Arkansas fans are giddy after beating No. 16 Mississippi State on Saturday night … while Auburn was getting drilled by Georgia.
Which is why some of the folks on on The Plains are starting to get a little restless.
Don’t blame the Razorbacks. They didn’t send Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris to Auburn. They voluntarily paid Gus $7 million a year for awhile (with guarantees) to keep him from coming to Arkansas … which some think never was going to happen anyway.
Both teams come into Saturday afternoon’s game with identical 1-1 records, but completely different mindsets among the fans.
Welcome to the SEC where moods and expectations change weekly. It just means more.
But on paper, these two teams have lost to a common opponent (Georgia) and won a game over a similar opponent (Mississippi State and Kentucky) … and the Hogs have BETTER numbers.
The Tigers are struggling, especially on offense and that’s what has their fan base moaning and groaning.
They haven’t been able to run the ball which is what Malzahn and Morris desperately want to do. The Hogs are out-performing them through two games in that area, but it’s not exactly a strong point on either team.
Arkansas has 140 yards combined in the first two games while Auburn has 130 … yes that’s combining both games and just remember that’s what happens when both teams have played Georgia.
The Razorbacks also have more total offense (555-540). Let that sink in for a minute. The Hogs are out-performing Auburn and the offensive coordinator who will gladly take credit for Clemson winning a couple of national championships.
Oh, lest we forget, they also have Malzahn. Many folks in Arkansas still thinks he invented offense. While he’s shown he can win a single game at the big-time college level, Gus can’t seem to win THE game that matters most every year.
At Auburn, Malzahn has beaten Georgia exactly twice in nine tries and one of those was the miracle pass in 2013. He has beaten Alabama three times which means more to some people but is it really worth $7 million a year to more than a few boosters?
That’s their problem, along with their current offensive coordinator who has established an offense that looks remarkably similar to what he had at Arkansas in 2018-19 … and not making it two years.
Morris gets fired in Fayetteville and goes to Auburn. Now the Razorbacks are slightly ahead of the Tigers in offensive production two games into the season.
Still think coaching doesn’t matter?
Auburn may have now passed Texas A&M as the most over-rated team in the SEC. What many talking heads have said the first couple of weeks is the Tigers’ defense is why they are not over-rated.
The Hogs are doing better. While the Tigers’ allegedly top-tier defense has given up an average of 413 yards a game the Hogs have allowed 393.5 per game … and that includes Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.
In both games, Auburn’s offense has looked more chaotic than Arkansas’ … which includes that opener against Georgia where it looked at times like they came to the line and played a game of musical chairs.
The oddsmakers apparently think the Hogs’ win over State last week was a fluke. They have Auburn as a 16-point favorite, so apparently they are looking at recruiting rankings and not the stats from this year.
Since back in the summer, I’ve said the talent on this Arkansas team wasn’t as bad as the record the last three years or so.
The defense played hard, but not well, in the opener against Georgia and got ripped apart in the third quarter.
Against Mississippi State, they stuck to a solid game plan and made the plays they needed to and the offense did enough to come away with a win nobody expected.
But the biggest thing I’ve been curious about for two years is what happens if this team gets that win that can kick-start a program.
By the numbers from this season, the Hogs and Tigers is a close matchup.
And now we’re all interested to see what Barry Odom cooks up for the Hogs’ defensive plan this week.