Arkansas and Ole Miss will kickoff what seems like the battle for the bottom of the division tomorrow in like 35 hours or something.
Ole Miss is favored to win, but you can’t tell based on the positive streaming out of every pore at Arkansas Fight — the SBNation blog for Razorback fans.
We caught up with Tucker Partridge who answered five questions we would probably ask an Arkansas visiting fan in a Grove tent tomorrow (you know, to be nice and polite while silently judging). Please take off the polypropylene Hog hat, I can’t take you seriously.
1.) How do Hog fans feel about Ben Hicks after seeing him in action last week?
It’s hard to say. The action was very limited, and the offense was very vanilla, probably with the Ole Miss game in mind. Hicks showed some mobility, and did make a couple of good throws, but I think the jury is still out where Arkansas fans are concerned. This game should be a “show me what you’ve got” moment for him, and at least afterward, we’ll know how this season is going to be, for better or worse.
2.) Arkansas snagged three interceptions last week, were they great defensive plays? And how do you think this defense is going to fare this season?
In any new system, under any new coach, the defense is going to be ahead of the offense. This is especially the case when the offense is as complicated as Chad Morris’ is. With that said, I was impressed with the improvement of positioning and defense IQ in the Portland State game. I think the defense will be much improved from last year. A guy like Sosa Agim has a lot on the line this year in terms of NFL draft potential, so I would look for him to break out this year in a big way.
I would also keep an eye on Kam Curl in the secondary, as he played maybe his best game as a Razorback against Portland State. The safeties overall were very active against Portland State, and it’ll be interesting to see if that’s the case Saturday. Historically, John Chavis loves safeties that fly all over the field. Perhaps he’s found his guys at Arkansas.
3.) What are expectations for fans this season? Is it good enough in a fan’s mind to get to four or five wins?
I talked about this a little bit on the Red Cup podcast, and it’s a question that I think many fans are wrestling with still. It’s hard to know what to expect from this Arkansas team. On one hand, you can see building anxiety about another disaster like last year, and on the other you can see us being a sneaky-good, barely bowl eligible team. I think mainly everyone just wants to see some semblance of progress. If the product on the field looks tangibly better, that should satisfy fans.
That may not translate to wins, so I hate to put a number on it. I think four wins is probably a bare minimum, and anything more from that would be a bonus. I think 6-6 is possible, but I think 4-8 is likely. It’s so hard to call though, because as soon as I say that we’ll win 2 games. Or maybe 8. It’s tough!
4.) This series has had some really crazy turns in the last 10 years, but what is more memorable for your fans in this series? The crazy 4th and 25 or is it another win?
It’s really hard to beat that 4th and 25. It’s still something I go back and watch occasionally because of how magical that moment was. However, this series has always been good, even predating Arkansas being in the SEC. Some other great games that come to mind immediately with a sort of larger than life status are the seven overtime game and the Powder River Pass game. I think it’s interesting that neither of these teams regards the other as a chief rival even though this series always plays like a rivalry.
Even last year’s game was a slug fest that I enjoyed until the end. It would be fun to see this become treated as more of a rivalry than it currently is. The Houston Nutt Bowl always seems to have some entertaining moments, and I don’t think Saturday will be different. I wouldn’t be shocked if something wacky determines the winner.
5.) What’s your prediction for Saturday?
I feel like any prediction I make will inevitably be wrong, so I’m just hoping for something fun. Maybe a casual eight overtime get him to break the record? The hopeful fan in me thinks that Arkansas get its first SEC win in a long time on Saturday. For the sake of readership, and to put my reputation on the line with the Red Cup faithful, I’ll say 28-24, Hogs win.