Saturday evening, the Arkansas Razorbacks saw what every road team wants to see. The South Carolina Gamecock fans were pouring out of Williams-Brice Stadium as if it were on fire.
And rightfully so, after all, the Hogs were on fire.
The Arkansas Razorbacks put together the most complete performance we have seen all season long. The real kicker is that, the score was not indicative of how badly the Hogs whipped the Gamecocks.
The Hogs could have, in my opinion, easily scored 50 points on South Carolina.
Many were left wondering after the news broke that the Razorbacks would be without Greg Childs, how the offense would fair, and who would step up.
Enter Cobi Hamilton.
Hamilton made his presence felt early in the ballgame, and continued to remind everyone in attendance as well as t.v. viewers, that he was more than willing and ready to step in for his fallen comrade and help take up slack.
Going into Saturday’s game, we all knew South Carolina’s pass defense was atrocious, and that Ryan Mallett would probably be foaming at the mouth.
What’s more, is that South Carolina’s run defense was expected to balance out the Hogs attack.
After Knile Davis rushed 22 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns, we all stand corrected. Knile Davis has definitely broken away from the pack, and couldn’t have done so at a better time.
In the past, the Hogs have somewhat struggled through the last four games. We all remember 2006, when after a season opening loss to USC, the Hogs ripped off 10 straight wins, only to lose to LSU, then Florida in the SEC Championship game, and to end the season with a loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
But gauging from what we witnessed yesterday, the Hogs looked poised to end with a flurry.
Next week Texas-El Paso comes to Fayetteville, then the Hogs take a short trip to Starkville to face Mississippi State before the regular season finale against LSU in Little Rock.
After the Auburn game, the Hogs defense has shifted gears. Last week the defense dominated Vanderbilt, and this week the defense held the most efficient quarterback in the league to under 200 yards and picked him off twice.
And South Carolina’s stud running back Marcus Lattimore, a non factor. Stephen Garcia was the Gamecock’s leading rusher. The Hogs held South Carolina’s run game to just 105 yards on 27 carries.
With the Hogs winning and Alabama losing to LSU, things have opened up in the SEC West. Although I’ve heard mention that Arkansas could still grab a share of the West title, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Too many things have to happen for that to take place.
However, the Hogs can still land the number two spot in the SEC by winning out, and Alabama losing to Mississippi State or to Auburn in the Iron Bowl at season’s end.
What it boils down to is, if Alabama one more and the Hogs win out, Arkansas could be Sugar Bowl bound. As it stands now, potential bowls for the Hogs are as follows:
- Beat UTEP, MSU and lose to LSU : Outback or Chick-fil-a or Cotton Bowl
- Beat UTEP, lose to MSU, LSU : Outback or Chick-fil-a or Cotton Bowl
- Win out : Capital One Bowl
- Win out with Auburn getting at large bid for NCG: Sugar Bowl
Basically for the Hogs to reach the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the Hogs not only have to win out, but become Auburn fans the rest of the way.
If Auburn loses at any point, the best Arkansas can do would be the Capital One Bowl.
To have a little fun, I thought I would give a projection as to potential opponents for the Hogs given the bowl game.
- Chick-fil-a Bowl : (SEC no. 3,4or5) vs (ACC no. 2) Florida State
- Outback Bowl: (SEC no. 3,4 or 5) vs (Big 10 no. 3) Wisconsin
- Cotton Bowl: (SEC no. 3,4or 5 West) vs (Big 12 no. 2) Missouri
- Capital One Bowl: (SEC no. 2) vs(Big 10 no. 2) Michigan State
- Sugar Bowl: (SEC no.1)*vs (BCS at-large) Boise State
*Again, the only way for the Hogs to get a bid for the Sugar Bowl is if Auburn wins out and gets a bid to Glendale, Arizona for the National Title game.
With many teams having four games left it was difficult to chose, but those are my projected opponents for the Hogs, given they play in those respective bowl games.
In choosing each team, I looked at the team’s remaining schedule and gave my best effort in foreseeing how each contest would end and ultimately decide the layout of each conference. For the Sugar Bowl, it’s obviously based on the BCS rankings at the end of the year.
Follow James Moseley on Twitter: @james_moseley