NCAA Football 2012 – Week 1-3 This is Reid Shelton.

I wanted to start my own blog, and I may eventually, but it seems like too much work at the moment. I thought I would share my thoughts on NCAA Football, the wins, the losses, and all of the changes and other note-worthy material therein. NCAA football has become quite an obsession for me, especially when you are talking about my favorite teams. I have always wanted to share my thoughts with my peers, but I don’t want to put any one person on information overload. Perhaps putting all of my thoughts in written form will be an appropriate remedy. I will primarily be talking about my two favorite teams (since I’m an Arkansan, you can only guess which two): the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Arkansas State Red Wolves. So…let’s get started Arkansas Razorbacks Bobby Petrino is out. After a much-debated-over decision by athletic director Jeff Long, the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks was removed because of his decision to hire a woman with whom he has had intimate relations. A lot of anger was vented towards the athletic administration because of this decision. Ol’ Bobby definitely has…sorry, had a fantastic track record with his Razorbacks, but, in my opinion, Mr. Long made the right and ethical decision to let him go. The head coaching position was given to John L. Smith, a long-time “veteran” in the college football world. The Razorbacks’ first game of the college season was against FCS opponent Jacksonville State. Now, I think this game should have been similar to the first two quarters of the Ducks v. Red Wolves game – a total blow out. But it wasn’t. JSU put up points and they were leading after making the first touchdown of the second quarter. However, the Razorbacks responded with four consecutive touchdowns and won the game 49-24. Maybe just a warm-up for the Razorbacks, but there are no excuses for their next performance. A true David and Goliath story – ULM came into War Memorial Stadium in Week 2 and downright embarrassed the Hogs coming back from a first half 28-7 deficit to a 34-31 win in overtime. Hogs fans were shocked and shaking in their red plastic pig noses when they looked at Week 3 opponent Alabama. Alabama literally murdered any chance of a Razorback team being a prominent power in this year’s football environment. A 52-0 shut out by the Crimson Tide pushed Arkansas straight to the bottom of the food chain and back to 1966 (the Razorbacks last shut-out defeat at Fayetteville: a 7-0 loss). Fans filed out as soon as they sat down. You could have heard a pin drop at the end of the game – practically a ghost town. Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis came to the post-game press conference and announced that they had quitters on their team and if they want to work, then

work. If not? Get out. There was fire in their eyes and I can’t blame them. Knile Davis had to go up against the best defense in the NCAA by himself, without his fellow powerhouse Tyler Wilson. The game was over before it even started. The rest of the season looks bleak for the beat-up and demoralized Razorbacks. They won’t be able to last against SEC champions LSU. Mississippi State will come in and romp them too, I’m sure. Maybe they could pull a win against Auburn? ULM nearly upset the Tigers in a game very similar to week 2’s upset…except the Tigers capitalized and finished the Warhawks off with a 31-28 defeat in overtime. If Kentucky and/or Ole Miss pull a W out of the games they play with the Razorbacks, you better hope that Mr. Long hires a god of a coach. Many are calling for John L’s blood, but nothing can be done to improve now. The fans need to last through the last 75% of the NCAA season before a new and better leader can take the helm and hopefully steer the team to its former glory. Arkansas State Red Wolves So Hugh Freeze left…and didn’t even coach the bowl game. Coming off a 38-20 loss to NIU at the GoDaddy Bowl, the Arkansas State Red Wolves have every reason to be excited. Ironic you say? I think not. In what seemed like a dream come true for Red Wolf fans, Gus Malzahn, the modern-day Einstein of offensive football had decided to coach the Red Wolves. Coming off of a 2010 BCS national championship Auburn Tiger team, Gus shocked the world of sports when he decided to take the reins at Arkansas State. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to coach the bowl game, but he started quickly enough. Let me tell you a few things that are going on in Jonesboro. Dr. Dean Lee, the former athetic director for Arkansas State, was removed from his post and sent into “University Advancement” in University Administration. Dr. Chuck Welch, ASU system president, has said that he is leading a national search to find a high-caliber candidate to take up the mantle. He is quoted saying that we need an AD that specializes in directing a program on the rise. That search is still underway – no news yet on any candidates or possible leads on a chosen few. ASU is also investing in a $22 million dollar indoor football training and practice facility. The virtual tour promised a beautiful building on the north side of the stadium, taking the space of the bleachers there. This is all part of Gus’s plan to take ASU to the “next level” and become the “Boise State of the South”. That, among other improvements, are taking place in Jonesboro now while Gus coaches his inaugural season…which didn’t quite lead to success as everyone hoped it would. Oregon slaughtered all hopes of immediate success in the football department. The Ducks 50-3 lead at the end of the half was a bleak reminder of where ASU is in the NCAA. Chip Kelly began bringing in his 2nd and 3rd string to quell the Red Wolves second-half rally to lessen the Ducks lead. In the end it wasn’t enough: 57-34 was the final score in Eugene.

Memphis was supposed to be a cupcake win. What I mean by that is, Memphis was supposed to be a blowout win for ASU. Special team failure, however, proved to make this game closer than it really needed to be. Memphis led the scoreboard for most of the game. Maybe it was cockiness; maybe it was just a bad night in Jonesboro. Who knows? Ryan Aplin was sick that night. He was given fluids by the team medical staff prior to the game. It makes sense now since most of the game, Aplin handed off to Oku and Jackson for a slew of rushing plays. But the Red Wolves didn’t disappoint a near capacity crowd; they pulled it out 33-28. The Red Wolves travelled to Lincoln, Nebraska yesterday: a huge non-conference game that could go either way in my opinion. Nebraska came off a week 2 loss against UCLA (36-30). They couldn’t capitalize against the spread offense; an offense that the Red Wolves have been running for the past couple of seasons. Besides that, a lot of their defensive starters were either out due to injury or kicked off the team. If there was going to be an upset, the game in Lincoln was a sure recipe for one. But even without a head coach in the second half of the game, ASU couldn’t capitalize on several clumsy turnovers by the Nebraska offense and Nebraska got the W in a 42-13 rout of the Red Wolves. What I See… The thing that I have predicted ever since this season started is a shift in Arkansas. For a long time, the Razorbacks have been king of this state. And honestly, I am proud to call myself a Razorback fan. But, like I said, ASU is on the rise. And it may be too soon to say so, but Arkansas is falling…fast. Think of the state as a balance beam. This time last year, Fayetteville is at an all-time high. Arkansas State is at an all-time low. Now…Fayetteville is getting pulled down by the weight of a unexpected defeat and a shut-out. ASU is on the rise after their big hire and the promise of the future. Do you see the trend here? We’ll definitely see what the future hold for football in the state of Arkansas.

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