Can Arkansas Beat Georgia? Are Razorback Fans the Best? Plus Who Dropped the Ball on the TV Time For the Hogs and Dogs?

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This and More in This Week's Ask Mike

Q. Our first question is from Alex4Hogs88 who says: Give us your top 5 moments from the A&M game.

A. It’s not the obvious highlight reel stuff. It’s what happened after KJ Jefferson got hurt and Arkansas’ defense began to sputter followed by Isaiah Spiller’s 67 yard TD. The game was really on the line at that point. It’s 17-10. The Hogs have to get some more points but are having no luck moving the ball under Malik Hornsby. That’s when my top five moments happened. I’ll give them in sequence.

  1. The interception by Montaric Brown at the A&M 48. I was thinking, the Hogs need a turnover. Boom it happened, and it was a great stretch for the ball which had bounced off an helmet and then was tipped.
  2. This was huge. Dominique Johnson who I thought would play a lot on this game but only had six carries, ran 16 yards to the A&M 32. I think that gave Hornsby some confidence which led to….
  3. Hornsby had been one dimensional since taking over the offense and he finally completed a pass. Just a seven yarder to Treylon Burks but that loosened the Aggies defense up just a bit which allowed….
  4. Burks to run for 14 yards to the A&M seven yard line. Arkansas was now close enough for chip shot field goal which bring us to…
  5. Mr. Steady Cam Little sailed it through from 24 yards out. Those three points, combined with Arkansas amazing defense, completely shifted the momentum. Took a lot of pressure off of the offense and really put the game out of reach for the Aggies.

Q. @mousetown wants to know: What was your reaction to Arkansas going for it on 4th and one at the Aggie 22 yard line late in the first half?

A. I didn’t like it. At that point A&M had done nothing in the game. Arkansas had all the momentum. You kick your field goal and probably go to the locker room up 20-0 at the half. Instead, the Aggies got the stop. Suddenly they’re fired up and they go 46 yards on their only big drive of the half. They get the field goal and they have momentum coming out of the locker-room. Suddenly Jefferson gets hurt and everything looks different.

The other thing I didn’t like about it was sending Trelon Smith into the middle of A&M’s defense. He weighs 190. Why not let Jefferson carry the ball. He’s 245.

It was just a bad decision all the way around. Thankfully Arkansas defense stepped up big and, as I’ve already pointed out, the offense did just enough coming off of that pick to get a field goal.

Q. BloodRedHog asks: How is TV scheduling decided for SEC games? CBS gets first pick, but then what? How is this top 10 Georgia matchup at noon EST?

A. You are correct. CBS goes first. These games are selected in advance of game week. CBS was probably thinking, Okay we’re not gonna feature Arkansas two weeks in a row. Certainly not after they lose to A&M. So they selected Ole Miss and Alabama which makes sense.

Then we go to ESPN. They had a number of better time slots for Georgia-Arkansas but selected that game for 11AM central while giving Florida at Kentucky and Auburn at LSU their prime time slots. I’m sure the SEC Network would have given Arkansas-Georgia a better time slot but ESPN picks before them. So blame it on ESPN which clearly didn’t think enough of Arkansas two weeks ago to give Arkansas and Georgia one of its better time slots.

Q. ArkansasPlayboar wants to know: Was that not a late hit on KJ on the play he got hurt? How serious is his injury? Should he now be in the Heisman conversation?

A. Technically no. Even though he was headed out of bounds his feet were still inbounds when he was shoved hard from behind. Was it a dirty play? Sure, but it’s football and it wasn’t illegal. Sam Pittman says that KJ is very sore but should be fine for the game. Sounds like they may limit his practice time and let Malik Hornsby get more reps in case he has to come in against Georgia at some point. Is KJ under Heisman consideration? No. Maybe next year.

Q. Fuzzy Hog wants to know: What do you think Arkansas is going to name their trophy with Texas and Oklahoma like we have with LSU (The Boot) and Missouri (Battle Line)? maybe do a poll.

A. I appreciate the question and please keep ’em coming but I have to admit I’m not a fan of rivalry trophies. Arkansas played Texas for decades with no trophy involved. The whole Battle Line thing with Missouri is pointless. It’s an SEC division crossover game, not a rivalry. Do they have a trophy for Arkansas vs. Ole Miss ? Mississippi State? Auburn. Alabama?

The only trophy I care about is one for winning the SEC or winning a national championship. That’s a trophy you want to put on display. To me beating Texas or Oklahoma is enough. We don’t need two more trophies. But if they decide to have one I’ll recommend that they let you, Fuzzy Hog name it and design it. Anything would be better than that Battle Line nonsense.

Q. Twinky275 asks: Will any of PTN be there in Athens?
Is there an area where we can cheer for the Hogs when they get off the bus and walk in the stadium. Possibly a game day link?

A. Yes we will have a full crew there. They’ll be setting up around 9 in the morning on Saturday. Find them and hang out. Watch the show. Then you can go over to ESPN’s game day if you want but there’s going to be a mob of Georgia fans around that Game Day set. As far as meeting the team bus, get there early and ask where the visitors locker room is. The bus will unload there.

Q. East Ark Hawg wants to know: In light of the recent success of the Razorback Athletic Dept. how would you compare our fanbase to others as far as knowledge, loyalty, etc. The SEC crew from ESPN seem to really enjoy themselves on Texas weekend. Where do you think we stand in the college landscape?

A. Arkansas has the best fans in college football. When I was growing up outside of Lubbock and going to Texas Tech games everybody out there knew that Arkansas had the most knowledgeable fans in the SWC. When I got here in my 4th TV job back in 1975 I was amazed by the fan support. The statewide nature of the football and basketball programs. It’s one of the big reasons I never left.

But Arkansas is a well kept secret. I have friends in Texas that think I live in a dinky hillbilly town. They have no clue what Northwest Arkansas is all about. The same is true of recruits who come here for the first time and the national media that you mentioned.

Part of the issue is Arkansas struggles in the SEC. It’s one of the reasons why the Saturday Down South guy wrote before the season started that Arkansas might get kicked out of he SEC if conference expansion continues. If this football program continues on the path it’s on right now Arkansas won’t be a well kept secret much longer. Every day on the Internet I read positive comments about Arkansas from various media outlets.

The fans want ESPN Gameday to come here in the worst way. Personally I could not care less because I don’t have much respect for ESPN. But getting Game Day on your campus is a status symbol. I get that. So a shorter answer to your question is, a few weeks ago Arkansas was nowhere in the college landscape at least with regard to football. That is changing in a hurry.

Q. Semper_a_Hog says: The most impressive catch Treylon Burks made on Saturday was the one where he was ruled out by a toenail (correctly, I think). What skills! What is the update on his injury status, and how does he rate to other great Hog receivers in the past?

A. Sam Pittman said on Monday that Burks is fine. Should be full go for paractice and the Georgia game on Saturday. As for where he ranks, Arkansas has had a ton of great receivers in the past but he certainly ranks up there. Maybe not statistically but but his combination of size, speed and huge hands is amazing. He does currently lead the nation in yards per catch. I would be great if he would return for his senior season but Hogs fans just need to enjoy him while they can.

Q. AlabamaHog says: Chad Morris won 4 games without an SEC victory. In less than two years, Coach Pittman has won 7 games including 4 SEC victories and Arkansas is currently ranked 8th. How was Coach Pittman and his staff able to gain the confidence and trust of the Hog players so quickly?

A. We talked about this last week. The players looked at Morris as a used car salesman. Always trying to sell them something. They saw right away that Pittman was real. He believed what he said to them and they could see that. He wasn’t handing them a line. He’s a players coach but that doesn’t mean he’s not demanding. Barry Odum told us that within a few weeks of Pittman being hired. He’s a good guy but can can be tough as nails when he has to be.

Q. Razorback Redneck says: We beat number 7 in the country. How much harder will it be to beat number two?

A. A lot harder. I’m not an any way trying to throw cold water on the Hogs win over the Aggies. It was huge. But Texas is better than A&M. Their backup quarterback is not ready for the SEC and their fans are about to be in for a shock. Other SEC teams are going to beat them. When I was at Media Days last summer some of their TV people were there and they were proclaiming the Aggies to be one of the favorites to win the SEC. No way.

Now to Georgia. They are not overated. They are the real deal. I think they’re gonna win the national championship. Plus it’s a road game. Personally I’d be happy if Arkansas gives them a good game and if they somehow pull off a shocker I’ll be the first one to say I under estimated the Hogs.

I think Sam Pittman has done one of he most amazing coaching jobs I’ve seen. But I don’t see Arkansas at the level of Georgia and Alabama. Not yet.

Q. austin.hogfan says: Saturday’s game opened at 18 in Vegas, I believe, and it’s in Athens. With our special teams playing better and if no turnovers against us, we really need a couple of interceptions against them as their run game is ok but not great in order to pull off the upset. What is your key to a win?

A. The biggest key will be trying to move the ball against their defense. There is no comparison between that defense and any they’ve faces so far. KJ will have to play a great game. He’s gotta do a better job in his RPO’s. He has to be more consistent. They need to use all of their running backs. Smith played too much against the Aggies. The O-line will have to play much better than it did against A&M. Finally they’re gonna need some help from Georgia in the form of mistakes and turnovers.
It’s not impossible but it’s improbable.

Q. Jenna Pace on Facebook says: My husband really liked your favorite A&M game memory on last week’s Ask Mike. He wants to know if you have any more Arkansas-Aggie football game stories.

A. I have several. Here’s a short one. Back when the Hogs first started playing in the Southwest Classic my boss would shoot video of the Hogs coming out of the tunnel in Jerryworld but he made me go to the other side and shoot the Aggies coming onto the the field. I did not like that. So the first time it happened I found myself standing next to one of those cadet corp guys and I could not help myself. I asked him. “Where’s your horse?”

He was like, “That’s not funny sir.”

That tells me he had been asked that question before. Look why the WWI US Cavalry look? How did they decide on that? When you wear that Rough Riders hat with the Black Jack Pershing boots and the spurs and those fancy riding britches you’re gonna get asked questions like, Where’s your horse? Maybe there should be just one of those guys dressed like that and you give him a horse. That would make sense. Most Aggie traditions make no sense to me.

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