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Arkansas Fight Panel Discussion: Talking Texas Tech (And A Last Word On Nicholls)

Gathering our contributors' thoughts on the topics of the week.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Other than confidence/"what losing streak?" is there anything we can take away from the Nicholls game?

Devan: I guess if there is anything you can take away from a 73-7 debacle it's that Arkansas can handle weaker competition. There obviously won't be any scares like Samford last year.

Tyler: I got a nice, big sigh of relief from this game. It was great to finally have a weekend that wasn't filled with disappointment and frustration. Yes, Nicholls is bad, we could all see that. However, 73 points is no small feat. There's no way last year's team would've been that dominant and efficient. The Hogs are clearly improved.

Josh: More game experience for the young guys. Khalia Hackett on KO coverage making 5 tackles, Drew Morgan getting a catch and a TD are all pieces of the puzzle when it comes to putting together a winning program.

Mark: Padded stats. Satisfaction. A last half of the weekend not soaked in bitterness and anger. A family grateful for a dad who’s not grumpy Saturday night, Sunday and into the next week. Some great highlights. We needed some plays for future videos.

Jamie: I like the idea of highlights for future pre-game videos, there were several to choose from.  To be honest after 21-0, I just laughed each time I knew we'd get to the end zone and felt a little guilty (not enough to care) by the end.

Graham: You can tell by Bielema's and player's tweets and comments to the press that they are glad to have the losing streak behind them. I thought Ryan made a good point in "The Good, Bad and Ugly." Props to Chaney for giving Keon a couple of deep balls to instill some confidence in his deep threat capabilities.

Mitchell: I would love to get enthusiastic about this win, but I make it very clear in my article how I feel about it. There is something to be taken away from it, but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about anything.

Adam F: If anything, it's that this team is going to be prepared, no matter the opponent. Bret Bielema moved to 35-0 when favored by 10 or more points on Saturday, and that's something Hog fans can continue to look forward to: winning games we should win.

Adam P: Since it was such an over-matched team, it's hard to really hold our heads too high, because we simply did what we were supposed to do. In fairness, I don't remember a time where we actually DID exactly what we were supposed to do against an outmatched opponent.

Drew: We have all heard of the mythical creature that is "Bert" but I don't think Arkansas fans have truly seen Bert until he challenged that meaningless  first down call.  That was Bert.  That is the guy I have been waiting to see.  Hey, if you don't earn the first down then you don't deserve the first down.  That's just Bert putting a logic beat down on everyone who thought it was a ruthless move. We're up 87 points? Don't care. The 10 yard requirements for a first down don't change son.

Ryan: Bert will challenge anything, anytime.

Scottie: Jared Cornelius is going to be a mighty fine football player for Arkansas this year and in the future. His speed, quickness and agility, especially tip-toeing down the sideline for his first touchdown, reminded me of Joe Adams a little bit. He's going to be an electric player. I'm excited about this kid.

Doc: It just tells me that Arkansas played well, and that they're capable of playing well. Scoring 56 points in a half isn't easy regardless who you're playing.

That’s all we really need to discuss about Nicholls. Let’s look toward West Texas. Tech beat UCA at home by 7 and UTEP on the road by 4. How should Razorback fans react to that?

Drew: So, if you didn't watch these games... Texas Tech isn't good.  They aren't and I'll tell that to anyone who asks me with supreme confidence .  The opening +3 line screams "We don't have a feel for this so we're throwing points to the away team" from Vegas. I think it'll slowly get closer to a true pick 'em.  Arkansas should physically destroy them on the offensive side of the ball.

Graham: I watched their game late on Saturday night against UTEP. Admittedly, I was still on a Razorback high but I feel good about the trip to Lubbock. A win on the road after this last week will go a long way towards confidence for the players and fans heading into SEC play.

Josh: Fans should understand that our standing in college football is about as low as it can get after losing so many games. The way to build that respect back up to a point where they should expect to beat a team that struggled with UCA and UTEP is to win on the road and not fold in the 4th quarter. TTech and Kliff have a team that matches up with what Arkansas lacks on defense, cant take any team for granted right now.

Adam F: It means that Texas Tech is having some issues. Their Air Raid offense has a lot of moving parts, and they are missing some of what they need for it work properly. Of course, I also think that Tech is playing to the level of its opponents. If the Red Raiders play this Saturday like they did last Saturday, the Hogs will win by two or three touchdowns. But I don't expect that.

Scottie: I think Arkansas fans should feel fairly confident going into Saturday. If the Red Raiders had difficulty stopping UCA and UTEP's skill players, what's going to happen once Jonathan Williams, Korliss Marshall and AC3 touch the ball. "Look out!" in my best Brent Musburger voice.

Adam P: I seriously do not understand why Hog fans are so scared of the boys from Lubbock. They're terrible against the run. They barely beat smaller teams. If we play like we're supposed to, this should be another decisive victory for the good guys. Hog fans should go into this game with confidence.

Mark: We can’t get too caught up in scores. We should look at it as a winnable game, an opportunity really, but it’s on the road and we haven’t fared so well in recent years against teams that can employ the forward pass. After last year, surely most placed an L next to this one on the schedule. So it has the elements of a free shot, although Tech’s "lackluster" performance so far has dulled that feel somewhat.

Tyler: Tech's terrible start does make me think Arkansas has a good chance to go into Lubbock and take one from the Red Raiders. Tech's air raid offense could give Arkansas' unproven secondary fits, but I think the Hogs' overall physicality will be too much. I mean, they only beat UCA by 7. UCA! Come on, now.

Devan: They should feel confident. Texas Tech obviously has some problems and Arkansas should be able to control the ball. It should be fun.

Ryan: Excited because the over/under on this game should be no less than 100. This should be the most entertaining game we've seen in a long time.

Doc: I don't think either offense is quite competent enough for that sort of shootout. They couldn't crack 50 at home against UCA. I'll chalk up part of the low scoring game at UTEP to being on the road.

Also, I've been watching Hog games long enough that I expect Tech to play much better on Saturday than they've played the first two weeks. Razorback law.

Jamie: I love the matchup.  They're awful at stopping the run and we need someone to make us try and stop the pass.  This is a great opportunity to help prepare us for A&M, Mizzou, and the Mississippi schools who are currently pass-happy.  I think cautious optimism is acceptable going into this weekend.

Mitchell: Outside of Las Vegas, literal tons of high priced buffet food is being dumped into slop troughs for pigs to eat. It's a deal that the hog farmers have with the casinos so all that delicious food doesn't go completely to waste.  This game seems exactly like that. A Las Vegas style buffet placed in front of a hungry Boar. Don't stick your fingers into the cage people!

Do you believe Arkansas’ defense can slow down the Raiders’ passing game enough to have a chance to win?

Ryan: LOL, nope.

Josh:  They can if two things happen: the front 4 must get a decent pass rush against Tech's o-line. They throw a ton of quick passes which will also mean that those dlinemen will be asked to switch gears full speed and pursue to the outside on screens or downfield. Second if Arkansas can keep up with the pace. Its a hurry up but much different than what Auburn runs, and the depth in the secondary rotation will be as important as the front 7 in this game.

Graham: This is where the contest will be won and lost. We know Kingsbury would throw it 70 times a game if he gets the chance. It will be a good test for the secondary and linbackers to see how much progress they have made in the two weeks since the Auburn game. But if the defensive line can get pressure on Davis Webb like they have the talent to do it will help out the weaker links of the defense.

Mitchell: Yes. Only because I think our offense will eat up enough time that our defense shouldn't have to win this game for us. I think our pass rush will help make their job a little easier too.

Adam F: Tech is having the same problems Arkansas' passing game had last year: they have no downfield threat. Last year, they used tight end Jace Amaro (1,352 receiving yards) and receiver Eric Ward (947 receiving yards) to attack downfield. Both of those guys are gone, and their receiving corps looks surprisingly un-athletic. Bradley Marquez is their top target, but Auburn's receivers are far superior. Tech also shoots itself in the foot (guns down?) with numerous penalties. They are averaging a staggering 100 penalty yards per game this year.

Scottie: I believe Texas Tech will get their 300 yards passing. The key to the game is to make sure that number doesn't reach the 400-yard mark. If Arkansas can, I hate to say limit, Davis Webb to under 400 yards, they've got a shot. If Webb decides to go for a career day, the Hogs are in trouble. Arkansas' defense has to make a stand sometime.

Adam P: Will they score on us? Yes. So did Nicholls. But I do think the secondary will get better and better each game.

Tyler: Tech's offensive line did occasionally struggle with UTEP's D-Line though, so I see the Hogs' front four being able to put some pressure on Tech QB Davis Webb and cause some problems. I predict the Arkansas secondary will make one or two big plays en route to a victory.

Devan: Not every drive no. Texas Tech is going to be able to throw the ball around, but Arkansas just needs a few stops here and there. It's all going to depend if Arkansas can keep up if it becomes a shootout. They need to run the ball and keep the ball away from that offense. I think they can do that, and I think they win a close one.

Jamie: You have to look backwards past Nicholls to Auburn and we didn't slow their passing attack down at all.  That said, this Sand Aggie team isn't in the same zip code as that Aubbie team, so I think we can, based mostly on the difference of talent between the two teams.

Mark: Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect. I could see the D making a big play to turn the tide, or I could see us giving up chunks of yards over the middle. I think this will be on the offense to pound, protect and score.

Drew: This could be a "last one who scores, wins" kinda game, but theoretically Arkansas should be able to control the ball well enough to win.  With that said, I can see this being a 45-42 kind of deal where you end up switching from beer to liquor way sooner than planned because - mentally & physically - you don't really have any other option.

Doc: I can't give Arkansas any credit until I see it. No matter how much Arkansas keeps the Tech offense on the bench, Arkansas still has to stop them a few times when they come on the field. However, as Adam F pointed out, the Red Raiders have been killing themselves with penalties so far this season. If that continues, that should be a huge advantage for Arkansas. Let Tech kill themselves and it'll be easier for the Razorbacks.

Is it fair to call Texas Tech a must-win for this Arkansas team?

Jamie: Absolutely if the benchmark is a bowl game.  I don't see a map to 6 that includes a non-conf loss.

Scottie: There's no question it's a big one if Arkansas hopes to make a bowl game. It's more of a must-win than before the season started now that we've seen Kliff's kids are not worldbeaters, but I wouldn't call it an absolute must-win.

Ryan: Of course, because they need to go undefeated in the non-conference to make a bowl game. Really, they should schedule four cupcakes and pray for two conference wins until they are competitive for a national title. Strength of schedule means nothing until they're in the national title hunt.

Josh: Yes. To go from a huge blowout to a let down against Tech would be one step forward two steps back. Rutgers 2013 was pivotal, and this game is no different.

Graham:  A bowl game will only be attainable if we win on Saturday.

Mitchell: Again, Yes. No wins (besides Nicholls) will come easy this season. We need to be at least 3-2 in September if we hope to go bowling.

Adam F: For a bowl game, yes. I'm not going to start calling for Bielema's head with a loss though.

Mark: It’s pretty critical for a bowl berth. We’re gonna get better as the season progresses, I think, but just look at our schedule. Several games we could possibly win, for sure, but NIU and UAB, as of now, are the only ones in which we’d be favored.

Adam P: If we're talking bowling, then yes. This has been said time and time again, but our conference schedule is br00t@l! Every win helps when you're playing 5 teams that are all currently in the top 10 (7 in the top 25).

Drew: Any game against a non ranked opponent is pretty much a must win.  Look at the schedule.  It literally feels like someone is messing with us. So many numbers by school names.  So many. It's exhausting.

Tyler: The matchup this weekend is a huge swing game for the Hogs. Winning this game means a good shot at making a bowl.

Devan: Yes. There is no other way to do it. I actually think this is going to be a season defining game. Similar to Rutgers last year this game is going to go along way in determining if this is going to be a 4 or a 6 win season. If Arkansas would've won that game last year they probably would've found a way to win 6 games. It's a similar situation this year. There is no way you can not call this a must win game for Arkansas.

Both teams are playing up the whole "Renewing SWC" (I refuse to call this a rivalry) thing. Tech is breaking out retro uniforms and everything. Do you enjoy playing the ‘ole SWC teams at all? Does it matter to you?

Josh: Not really old enough to remember much of the SWC rivalry other than hating Texas, but I think it is cool. If the Razorbacks bust out some retro jersey I wouldnt have a problem with that. Depending on how this first meeting of the TTech series goes it may turn in to something more, but other than the history lesson its just another non-conference game to me.

Ryan: I like the regional match-ups. I think we should break the 'Ole SWC into two tiers and play one team from each tier on the non-conference schedule each year. Texas, TTU, TCU, Baylor would be the top tier and SMU, Houston, Rice would be the bottom tier. The rotation is big enough to where it won't get old playing one particular team. It's more interesting than playing a MAC team.

Graham: I like playing the Texas schools in nationally televised games so recruits can get a good glimpse of what Bielema is building. That's assuming we come out on top, of course. My question is why don't we schedule some of the other SWC schools like Rice, SMU or Houston to be more confident about coming out of the Lone Star state with a win?

Drew: The SWC means absolutely nothing to me.  It's like tape cassettes or rotary phones, we have moved on to better times.

Mitchell: I grew up in a house with a ravenous SEC football fan (my mother) despite living in Dallas my whole childhood. SWC football was never on my radar so I'm really not about all that. I do respect those old rivalries though, and I would love to pencil in a few now and then.

Mark: I love it. LOVE playing old SWC teams. Of course, I’m "old." And I’d love to break out some retros ourselves. Some Gary Anderson tear-aways. Yesssssss.

Jamie: I dig it.  I'm not old, but definitely remember my Saturdays growing up including lots of the old SWC conference football games.  I've been watching all these SEC Storied shows on The SEC Network and when they show clips in black and white, or even standard def, we aren't in them.  I think it's OK to lean on some SWC roots.  Doesn't hurt that we get to show out in Texas as we continue to make it a recruiting priority as well.

Adam F: For Texas, Texas A&M, and someone like SMU, sure. But Tech? The Hogs are 28-7 all-time against the Red Raiders, and Hog fans that vividly remember that time hardly think of them as a rival.

Scottie: I wasn't alive the last time the two played, so I can't say that it really matters a whole lot to me.

Adam P: We're all about the future during the Jeff Long era of Razorback football. I know this sounds anti-Arkansas sports radio, but I'm so tired of always hearing about what Arkansas did "back then." I want to create NEW memories, Rannnnndy!

Tyler: I think it's interesting when former regular foes battle each other after taking a little bit of a hiatus in the series. The SWC though, doesn't really mean a ton to me because the bulk of Arkansas' time in that conference was before I existed. So, while I think it's a cool thing, it's not really a huge deal to me.

Devan: I would much rather be playing Texas than Texas Tech. That's a rivalry. I like that Arkansas is ramping up the schedule a little, but the 'ole SWC thing doesn't really matter anymore considering we play A&M every year in the 'Southwest Classic'.

Doc: I think it's cool. Any opportunity we get to remind people that Arkansas football existed before 1992 or 1998 (and mostly really good) I'm in favor of. If nothing else, it's an interesting non-conference game, which I'm strongly in favor of doing as many as we can.