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Off-week bullet points


*Yeah, it wasn't technically an off week, but ... really? The first half against the EMUs was as glorious as a Saturday morning run, more exhilarating than exhausting. The Hogs deserved not only a day off, but the satisfaction of breezing through the motions as well. I don't think you can overstate the power of being able to visualize that kind of success.


*You'll never convince me (and of course we'll never know) we wouldn't have won the Florida game with Joe Cool Adams streaking across the middle of the field. Without the injured Brandon Spikes to deal with, he would have given the Gators fits. He's the heart and soul of this team, representative of everything Petrino's offense stands for, and it's good to have him back.


*The third quarter ought to keep Willy Robinson up at night. There's no way for the Hogs to make it to the SEC Championship and/or a BCS bowl with a defense giving up so many plays of 30-plus yards. Even if we can limit the tendency relative to this year, the season's just too long.


*This week against South Carolina, we'll face almost the complete reverse of the situation we had going into Ole Miss. We're coming off a rejuvenating cupcake; they're coming off a crushing loss. Both programs are in a position that a win or a loss would define the season.


*The Gamecock defense gave up 341 yards to a very shabby Vols team last week, giving up two touchdowns to Jonathan Crompton and granting Lane Kiffin his first quality conference win (Georgia clearly doesn't count).


*However, South Carolina's just as much a mystery as any other middling SEC team (including Arkansas). Last week, the Gamecocks never recovered from two early fumbles that led to scores, but the play was pretty even beyond those mistakes. Their conference losses have been largely squeakers, as have been their wins. It seems to come down to how the ball bounces every week.


*Players like Eric Norwood can help it bounce their way. The safety/linebacker specializes in blitzing for sacks. He can get into Mallett's head as quickly as anybody in the league.

On offense, Stephen Garcia has been more consistent than expected. He threw for 300 yards against Tennessee's defense last week, more than they've allowed from any SEC quarterback this season.


*And he's got a legitimate star in his favorite target, a true freshman wide receiver. He'll exploit our secondary just like everybody else this season, but at least they'll one day get to tell their grandchildren they got burned by Alshon Jeffery.


*Still, you have to believe you make your own luck. Arkansas has the firepower and the talent to win every remaining game on its schedule. South Carolina has a habit of melting down towards the end of the season when Spurrier finally reaches his boiling point. Troy's a good team, but they're catching us too late to sneak up on us. Mississippi State at home is essentially a gimme, especially given our D's efficacy against the spread. Les Miles could lead the best LSU team to a loss against anybody, and the Tigers aren't that good this year. From here on out, the real battle will be in our heads.


*Cliff Lee seems to have the coolest head in the business. His performance in the first game of the World Series could have been devastating to a lesser team, but the Yanks just shrugged it off as a dominant night by a great pitcher. Lee's nonchalant attitude would have been legendary on a team that won it all, but I imagine folks will be talking about it for a while anyways.


*Arkansas boys were all over the series. AJ Burnett got chased in the third inning of game five on three days rest, but his game two start stuffed the momentum of Lee's historic performance. He's been a lightning rod for the Yankees this season, and someday maybe he'll get a pie in his own face as proper thanks.


*Former Razorback Eric Hinske only got a chance to contribute a single run following his solid at-bat in the game five loss, but that's better than Ryan Howard played all series long.



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