Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Better days due for Hogs, not right away
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --12/05/2012-- Bret Bielema, the new University of Arkansas head football coach speaks to the media during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the University of Arkansas after the announcement of his hire.
LITTLE ROCK A new year, a new beginning and a day when people make resolutions, most of which will be forgotten in short notice.
Here’s a hint: The first time you hang something other than a towel on that piece of gym equipment you got for Christmas, go ahead and sell it.
And here are the annual predictions for 2013 with a couple of resolutions for good measure: PREDICTION The Arkansas Razorbacks football team will win more than four games, but five might be the limit. Bret Bielema inherits a team in need of experience and confidence.
The former staff did a disservice to the future of the football program by not getting more experience for some of the freshmen, especially quarterback Brandon Allen.
No one can argue about the staff Bielema is putting together. It is sounding like the ones Frank Broyles assembled, and he has the assistant coach of the year award named after him.
So here’s to 5-7 this season and 6-6 the year after. The rebuilding process is a route race and the Razorbacks Nation needs to be realistic and patient.
RESOLUTION People who travel out of state write to say that we have one of the best newspapers and sports sections in the country. I resolve to continue to do everything I can to have that sports section be a watchdog for the sports fans all over the state.
PREDICTION This is a bit lofty, and it is not meant to put any pressure on him because he feels pressure all the time anyway, but Joe Foley and the UALR Lady Trojans will make the championship game of the Sun Belt Tournament and have a shot at their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. They are the state’s best-kept secret for watching great basketball.
PREDICTION Mike Anderson has started the rebuilding process for the Razorbacks’ men’s team. They are better than last year, but it will take a run in the SEC Tournament to assure them of a NCAA Tournament bid. The SEC, and especially the Hogs, are under the radar, but the Razorbacks had quality games with Syracuse and Michigan.
PREDICTION UALR and Arkansas State will meet in a Sun Belt Tournament men’s semifinal in Hot Springs, and it will go down to the final :0.9 when a shot breaks the heart of one of the teams.
PREDICTION Compared to last year, Jeff Long’s 2013 will be like a picnic with his wife, Fanny, in Paris.
PREDICTION Interest in a bowl game at War Memorial Stadium will continue to grow and a feasibility study will be done. The big question will be, will the community support it?
PREDICTION Dave Van Horn and the Diamond Backs open the season with targets on their backs, ranked the No. 1 team in preseason by at least one poll. They won’t stay there because the schedule is too difficult, but they are a College World Series team if they can avoid injuries and get a little help from newcomers.
PREDICTION Until Jerry Jones gets rid of quarterback Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys will not win the NFC. Fans from Dallas to Little Rock are frustrated.
PREDICTION An announcement will be made soon about the most exciting sports banquet in Arkansas in June, and the featured speaker will make it one of the toughest tickets to come by ever.
RESOLUTION To be the person God intended me to be every day.
PREDICTION Maybe it is because the Razorbacks haven’t been in the NCAA Tournament recently, but it doesn’t seem to be quite the event it once was. But there is still great interest so here’s one guess at the Final Four in Atlanta:
Indiana, which has survived NCAA sanctions; Kansas, a great three-point shooting team; Duke and Syracuse.
On a final note, prayers to Eddie Sutton and his family after Sutton’s wife, Patsy, suffered a massive stroke Friday.
Sports, Pages 13 on 01/01/2013