveda / Fresno State game to air? I didn't make it to see the helmet stickers or if they said a word about the Hogs. They did in one half-time show manage to show UTEP's run back for a touchdown. Thanks!

* With our special teams, you would think with the number of touchdowns our offense makes that the guys covering kick-offs would have gotten closer to perfection by now. Apparently, not. Or maybe it goes that the more you score the higher the chance is that you'll have a kick returned on you, just because of the higher number of times you are kicking off.

* Bobby Petrino isn't going to offer you $180,000 dollars to come play for the Hogs. But he sure is going to offer you a chance to score a touchdown if you are on offense. How many different Hogs did we have score last night? Mallett, Wright, Williams, Davis, Hamilton, Hocker, and Gragg come to mind without looking at any stat sheet. Wow! 

* Alabama vs. Mississippi State. I really thought the Bulldogs would have put up more of a fight. I think the thing we have to look out for in Starkville is some low scoring game. If we can produce our normal above thirty points game, then we win rather easily I think. MSU doesn't appear to be built for shootouts right now. With that said, our defense has a way of (you never knowing when) suddenly making the opposition look like a machine gun.

* Political Thought tied to Football Thought: Might part of the reason we accept the outcome of elections in this country, such as the recent one, on a rather routine basis and the following peaceful changing of the hands of power is that we are a country of citizens who watch sports and accept the outcome of games no matter how painful they are to swallow at times? Does college football, for example, help condition us to be better losers politically when our side loses because we know there will be another election / game next year?  If you need a doctoral dissertation topic, I think there is one in the relationship between sports institutions and stable democracies. Just be sure to credit arkansasexpats.com in your acknowledgements section, haha.

* THE BIG PICTURE: Another weekend has come and gone where everything that needed to happen to get the Hogs to New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl came about. The Hogs won in convincing fashion. And Auburn won. Next weekend, we'll need the Hogs to win in Starkville, and it wouldn't hurt if a certain former Arkansas coach were to have all his men hold onto the rope and beat LSU. Even if the Hogs and LSU are both 10-2 and the Hogs own the head-to-head win, it wouldn't shock me if the Sugar Bowl took the hometown team in order to increase ticket sales for a game that is in the middle of a work week and not January 1st.  I like our chances even better with the Hogs at 10-2 and LSU at 9-3.