Beware: Hogs offense can get smokin’
There is nothing wrong with Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Good, solid college town. University of Arkansas. Kind of quaint.
Not as quaint of a college town as it used to be, you understand.
Having Walmart’s world headquarters nearby attracts a lot of business visitors and has turned the whole area into a rural Orlando, Florida, with every chain restaurant and name-brand hotel in America available within walking distance.
You don’t see many plastic hog hats in those expense-account magnets, but there’s still a certain charm to it.
Nice place to visit.
LSU just seems to pick the wrong time of the year to make the trek.
November isn’t the month the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce likes to hawk about.
You go up there in November expecting to freeze, and Fayetteville rarely disappoints.
When the LSU-Arkansas game was played in Little Rock, there was always the chance the game could end up in the deep freeze. But it was about a 50-50 proposition.
In Fayetteville, it will be cold — and when I say cold, I don’t mean chilly. When Fayetteville does cold, forget the real temperature — it’s that damp, icy ache that cuts right through seven layers of outerwear and bores straight to the bone.
LSU’s first trip as an SEC member was in 1992, and, despite sitting in a somewhat enclosed press box, it was the turn of the millennium before I thawed out.
So LSU will have to survive that again this year as the temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to somewhere north of Siberia, like only Fayetteville can do.
By all accounts, the Tigers should survive.
Arkansas hasn’t won an SEC game this year, only two from the rest of the apple cart.
This is the kind of game, for the Tigers, that you just want to survive and move on to prove you’re done obsessing about Alabama.
Word is that All-American linebacker Devin White will be eligible for the first half this time.
You don’t need a lot of style points. Just get a victory and get back to somewhere warm and familiar.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has avoided the hangovers that often go with losing to Alabama.
But if LSU does nothing else while shivering in the Ozarks, at some point the Tigers need to get a private moment or two with the Razorbacks and ask them, how in the world they scored 31 points against by-gawd Alabama?
I’d heard about it. Rumors had been floating around. But I looked it up. Made sure I double-dare, cross-checked it. You know how the internet gets loose with the facts sometimes.
But apparently this was all on the level.
It wasn’t a particularly close game. But the Hogs did score. Fairly often, in fact. LSU, of course, against the same team, not at all. Zero.
Alabama 65, Arkansas 31.
Shoot, that would have been enough points for LSU to beat the Tide.
Arkansas didn’t even get a pat on the snout.
LSU feels good when it cracks double digits on Nick Saban.
Maybe the Tigers can steal the Razorbacks’ formula. Give The Boot back them for it.
The Razorbacks, keep in mind, are trying to run first-year coach Chad Morris’ dynamic round-hole offense with the square pegs left over from the clunky Bret Bielema era.
Or maybe it’s the other way around. I get my pegs mixed up occasionally.
But those Pig Pegs scored 31 points … on Alabama.
LSU almost scored a touchdown until an interception got in the way. And missed a short field goal attempt.
But zero is zero.
And a 2-7 team scored 31?
One theory was that it was still fairly early in the season and Alabama was still feeling its oats with the notion of morphing into a point-a-minute scoring machine with a real quarterback.
Even the Tide defense was so enamored that at first it was content to sit back and opera-clap at the display.
But Bama’s defense, which was used to "hogging the spotlight," if you’ll excuse the phrase, eventually started to pout, and got serious as the season wore on, culminating with the LSU shutout.
OK, but in Bama’s previous game against Tennessee, which is in a heated battle with Arkansas to be the SEC’s worst team, managed 21 points.
You’re figuring Arkansas’ offensive success — which has been only fair-to-middlin’ when not playing Alabama — was a fluke that day.
Not on paper.
Three of the touchdowns came on 75-yard drives.
LSU may need to bundle up and try a few of those Saturday night.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU
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