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Hogs at home even if fans due breather

OPINION by Bob Wisener | November 5, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders (5) stiff arms Auburn cornerback Nehemiah Pritchett (18) as he carries the ball during the first half Oct. 29 in Auburn, Ala. - Photo by Butch Dill of The Associated Press

With rain chances strong statewide this weekend, this might be a good time for Razorback football fans to exhale. Especially if they are short of breath after so many Saturdays sweating out games involving their 5-3 heroes.

A Fayetteville drive involving a Southeastern Conference opponent (possibly excluding Vanderbilt) might be in order. But unless one has pledged a loyalty oath to Razorback Nation, that should get one off the hook for a game against Liberty.

If weather doesn't dissuade the Hog-calling fan, other viewing options might. Just in the SEC, bumping against the 3 p.m. start at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, we have the biggest league game in years not involving Alabama: Tennessee, which beat the Crimson Tide in October, at Georgia, which thumped Nick Saban's team in January for the national championship.

Under the lights comes the first Alabama-LSU game involving Saban and Brian Kelly since an Alabama beatdown of Notre Dame in a Bowl Championship Series final. It's in Baton Rouge, where the Tigers generally play better at night, presumably if their fans medicate themselves sufficiently before kickoff. Although playing at home against Tennessee did not help the Tigers, this looks like the rare Saban-coached team with structural flaws, most notable on the road.

Baseball gives us Game 6 of the World Series, now that Houston manager Dusty Baker read the memo after Game 3 (when Philadelphia hit five home runs) and the Astros turned off opposing power with a combined no-hitter Wednesday night. Phillies batters had the same trouble putting the ball in play that some Arkansas viewers had in watching the game amid a contract dispute involving the Little Rock Fox affiliate.

And what self-respecting racing fan would forget the Breeders' Cup World Championships with nine races following five juvenile races Friday. Arkansas, which because of no turf course will ever host the BC, tends to sag in national racing coverage once Oaklawn ends. Save for a few articles in this and the statewide newspaper, the Breeders' Cup gets about the printed space devoted to an Arkansas-Pine Bluff football game.

One hears that the greatest game, as a friend calls the sport of kings, no longer receives saturation coverage in Kentucky, the heartland of American racing, this week returning to majestic Keeneland. Is there not another Billy Reed (Louisville) to write about a prominent trainer punching him on the backside at Churchill Downs after a Kentucky Derby winner was disqualified for a drug violation?

Football, if you were not aware, drives the train in Arkansas, which prepares for its first Fayetteville game since Oct. 1. Hunter Yurachek, University of Arkansas athletic director, should look into that schedule disparity if not too busy soaking in what appears unified statewide support.

Arkansas hasn't played in Fayetteville (remember when they played in Little Rock?) since Alabama struck for three 70-yard plays in the fourth quarter before CBS cameras. That came during three straight SEC losses for Arkansas (others to Texas A&M and Mississippi State) before a road win at Brigham Young. Following a week off, Arkansas won on the SEC road in the last Auburn game for coach Bryan Harsin. (Suggested AU coaching hire: Deion Sanders, Saban's buddy in those Aflac commercials.)

In case you haven't seen the Razorbacks lately, or unless Yurachek has some surprise equipment change in mind, Arkansas will be wearing red uniforms.

It is the last weekend before the midterm elections and whether our state gets Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Chris Jones, its first female or Black governor. The proposed Arkansas constitutional amendments, especially complicated this year, deserve more than a wink and a prayer before one votes. Locally, the vote is for Hot Springs mayor and certain city directors. All deserve our prayers.

One requests that an informed electorate goes to the polls and that losing candidates remove their signs promptly. Remember, the absent voter squanders the right to redress whatever wrongs he perceives in the governmental system.

Don't know about you, but I can put football on a back burner for one Saturday. I'll be watching, all the same, but mindful that bigger issues are at play than whether Arkansas covers 13.5 points (over-under 63) against a non-SEC team. Last chance to breathe before the November stretch run.

Print Headline: Hogs at home even if fans due breather

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