2009 Danger Games: Georgia at Arkansas

Georgia at Arkansas (Sept. 24)
Look-Ahead Factor: Low
Letdown Factor: Medium
Kerouac Factor: High
Motivation Factor: Medium

Georgia opens with a blockbuster at Oklahoma State, followed by a home date with South Carolina. Rather than taking giving UGa a breather the week after, the Bulldogs are heading to Fayetteville for another early-season conference game against the Razorbacks.

Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino made it through a season in Pigsville without skipping off for another job, and his patience is being rewarded with a new rocket-armed quarterback for 2009. Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett takes over for the Dick brothers. Tired of being toyed with by Petrino, the younger Dick, Nathan, left school for Central Arkansas, while older brother Casey exhausted his eligibility. That makes Mallett the clear-cut number one heading into the fall.

Arkansas opens the season with FCS creampuff Missouri State. The next week finds a well-timed bye for the Hogs to circle the wagons and get ready for Georgia’s visit. While Mark Richt’s team will be coming off two tough openers, expect Petrino’s squad to be relaxed and refreshed. Also, keep in mind that this will be the first time the Bulldogs have seen Petrino’s vaunted offense.

Despite Arkansas’ below-average record of 5-7 in 2008, the Razorbacks played some solid football in the second half of the season. Outside of a 13-point loss at South Carolina, Arkansas either won or lost by a field goal or less in each of its last seven games. That included wins over LSU and a strong Tulsa team. Expect the Hogs to continue to show improvement in quality of play in 2009, even if that’s not reflected in their record. Arkansas’ schedule is just too tough to expect a major turnaround in the won-loss ledger. Still, Arkansas is likely to score at least one major upset this year. This looks like it could be it.

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2 Responses to “2009 Danger Games: Georgia at Arkansas”

  1. Sic'em Says:

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    The Arkansas game is interesting. Let me break it down for you, as you very well know I am an authority on the SEC. Your analysis is pretty close, but consider this……….

    Ryan Mallett does indeed have a cannon arm. What Mallett lacks is experience. Given the nature of the Petrino offense, he seems like the perfect fit to me. Here’s my thing…Michael Smith had a severe hamstring injury and Branden Barnett broke his tibia. Without a serious running game to keep the Dawgs honest, I am not sure the young Mr. Mallett will perform well. If Michael Smith is healthy he should be excellent as usual and provide the spark that Arkansas needs to make it competitive.

    With that being said I look for Joe Adams and Jarius Wright to have big sophomore years as receivers ….IF…..the offensive line can protect the young QB. Keep in mind that IF the UGa front seven comes into the game healthy, it ain’t gonna be easy for the Hogs.

    Arkansas returns seven starters on defense from a year ago. The thing is they sucked last year and gave up big plays time and again. Look for the talented, experienced offensive line of the Dawgs to open up huge holes for whichever TB gets the nod. This game will come to down to whether or not Arkansas matches up in the trenches.

    My prediction….UGa runs the ball with authority and controls the clock on offense. UGa dominates the line of scrimmage on defense and causes all sorts of problems for the inexperienced Mallett. I predict Petrino will have to go to the more mobile QB Tyler Wilson to have a chance.

    One more thing to consider Mr. LaCooch……UGa has a stellar road record under Richt. In my opinion, if your gonna sneak up on UGa, you do it between the hedges.

    It’s hard to say who’s special teams sucked more last year…I give the edge to home team in this area.

    On a side note. Most people in Georgia have a serious dislike of Petrino for the way he handled his departure from Atlanta. The Bulldog Nation will show up in huge numbers and provide some noise and motivation. You might want to adjust your motivation factor for that very reason.

  2. AK Says:

    Great feedback, Sic’em. Thanks.

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