We say this pretty much every year: “we’ll find out what our team is made of against Arkansas.” Except this year it doesn’t really feel like that’s true. Not because we already know what the team is made of, but because it seems like we probably still won’t know for certain after Saturday’s game.
We certainly know what this team is capable of. It’s capable of two polar extremes: what we saw in the first half against UCLA. A dominating, confident, terrifying football machine. It’s equally capable of what we saw in the first half against Louisiana-Lafayette: a hesitant, choppy, tentative, snakebit, mistake-prone disaster of a team.
Which team shows up? When will the team manage to lasso together a complete four quarters? These are the important questions, and the ones that no one in the universe has the answer to. Trying to predict these things is as futile as trying to bottle something as pure and fleeting as a Hill Country morning. We’re completely at the mercy of the whims of the football gods.
Here is what we do know about Arkansas: they came out and dominated an FCS opponent (as one is supposed to do) 49-7 on opening Thursday. Then they followed that up with a flat, uninspiring, and thorough bed-shitting against a solid TCU team, losing 28-7. They are also either very good or very bad. They’ve had a week off to marinade in that frustration, and will be facing us rested and angered, with a coach in a position nearly as tenuous as our own. Bielema has failed to break through to that next level despite showing flashes of brilliance over the past few seasons. His penchant for slow starts and strong finishes makes him the inverse of Sumlin, and in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately atmosphere of college football, that buys him a bit more leeway with an Arkansas fanbase every bit as demanding and proud as Texas A&M’s.
So here it is: two teams with one loss under their belts already halfway through September. An 11 a.m. game in a sterile, corporatized NFL facility. This is a far cry from the perfect way to kick off division play, but it’s what we’re left with. This has all the makings of a frustrating, conservative, uptight game. Which also means it’s always going to be one or two big plays from breaking wide open into a barn-burner as both coaches realize they need to win it at all costs. Either way, one of these programs is going to be on the verge of erupting into flames a week from now. That’s why we watch college football.
How confident are you that Texas A&M will beat Arkansas?
This poll is closed
I’m sold after that second half against ULL. Ags will win for sure.
Fairly confident, but not completely sold.
It’s a 50-50 toss-up.
If A&M plays extremely well, we’ve got a good shot at the victory.
We are doomed. Burn it all to the ground.