Auburn – Arkansas Set for Showdown in the West
Even though the Auburn Tigers’ game against Arkansas kicks off at 5:00 pm CT Saturday in Fayetteville, the game has the trappings of a high noon showdown in the old west. Their 23rd meeting is rife with underlining story lines.
With several members of the coaching staff hailing from the “Natural State” including Head Coach Gus Malzahn … what will it be like for them to return to compete against the Razorbacks?
Will Arky’s bye week give them any advantage? With the Hogs having won four of the last five is there anything to a so called Arkansas Hex?
Then there is the Bret Bielema drama that has been played out this week in the media (charges he made that Auburn was less than forthcoming with the game tapes the Tigers were required to send to Fayetteville).
Of course, that salvo just added fuel to the
feud grudge difference of opinion that started last July during SEC Media Days between the the two head sheriffs of the programs – over the so called “safety issues” of the Hurry-Up-No-Huddle Offense.
However, the most intriguing question has been who will start at quarterback for Auburn? Will backup Jeremy Johnson get his first SEC start or will No.1 QB Nick Marshall be ready to go after injuring his throwing shoulder in last week’s win over Florida Atlantic?
The latest word from Gus Malzahn came yesterday on his weekly Tiger Talk radio show, “Obviously we’d like for (Nick) to play, but at the same time he’s got to be healthy enough to do that.”
He added, “Jeremy is getting to a point where he can run our entire offense. There’s nothing we don’t feel like he can’t do.”
Make no mistake, despite the Hogs record this is a big game.
Arkansas has not had the season they would have liked to have had at this point and Bielema has marked this game as the one he really wants since he came to town. With the way things have gone for his team so far, he needs this game even more than he originally thought. He needs it for a chance to turn around
his the Hogs fortunes.
For the No. 8 Tigers, a win keeps them as the second highest ranked team in the SEC and in contention for first place in the west.
So buckle up Tiger fans, this is going to be another SEC West Showdown! War Eagle and …
Beat ‘dem Hoggs!
There can be only one left standing after a showdown in the West