I’ve been in Texas since Saturday and have been spending most of my time focused on Arkansas and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know some of these players and coaches. They’re a confident bunch, as they should be, and they attribute most of that to the rigors of going through a season in the SEC and coming out 10-2. If you didn’t know by now, the Razorbacks’ two losses were both blowouts at the hands of the two teams in the BCS title game – fellow SEC teams Alabama and LSU – and they feel like had they managed to win one of those games they’d be in the BCS title game. Here’s five thoughts about the Hogs as we gear up for Gameday:
1. They feel like K-State is coming into their house – The Razorbacks are 3-0 at Cowboys Stadium, with all of their wins coming over Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic. That, and Arkansas alumnus Jerry Jones owning the stadium make them feel like it’s one of 3 places they have home-field advantage, along with Reynolds Stadium in Fayetteville and War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Several players I talked to said they feel like K-State playing here for the first time also will factor in and it’s hard to disagree. Try getting on that field and not being a little bit in awe. But, as Arthur Brown told me, “We’re going to get all of our stares out of the way in practice so we’re not looking around during the game.”
2. Look up for offense – Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson pointed out, twice, that K-State’s secondary gives up a lot of big plays. And he’s got playmakers all around. Wilson’s eyes had to light up when he saw the passing totals put up against the Wildcats by QBs like Oklahoma’s Landry Jones (520 yards), Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden (502), Texas Tech’s Seth Doege (461) and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III (346). Wilson will test the KSU defensive backs early and often.
3. NFL material – Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has done a great job of recruiting in almost four seasons in Fayetteville, specifically in bringing in NFL-caliber talent. A lot of the Razorbacks’ starters on both sides of the ball are guys you will see playing on Sundays, and if you want an example…
4. Try Alvin – Arkansas redshirt sophomore guard Alvin Bailey is already one of the best offensive linemen in the SEC and is only getting better. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder from Broken Arrow, Okla., is the No. 1-rated guard in the 2014 NFL Draft class according to NFLdraftscout.com and of all the people I’ve talked to this week about who is ready for The League on the Arkansas roster, he’s the name that always comes up. Also, not a Cowboys fan. “It doesn’t matter how many times we play (at Cowboys Stadium),” Bailey told me. “I’ll always love the Ravens.”
5. Friday’s Eagle will be off the hook – This is the shameless, self-promoting part of this blog post. Check Friday’s Eagle for our special Cotton Bowl section.