LET'S GO TO ARLINGTON. HOORAY.
I have to get this out of the way - I was wrong last week, and I’m sorry. I thought my bravado would help vault the team to victory, and I was wrong. But they beat the damn spread, so if you made a bet you owe me. Hit me up on Venmo.
I’m not even going to write about the ins and outs of this game for 2 reasons.
1. I never write about the ins and outs of a game, have you ever read this part of the Tailgate?
2. We are going to beat the ever living, ever loving, compound, complex, Fightin Texas Aggie Class of XXXX (I ain’t tryna offend anyone) shit out of Arkansas.
I mean it’s a rough season for the piggies. Some historically shitty team in green beat the hell out of them. What was their name? Oh, right. Colorado State. HI, JIMMY! I’m kidding, North Texas looks pretty good, but damn, y’all. And the Ags are pissed off.
I, the fan, am pissed off that this game could be played on each school’s campus, but instead is sacrificed at the altar of Jerry. This place only exists because it’s fed by the liveliness of football games it devours. There is no passion here. It’s a shopping mall with stadium seating. It’s where you and 80,000 of your closest friends get together to calmly watch a sporting event on a giant TV. It’s your friend’s very expensive convertible that he NEVER DRIVES WITH THE TOP DOWN.
Oh, and kids, don’t hit the TV with the football. Dad’ll get mad. He hung that there to be a compliment to the game, and you little shits better not break it or you’ll be grounded. I seriously hope that the punters of each team have a side bet as to who can clang the most off the bottom of the screen. Wouldn’t that be a fun drinking game? SHOTS WHEN THE BALL HITS THE MITSUBISHI!
Neutral site games blow.
Aggies - 42
Pigs - 13
CAST OF CHARACTERS
How about that record-breaking performance at Bama? There remains but one true test via Jerryworld before he cements his place in Aggie Punter Lore: the only type of "targeting" this blog endorses right here.
Years pass. Seasons change. People shine and fade away. These trousers don't. If only the offensive line were as crisp, resilient, and ever-protective as the sharp creases in this gentleman's sensible khakis. Unlike Jim's leg garments, they're allowing far too many sacks to exist.
Arkansas is bad, but they're still gonna load up on heavies up front and try to #RTDB on ya. Look to the senior and team's leading tackler for loss to anchor a steady and productive rotation in the trenches. How's about some turnovers while we're at it, eh Elko? Who wouldn't love to see #8 in the Piesman discussion?
Folks, this is a CLASSIC CEO move: eliminate a highly specialized position with the expectation that other employees will just naturally fill the role in their free time. It's either quietly brilliant or a glaring, miserable failure, in which case a year later, the CEO gets to fill the position under the guise of a catchy new title and act like he made up a new position to address a weakness. Smart!
ANNOUNCER ALERT: JERRY JONES' GRANDSON PLAYING IN JERRY JONES' STADIUM UNDER THE WATCHFUL GAZE OF JERRY JONES HIMSELF. Folks, expect to hear about this a few dozen times Saturday morning. Although JSJ is the fourth(?) string QB, he's still the Hogs' most efficient rusher, averaging 15 yards per carry*
Yes, he's named directly after the game "bumper pool" what of it? His father loved bumper pool, and also loved the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue." The man was destined to play linebacker in the SEC. Has a 60-yard fumble return on the year, making him only one of three Hogs to carry the ball 60+ yards on a single play.
Folks, I don't want to be the perennial bee in the leading crown of the bonnet here, but we need to talk about tackling.
You gotta keep your heads up when tackling, fellas. If I wanted to see folks emerge completely unscathed while attackers launched themselves blindly and headlong into them over and over, I'd follow politics twitter, OK? Not to mention the potential for targeting calls. Right or no, you'll remove yourself from the possibility if you quit ducking your head like Screech getting shoved into a locker. Listen, if Donovan Wilson gets one more tragic ejection, he gets a special card punched and his name entered to win a drawing to become Goose's stunt double in the next Top Gun reboot, mmkay?
Look, if I wanted to see grown men throw themselves awkwardly at football players, only to be made to look foolish by failing to make any contact whatsoever, I'd fork out some dough for a premium recruiting service, babe. Alabama ball carriers were wading through Aggie defenders like a kid in a balloon pit last weekend. That game had more whiffs than Paul Finebaum trying to take batting practice with Tim Tebow, K? Just look at the ball carrier, put those arms around him, and drive his ass into the ground. I wanna see more pig wrapped up tight than the pork tenderloin station in Iron Chef Mike Symon's kitchen, alright?
Let's get out there and squeeze some bacon, gentlemen.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
There will be a familiar mustache in the Arkansas booth this weekend. John Chavis, a.k.a. "The Chief", a.k.a. "Third and Chavis" is the Hogs' new defensive coordinator, and boy howdy! If you look past the 33 points allowed average, Chavis really has things humming in Hogville. He even has a top 10 rushing defense - a statistic that beggars belief in Aggieland. The Aggie offense should overwhelm this defensive unit handily, but part of me wonders if Chavis might have it in him to screw the Aggies one last time.
We all know (and the Wall Street Journal reported) that announced attendance numbers are bullshit, as any Aggie who ever attended a late-season against Chattanooga A&T can attest. The voice on the PA announces a patently absurd number and all of the loyal fans cheer wildly because the emperor's clothes are indeed the finest they have ever beheld. Everyone does it, no one knows why.
Attendance smack talk is the saddest of smack talk, which is why this is not an attempt to mock the fact that Arkansas announces numbers 72% higher than the actual number of scanned tickets. No, this is an offer, Arkansas. I don't know what is going on but I want you to know that if you need to talk I'm here for you. I'll be in the stands, and odds are there will be an extra seat next to me if you need it.
This is the spot every year where I bemoan the slow death of college football's spirit at the hands of soulless neutral site games held at NFL stadiums decorated like a corporate board room. Not this year, though. In 2018 I accept the inevitable and become excited about continuing to sell our soul one Jerryworld paycheck at a time, because 1) someone's gotta pay the bill for that corporate board room we play our home games in, and 2) I'm wary about going to Fayetteville after all.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC
SOUTH CAROLINA @ #17 KENTUCKY
I am 38 years old, and this is only the 3rd season in my lifetime that the Kentucky Wildcats have appeared in the top 25 poll. The last time that this happened was the year the original iPhone was released, the time before that was the year that the first Apple Macintosh was sold.
The undefeated, top 25 Kentucky Wildcats also hold a 4 game win streak against South Carolina (in two of those seasons Kentucky did not even make it to bowl eligibility. Look for these Wildcats to continue their shock and awe campaign of the SEC East, and get excited to hear commentators actually utter the words "Kentucky is the only thing that stands between Georgia and the SEC championship game" without a hint of sarcasm.
That's right Jimbo, that needle can go either way. Texas A&M didn't permanently lash its financial well-being to the price of oil just to cover the spread. At this point you've been paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.15MM, and you've earned less than half that. Even the most unreasonable of Aggies* don't necessarily expect skins on the wall in year one, but they do expect more marks in the win column than the loss. If you honestly think we aren't foolhardy enough to start scraping together a nation-crippling buyout after one 8 win season, then congratulations on not having found TexAgs yet.
* - we are all the most unreasonable of Aggies
PLACE YOUR BETS
BEST CASE / BESTER CASE
Aggies dominate in a shutout victory. Jerry takes the top down (of the stadium). We all enjoy a cool semi-fall day, sip a few beers, and sleep well. Doesn't that sound nice?
An official makes a bad call, and Jimbo yells at him so loudly that the roof is blown off Jerryworld. We watch the team literally level up in front of our eyes as players take their new form, Keke appears to stay the same, but he has developed a snap anticipation super power. You can't see it, shut up. Both school's AD's agree to pay the penalties and switch this series to home-and-home.