The term "statement game" is probably overused, but it certainly applies to this weekend's matchup against Georgia. Let's take a step back and look at the big picture:
The Hogs have been in the SEC for nearly 20 years now, but haven't managed to crack the upper echelon of conference aristocracy. We've had some good seasons, sure, but have never had that true breakthrough. Every time we'd get close, we'd always seem to lose the next game under particularly frustrating circumstances (hi, HDN) and slide back down the hill again.
Now, I'm definitely not saying that if the Hogs beat the Dawgs then we'll suddenly be a member of the SEC elite. Far from it...that sort of thing has to be earned game-by-game over a longer period of time. But, for the Razorbacks to ascend from a middle-tier team to one that achieves the glories that we all hope they will (and know they're capable of) they have to consistently win games exactly like this. And Saturday would be a great place to start.
Top teams get it done on the road. They beat ranked teams. They take care of business. They execute on offense and knock people around on defense. They win tough, and don't back down from a fight.
Will the Hogs do those things in Athens on Saturday morning? They absolutely have the potential, but no one is going to award them the W based on potential. I believe they can do it, but I also recall plenty of similar chances in the past when they've fallen just short. That's the reputation that will dog them (not Dawg them) until they prove otherwise.
The nice thing about football is that when the ball is kicked off, all the hype and hoopla fades away and statements are made by real deeds and actions. One way or the other, the Hogs' performance against Georgia will send a huge message to the rest of the SEC (and college football in general)...the question is, what message will they send?