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Pigs on the Plains: Arkansas Will Win on a beautiful day in Auburn, Alabama.

The Razorbacks have been successful playing on Auburns field and despite a great crowd I don’t see the home field as a big advantage in this game. If the pigs can score early and keep the crowd out of it, their chances improve demonstrably. Gametime 2:30 Central Standard time on CBS (Channel 11 in central Arkansas).

Auburn's biggest asset (quarterback Cameron Newton) was a freshman at Florida but was charged with theft by receiving when he bought a stolen laptop cheap. With his career derailed he enrolled in a Junior College in Texas and began to rebuild. When interviewed he was articulate and forthcoming with the details of his stupidity in the incident. After he was interrogated by the police he threw the laptop out the window and later admitted that was a very dumb thing to do. Your author did a lot dumber things at that age so hopefully Cameron learned his lesson and is taking advantage of his second chance as thankfully I have.

Yes I’m basing most of my prognostication on the Auburn Quarterback and not Ryan Mallett. Cam Newton is much more mobile than Ryan and can throw very accurately on the run. He is such a good runner that Arkansas will probably consider using a “Spy” on him (probably Anthony Leon, our blossoming linebacker probably destined for free safety in the NFL) although Spy’s are used very rarely these days. If the Razorbacks Defensive Line by committee can pressure Newton out of the pocket and the Defensive Backs provide early coverage. A good spy could be showing up on Newton and ruin his day. I really don’t think that the pigs will start using a spy but if Auburn scores a couple of quick touchdowns and Newton is instrumental with long runs in those scores, the hogs better have a couple of spies on him. Today’s defenses are so thorough and complicated that they are designed to “focus” on something each play so I know the coaches have been working on how to FOCUS on Cam Newton in coaches meetings all week. As Al Davis used to say, the Auburn Quarterback “has to go down; and has to go down hard” early in the game.

I’m sure Ryan Mallett is going to have a big break out game some day and tomorrow could be perfect. Clear skies and 76 degrees would normally be a passers dream but Jordan Hare Stadium has a grass surface and I think artificial surfaces are better for the passing game. Ryan practices on artificial turf and plays on artificial turf so the footing for both him and his receivers could squelch this as his breakout day. In Fayetteville they made a parking lot out of the old grass practice field but I know there is some place they can go to get ready for grass just not sure where these days.

Dylan Breeding has been kicking more cannon shots than wounded ducks so far this year so it looks like maybe coach Petrino did good by keeping him around this year. Hope he does well on the grass this weekend.

All these games are about adjustments. Arkansas has been having good early games and sputtering in the second half. This one could be painfully different. Auburn may go up fast but Arkansas has a better chance to come back than Auburn does. So a low scoring close first half will benefit Arkansas because Auburn has to succeed and build on its success to have a chance. I think Arkansas will play even too slightly behind and then adjust and overcome in the second half to finish up 35 to 31. That score will not be a shoot out for these teams. A ‘shootout’ would end with about eighty plus points. I see Auburn becoming raddled late and failing to score a necessary finale drive touchdown to lose to Arkansas.

Gus Malzahn the modern day fireworks offensive coordinator has gone from Springdale High School to Arkansas to Tulsa and Auburn in just four or five years. He revived the old Kansas Wildcat offense used at Kansas long ago and made it the Wild Hog when at Arkansas. It is used now throughout college and professional football. He dialed up enough offense to come back against Clemson which whipped Auburn bad in the first half. His final drive plays overcame bad down and distance problems late necessary to salvage a win. Don’t look for them to succeed at that if they are behind Arkansas late. I see the game ending with an Auburn receiver sprawled on the field with arms outstretched for a Cam Newton Pass thrown just before Cam is tackled on the sideline falling out of bounds. The pass will be short and to the receiver’s right as they try to score a touchdown made necessary by as I predicted a four point deficit.

Auburn players to watch other than Newton are Lee Ziemba a three year letterman from Rogers, Arkansas. This is one 6’8” 319 lb (Senior) blue chip lineman that Arkansas should have never let out of town. He made Freshman All American his first year at Auburn. Auburn always has great defensive lineman so look for plays late in the game by their defensive line rush.

On the darker side Auburn has existed in the shadow of a bad pay for play scandal under former coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan since the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when it won but had taken away its National Championship. The stadium is still partially named after Jordan but perpetuates a long history of suspicion that Auburn players are compensated similar to the way University of Southern California players are compensated. They could be the highest paid players east of Los Angeles. In light of the Reggie Bush scandal at USC who was getting a house for his family and gifts estimated over $100,000, if you were looking for a bubble to burst on pay for play at another school you would have to look no further than Auburn, Alabama. Why else would you want to live in southeast Alabama?

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