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:
Georgia, Texas A&M talk of SEC after Week 1
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin gives instructions to players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
The first week of college football again had the world of perspiring arts chirping about the SEC.
For a change, it didn't start with Alabama.
Georgia's 45-21 beatdown of Clemson got everyone's attention, especially after the Bulldogs shut out the Tigers in the second half while scoring 24 consecutive points.
Just as impressive was Texas A&M's 52-28 victory over South Carolina on the road. Johnny who? Aggies quarterback Kenny Hill threw for a school-record 511 yards and put himself in the early Heisman Trophy picture.
Almost as impressive was LSU's come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin in Houston. The Tigers trailed 24-7 but shut down the Badgers and scored 21 consecutive points. It was supposed to be the coming out party for LSU freshman running back Leonard Fournette, but he was held to 18 yards on eight carries while Kenny Hilliard rushed for 111 on 18 carries, including the game-winning touchdown.
Alabama beat West Virginia 33-23, but under the direction of new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin the Crimson Tide had 538 yards of total offense (288 on the ground and 250 in the air).
Of course, Coach Nick Saban does not like to run it up on other coaches. Who would have ever guessed he'd be the early leader for the sportsmanship award?
Of the 12 games involving SEC teams, only South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Arkansas lost, and the Gamecocks and Hogs lost to SEC opponents.
Vanderbilt's glory days faded in a hurry after getting racked and sacked by Temple, 37-7. Temple?
One last observation to wrap up the first weekend of football: The SEC Network has some work to do. The games were good, but filling every minute of every day with interesting news about the SEC is going to be extremely difficult.
Chris Peterson made some comments that he shouldn't have made, and for a day, or maybe two at the most, there will be some chatter about his resignation as UALR's athletic director.
In short order the incident will be forgotten, partly because it is football season and partly because it happened at UALR. What will be remembered is that some good things happened during his 14 years as the Trojans athletic director.
Besides, there isn't much doubt that Peterson was already under scrutiny and pressure. There was the fiasco that surrounded the baseball team during the summer, which included the resignation of Coach Scott Norwood, who Peterson tried to protect, and self-reporting some NCAA violations that have led to a costly investigation.
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Before that, Peterson let it be known that if central Arkansas got a postseason football bowl game, he would be leaving UALR to take the job as executive director of that bowl.
There also was the interview with UNLV a year ago, and apparently there are some Title IX issues at the school.
Then throw in a reduced UALR budget that has affected athletics so severely that the men's basketball team may have to bus to Boone, N.C., for its game with Appalachian State. That's 718 miles each way, or approximately 12 hours on a bus, and two days later UALR plays host to Georgia Southern.
There are some good folks in the community who are trying to work out some flights for the team.
All of that makes for stress, and early last week during a casual dinner Peterson said he wasn't sure if he would finish his career at UALR.
The comments Peterson made were mostly locker room stuff, and they'll be talked about for a day or two, but wherever Peterson lands it will probably be at a school with a football program. He was a football player in college, coached college football and even tried to start football at UALR.
Sports on 09/04/2014