Graham Reaves is about to head down to Peru for reasons I'm not quite aware. And if there's one thing I know in life, when someone tells you they have to go to South America, it's best not to ask too many questions. You just say, "ok" and go about your business and start thinking of lies that could be passable should things turn dramatic.
While we wish Graham an awesome trip, I'm taking over his posts for the next bit, including his Friday gambling picks. So I'm bringing back Saturday Roulette, the column that got me started back in 2011 with ArkansasSports360.com (RIP).
Let's dust off the cobwebs and shine up our shoes. Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, let's all yell woo pig sooie.
Also, as you may remember, during OU/Texas week I don't bet money. I bet with foods from the Texas State Fair.
Alabama (-9) at Arkansas
I don't usually feel like a pessimistic Hog fan but I have this week. Lots of people all over the country are giving the Razorbacks a ton of respect and a realistic shot at winning this game and I just can't see it. I don't think Arkansas' passing game is good enough to keep Alabama honest and if the Tide can load up I can see them slowing down the rushing game enough force Arkansas to struggle. This pick is unfortunately was-SCREW IT THERE'S 1964 MAGIC GOING ON THIS WEEKEND NEW UNIFORMS AND EVERYTHING SLOBBER HOG HELMET MAGIC.
The Razorbacks do have some legit advantages in this game. Obviously coming off a bye while Alabama slugged it out in Oxford, losing a few key players in the process benefits Arkansas. The Hogs are at home, where they've played very well so far this season. All the attention on the injury front has gone to Kenyan Drake but losing center Ryan Kelly is a big deal.
Oh, and for everybody talking about Arkansas' 4th quarter issues, just stop it. What happened against A&M was nothing like what happened last year, when the Razorbacks desperately tried to hang on to a few games. Arkansas put themselves in scoring opportunities twice in the 4th quarter in Arlington, but the tripping penalty, fumbled snap, and missed field goal all brain farted away the victory. Any one of those things doesn't happen, and Arkansas probably wins. This wasn't Arkansas going 3-and-out three times in a row vs LSU. Arkansas dominated the 4th quarters against Texas Tech and Northern Illinois. I'm not buying there's any sort of SEC hex on the team or that they don't know how to close out games. If Arkansas has a chance to win in the fourth quarter Saturday, I'm not afraid unless they start doing stupid things again like forgetting how to convert a snap.
With all the 1964 juju, the Hogs should be able to cover. I'll be conservative and hold off on predicting a 1998-like performance vs Alabama, but maybe a 1994 reunion-like performance from the woeful 2009 basketball team. Either way, 9 POINTS IS 10 POINTS TOO MANY. Arkansas, baby. Put a gallon of deep fried sweet tea on it.*
Auburn (-3) at Mississippi State
As we all know, CLANGAAuburn uses an CLANGAoffense that CLANGArelies heavily on rhythm CLANGAand CLANGAtempo. Unfortunately, nothing CLANGAdisrupts all that better than CLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGACLANGA. I'll put an order of biscuit fries with chocolate gravy dipping sauce on the Bulldogs. CLANGA
Ole Miss (+2) at Texas A&M
What we have here is two programs rich in tradition of screwing things up. That might lead you to believe we should go with the Aggies here since Ole Miss is the school on cloud nine right now, but I think Ole Miss' let downs will come later in the year. The Rebel defense is really, really good - possibly the best in the SEC, and the Aggies haven't been playing well lately which should be bad for A&M. Putting my Texas-fried chicken in a waffle cone smothered in gravy on Ole Miss. But if the Aggie receivers start receiving and stop dropping, things could get really interesting.
Oklahoma (-14.5) vs Texas
A lot of people seem eager to give new Texas coach Charlie Strong advice for his first Red River Shootout, which really is kinda insulting for a guy who spent such a long time in the SEC. Like he doesn't know what a rivalry means. Give me a break. That being said, Oklahoma isn't losing two games in a row and two shootouts in a row, at least not this year. If this turned into one of those OU 50-point beatdowns of Texas it wouldn't surprise me. I'll put some fried pumpkin-spice Oreos on it and a pair of Polynesian Pops.
Penn State (+1.5) at Michigan
Never would've guessed, after everything Penn State's been through, you'd look at this matchup with Michigan and go, "Man, Michigan's got some problems with these Michigan men." I don't know how the Wolverines have become a favorite. Have you seen them the last few weeks? Dumpster fire is too kind. More like a dumpster inferno. A dumpster volcano. Going with James Franklin and the Nittany Lions. For Michigan fans who need maternal comfort this season, have some deep fried milk and cookies on a stick.
*But really, if you're actually putting money on the Hogs/Bama game and looking for advice 1) you've most definitely come to the wrong place, and 2) I'd put my money on Bama. But for fun, all Hogs.
Washington State +16 over Stanford, Louisville +9.5 over Clemson, Arizona +3 over USC.
Hopefully these picks won't ruin Graham's record this season vs the RazorBloggers.