The Game of the Century, we’ve all heard about it, Nixon said it was the biggest game since he beat Chairman Mao at Ping Pong. Royal vs. Broyles, Hogs vs. Horns, we’ve been through this before, right? One of the great rivalries of the old SWC will renew itself this year, with the Arkansas Razorbacks traveling down to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns. The rivalry heated up some in the early 2000’s when the Longhorns and Hogs played a home and home series and faced each other in the Cotton Bowl, Longhorn fans might remember Houston Nutt flashing the upside down horns. These are the match-ups that get us here at SWC Game of the Week excited.
THIS WEEK’S GAME:
This week’s revisits an old SWC rivalry. Texas leads the all time series 55-21, including 27-11 in games played at Memorial Stadium in Austin, however Arkansas has won 3 of the last 4 games in Austin, including an upset of then #5 Texas in 2003, on Sept. 13th, the day of this years game. Arkansas has played Texas more than any other opponent. New coach Bobby Petrino has the Hogs off to a 2-0 start, however they have been shaky in those two games. The offense is trying to replace running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones (now with the Dallas Cowboys to keep your Texas connections alive.) These two have helped Arkansas lead the SEC in rushing in 4 of the last 5 years. However, Razorback QB Casey Dick has posted two 300+ passing yard games in 2008, becoming the first Arkansas player to do so. Tight end DJ Williams has been a favorite target this year, hooking up with Dick for a 76 yard touchdown pass against La Monroe last week. He recorded 124 yards and 2 touchdowns that game. Tailback Michael Smith, now seeing some playing time after McFadden and Jones have left, rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns last week, to try to keep the Razorback tradition of rushing greats alive. Up front the Hogs have senior center Jonathon Luigs, the Rimington Trophy winner from last year, given to the nation’s best center. On defense redshirt freshman linebacker Jerry Franklin leads the team with 19 tackles in the first two games. Arkansas has struggled some on defensive, giving three players (DE Jake Bequette, CB Tramain Thomas, and safety Dallas Washington) their first start of their careers against La Monroe. Arkansas has played 15 true freshmen this year, and they will need to grow up in a hurry to be successful this week.
Texas returns junior QB Colt McCoy, who has looked sharp early on in 2008. He is on all kinds of award watch lists, including the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best quarterback. McCoy has two seniors to throw to, Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley. Cosby posted a career high 154 yards and a touchdown against UTEP last week. Texas must replace 6 key starters on offensive, with the biggest perceived weakness being the running backs. Senior Chris Ogbonnaya, Sophomore Vondrell McGee and Redshirt Freshman Fozzy Whitaker are the three candidates to replace Jamaal Charles. Fozzy had a bit of a break out game against UTEP rushing 12 times for 72 yards. The guys on the line are led by one lone senior, Cedric Dockery (Outland Trophy watchlist) but are routinely bigger than everyone else. Under offensive coordinator Greg Davis (who Longhorn fans are not always pleased with) the Longhorns have averaged 33.8 points a season. On defense the Longhorns are led by insane defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, coming over from Auburn. After two awful seasons in pass defense he was brought over to add energy to the defense. He’s done that, ripping his headset off, cutting his head, and coaching his players up on the sidelines while blood was dripping down his face. Against UTEP he was seen running out on the field after a stop like a mad man, running and jumping on his players. SWC Game of the Week doesn’t like to editorialize, (yeah right) but this behavior is a bit ridiculous. Since we feel a coach behaving like this detracts from his players (the ones making the plays) we will oblige by not mentioning any of the Longhorn defenders. I mean, we’re distracted. Unfortunately, after two games Texas ranks 93rd in passing defense.
Arkansas has 23 players from Texas and will be ready to try to knock off a Texas team they will feel does not respect them. Texas will have the advantage of superior talent and a sold out crowd of 92,000+ in a newly renovated DKR Texas Memorial Stadium. This game will air on regional ABC at 2:30 CST. A wildcard is our friend Ike, out in the Gulf, which could change gametime, or make it a wet one. Stay tuned.
SWC MEMORIES PLAYER PROFILE:
This week we will look back at Lance “Bambi” Alworth, for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He was an all around athlete at Brookhaven, Mississippi and was the first Hog to letter in three sports in the same school year, 1961 (track, baseball and football.) He was an All American halfback in 1961 and played offense, defense, returned kicks and punted. (Of course he played the tuba at the half in the band.) He led the nation in punt returns in 1960 and 1961 with a career averaging of 13.5 yards. Arkansas was the SWC champion once and co-champion twice while he was a varsity athlete. They played in the Cotton, Gator and Sugar bowls. In 1961-62 he was voted the most outstanding amateur athlete in the state of Arkansas. He was president of his senior class at Arkansas in 1961, an Academic All American and the winner of the Southwest Conference Sportsmanship Award. (Man, I want my daughter to marry this guy…) Although offered baseball contracts with the Pirates and Yankees, he choose to play football after leaving college and starred with the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. He scored 87 touchdowns and was fourth all time in receiving yards over a ten year career (1962-1972) when he retired. It was his rookie year in the NFL where he earned the nickname Bambi. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
OTHER GAMES THIS WEEK:
Washington State at Baylor (Washington State was beat by OK State, but Bears are not quite the Cowboys, 5 point underdog at home)
Air Force at Houston (Another good non conference game for the Coogs)
Rice at Vanderbilt (One of these teams will be 3-0 after this game, amazing if you think about it. It would be the first time at 3-0 for Rice since 1953)
SMU at Texas Tech (Will Tech get 100? It might take 100 to win this one)
Stanford at TCU (Win over BCS conference school will look good for TCU)
RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK:
SWC Game of the Week:
OSU 56 UH 37 (UH can’t hold half time lead, OSU rolls in the second half)
Arkansas 28 Louisiana Monroe 27 (Arkansas squeaks by, now packs for Austin)
Baylor 51 Northwestern State 6 (Now Baylor, be nice, you know what it’s like to be on the other end of these things)
Rice 42 Memphis 35 (Rice is 2-0, and 2-0 in CUSA, offense looks great!)
SMU 47 Texas State 36 (SMU wins first for June Jones Era, defense could still use some work.)
Texas 42 UTEP 13 (UTEP pumped, full house, Miner pride, but Texas has the good football players)
Texas A&M 28 New Mexico 22 (Aggies hold on in the end, Jared Johnson plays QB for Ags after McGee hurt in first series)
TCU 67 SFA 7 (TCU blows out SFA, shows they are in a separate class)
Texas Tech 35 Nevada 19 (Will the Red Raiders bend don’t break defense hold in conference play?)
W L W L
Rice 1 0 2 0
Arkansas: 0 0 2 0
Texas 0 0 2 0
TCU 0 0 2 0
Texas Tech 0 0 2 0
Houston 0 0 1 1
Texas A&M 0 0 1 1
Baylor 0 0 1 1
SMU 0 1 1 1
ON THE BLOG:
Learn how to “Call the Hogs,” as all good Arkansas fans do.
With Ike heading towards the Texas Coast, we here at SWC Game of the Week wish all those in the path of this hurricane well.
A Blog devoted to all things SWC, the greatest college athletic conference. Updated weekly with the SWC Game of the Week during football season. Other relevant SWC News will appear from time to time as well.