Favorite

Hogs winning at Vandy, losing at life 

The Hogs may have beaten Vandy on the field, but in the classroom there's no competition. In a report issued the same day that Jeff Long announced the Athletic Department's intentions for a huge facilities expansion, the NCAA ranked Arkansas second-to-last in the conference in Graduation Success Rate. Arkansas' GSR (55 percent) trails Vandy by 34 percentage points. That's the scholastic equivalent of about a bazillion touchdowns.

An astute Arkansas Blog reader pointed out last week that the student population at the University of Arkansas graduates at a 57 percent clip. That's a startling but irrelevant number. This duty can't be generalized away. We don't forgive individual debtors because of a bad economy. We can't forgive individual departments because of institutional failure.

I'm less inclined than most to view playing sports at a D-1 school as some sort of privilege. Athletes are promised a lot of things in exchange for services worth several millions of dollars to the institution in question. They're promised playing time, access to state-of-the-art equipment, and a chance to weigh their talents against elite competition. But most importantly, they are promised an education. By sacrificing their bodies and their time, they earn every bit of the focused attention and extra assistance required to succeed in the classroom.

So I felt a little churlish heading into last weekend, and I may have taken it out a bit on the team. Black humor dominated my Twitter feed and my comments at ArkansasExpats.com. Poor performances of any kind, combined with back-to-back gimmees, will do that to a fan.

What a bounce-back for Mallett, though. If he runs out of new records to set, he just goes back to set records for the second time. And his 409 passing yards were racked up despite a hobbled receiving corp. Losing Childs hurts, but mostly because he's such a beloved presence on the field. The other receivers are more than capable of picking up the slack, even if a little piece of their heart is wearing street clothes on the sidelines. At this point, folks must be wondering what you have to take away from Bobby Petrino's offense to slow them down.

So far our worst enemy, well, he is us. Jeff Long ought to find a way to incorporate yellow into our school colors if it's gonna be such a mainstay on the field. The Hogs gave away 130 yards in penalties last week, and they continue to lead the conference in brain farts.

We were better on third down, converting 10 of 19. Directly related: We were good on the ground, with a fine, workman-like performance out of Knile Davis. The fact that most of the carries looked so routine belies what has been a crippling need for most of the season. His continued success is vital, but we have more than personnel to thank for the uptick. Petrino and his staff have come up with a fine new look for the rushing game, and the mid-season makeover is no small feat.

Just because a loss to Arkansas wouldn't have any bearing on South Carolina's SEC-East race doesn't mean the Head Ball Coach won't try to beat us. The Gamecocks represent the best and, counter-intuitively, the most beatable team left on the schedule.

Jerico Nelson and Rudell Crim got some practice catching the ball last week, and that should come in handy against Stephen Garcia. He may have one of the highest passer ratings in the conference, but he still likes to cough up the ball in all kinds of ways. Whether he's throwing into coverage or putting it on the ground, Garcia finds a way to get Steve Spurrier's headset and/or visor off.

Still, Marcus Lattimore could put on a show behind a grizzled offensive line stocked with upperclassmen. And Alshon Jeffrey is another in the SEC's impossibly fierce stable of wide-outs. The defense will need to arrive at the stadium well before the coin-toss this week.

Mallett and company should feast. Ellis Johnson's squad has been a major disappointment, and the loss of cornerback Chris Culliver weakens a secondary that's already given up 79 plays of 10 plus yards. S.C.'s defense is considerably stiffer, statistically the best in the conference thanks to a row of pro-grade talent along the line. Our ability to make things happen on the ground will be a factor in the second half.

I don't love our chances on the road, but the difference might be special teams. Arkansas has been uneven, but the Gamecocks have been horrible. If Joe Adams is back to return punts, we all might better duck and cover. There's gonna be some explosions.

Follow Derek Jenkins throughout the week and during games on Twitter @aboynamedsooie.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Derek Jenkins

  • There's always next year

    I haven't even spoken to my friends. I ignored all the teary empty nonsense of postgame coverage. I didn't sign into Twitter for a week. Anyway, the game was on a loop in my head.
    • Jan 12, 2011
  • Last-minute gift guides

    A Boy Named Sooie's gift roundup includes "Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend," "Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson," "Free Darko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Basketball History" and more.
    • Dec 23, 2010
  • Where I stand on The Agreement

    Nobody has any reason to be the least bit disappointed with the job Bobby Petrino has done with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Still, I have my reservations about the document that shall henceforth be known as The Agreement.
    • Dec 16, 2010
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in A Boy Named Sooie

  • There's always next year

    I haven't even spoken to my friends. I ignored all the teary empty nonsense of postgame coverage. I didn't sign into Twitter for a week. Anyway, the game was on a loop in my head.
    • Jan 12, 2011
  • Last-minute gift guides

    A Boy Named Sooie's gift roundup includes "Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend," "Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson," "Free Darko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Basketball History" and more.
    • Dec 23, 2010
  • Where I stand on The Agreement

    Nobody has any reason to be the least bit disappointed with the job Bobby Petrino has done with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Still, I have my reservations about the document that shall henceforth be known as The Agreement.
    • Dec 16, 2010
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation