Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a voter for the Heisman Trophy, has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, and has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Comparing scores not helpful as Hogs prepare for Ole Miss
Arkansas coach Chad Morris directs his players against Alabama Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, during the fourth quarter at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Everyone knows the folly of comparing football scores.
Yet most everyone does it.
Pollsters polling and bettors betting inevitably compare the scores of common opponents before placing their rankings or placing their bets.
Even the non-betting fans, and likely players, too, mull common opponent scores trying to interpret causes for confidence in their team for the upcoming game.
So for an Arkansas Razorbacks 1-5 team, with the 5 comprising the last five games, there's likely a little confidence boost based on comparison shopping with the Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss and Arkansas kick off their SEC game at 6:30 Saturday night on the SEC Network at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Arkansas last Saturday in Fayetteville netted the most total yards, 405, and scored the most points on 6-0 nationally No. 1 SEC West leader Alabama while losing 65-31.
On Sept. 15, the Rebels, at their Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss., were 62-7 engulfed by Alabama's Crimson Tide.
A little confidence morsel perhaps. It better be a minuscule morsel in Arkansas Coach Chad Morris' view.
Overconfidence about anything marks the last thing these Razorbacks need. Especially considering that first-year coach Morris lectured on their inability to handle success upon losing a 27-9 during-the-third-quarter lead in their 34-27 loss on Sept. 8 at Colorado State.
"When you start looking at scores, there's a lot of different things that play into the mix," Morris said. "You don't have to look far. You can look at that (comparing the Alabama scores) or you can look at the records -- from their record to our record."
Arkansas's 1-5 is 0-5 against teams of its FBS peers after opening 55-20 over Eastern Illinois of the down-a-peg FCS.
Ole Miss, 4-2, has beaten the Big 12's Texas Tech, 47-27 and also routed nonconference foes Southern Illinois, Kent State and Louisiana-Monroe.
The Hogs, their coaches say, need to prepare respecting Ole Miss like they prepared respecting Alabama.
"Third week in a row (Alabama, Texas A&M and now Ole Miss) we're playing one the top offenses in the country," Morris said. "They had like 815 yards (actually an even higher 826) last week. Defensively, they've forced 11 turnovers."
In all respects, Morris said, the Hogs foremostly must continue improving themselves.
"We've got a lot of things we need to worry about inside our own house," Morris said. "It's about us getting better and how can we focus on our process of just improving every day."
Give Arkansas' special teams credit for improving from dreadful to proficient.
They were dreadful vs. North Texas, Auburn and Texas A&M's opening kickoff touchdown return. They played especially well the remainder against A&M and entirely well against Alabama's very special special teams.
"Special teams, I thought, we neutralized a lot of of their strengths," Morris said. "Their return game was as explosive as anybody we've seen, and I thought we executed our plan."
Sports on 10/10/2018
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