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Arkansas vs Texas Preview Q&A with Burnt Orange Nation

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We reached out to Wescott Eberts from BON to get some insight from the enemy heading into tonight's kickoff.

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AF. Some ESPN prediction simulator said Arkansas has a 75% chance of winning. Does that sound about right, or are Longhorn fans more confident about the game than that?

BON: I'm not sure how much I've seen that makes me think Texas fans are especially confident after being let down against TCU on Thanksgiving, but I suspect that most are probably a little bit more confident than that prediction. Personally, I think that the odds seem more like 60-40 in favor of Arkansas because they run the ball, protect the ball, and stop the run. All three of those things are great ways to beat this Texas team.

AF: Arkansas' run game vs. Texas' run defense, who do you think wins that battle?

BON: I have some confidence in the Longhorns being ready to deal with the power run game of Arkansas with the preparation afforded by all the practices leading up to the game. At the same time, I have a healthy respect for both running backs and the efficacy of the rushing attack overall behind that big offensive line and the talented tight ends.

I guess I'll hedge my bets a little bit and say that Arkansas will probably have some successful moments, but I think the Texas run defense has a pretty good chance of ensuring that a major advantage for the Hogs in that department won't heavily determine the outcome.

AF: Who's one guy on offense and defense that has to play well for the Longhorns to win?

BON: On offense, it would be possible to point to senior wide receiver John Harris, but the easy and clear pick is sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Simply put, if he plays like he did in multiple games this season or even approximates the meltdown that he experienced against the Horned Frogs in turning the ball over five times, the Longhorns don't have a chance to stay in this one.

Defensively, I think the key is probably Jordan Hicks, a guy who will be put into some run/pass conflicts with the play-action game to the tight end and also have to deal with big offensive linemen in his face. When both running backs are on the field, he'll have to be conscious in the situations where he has to maintain his leverage or contain because both of those guys have excellent vision and the speed to get outside.

AF: How much do Longhorn fans hate Arkansas? Is it more apathy, or is there actual disdain?

BON: I can't really speak for the older generation of fans who were either old enough to remember the Game of the Century or even the later years of the Southwest Conference rivalry, but I think for younger fans like me, I don't think there is really much hatred or disdain. I became a Texas fans when I moved to Austin from Indiana for college and I really didn't like Matt Jones running all over the Horns in 2003 and then throwing the horns down in the end zone afterwards. Yet, that game and two wins by Texas was hardly enough to make me hate Arkansas.

AF: With both programs in the upswing, would you care to see Arkansas and Texas play more in a regular basis?

BON: Texas has some appealing non-conference opponents coming up in future years with Notre Dame, LSU, USC, and Ohio State all on the schedule. No offense to Arkansas, but those are all sexier teams to play for Texas fans right now, so I'm not sure that there's much impetus to schedule a team like the Razorbacks with the marquee non-conference slot already taken for so many years and more clearly second-tier programs like Maryland filling out the other Power 5 non-conference game in a few seasons.