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 member and past president 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. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like it is:
Portland State fails to get juices flowing
Portland State head coach Bruce Barnum looks at the scoreboard during an NCAA college football game against Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)
One way to look at it is that Christmas came early for University of Arkansas football season-ticket holders.
They have been informed they are getting two complimentary tickets to the season opener against Portland State.
Another way to look at it is it could have been worse: They could have received three complimentary tickets.
There is just not a lot of interest in Portland State, but for the record the Vikings have won every scrimmage during their fall camp and are expected to improve off a 4-7 record a year ago.
During Coach Bruce Barnum’s tenure, the Vikings have averaged more than 200 yards rushing per game.
Barnum went from interim to head coach in 2015, posted a 9-3 record and was FCS Coach of the Year. Things have been tougher since that first year, as Barnum has gone 7-26.
The Vikings’ brass didn’t schedule the Razorbacks because they wanted to test an SEC team; they did it for the guaranteed money.
One thing is certain: If the Razorbacks were opening the season Aug. 31 against Arkansas State University, there would be no free tickets because ASU fans would buy every one that Razorback fans did not buy.
It wouldn’t matter that it is Labor Day weekend or that the temperatures could be unbearable with a 3 p.m. kickoff, the Red Wolves Nation would be there for that long awaited date.
This is the perfect time to see the Razorbacks tune up for their conference opener the next week against Ole Miss in Oxford.
Apparently there are plenty of tickets to be found, even for free.
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The first chance for the public to see the Razorbacks is Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Fan appreciation day includes watching a one-hour mock game.
The west side of the stadium will be used for all fans. They should use Gate 1, which will open at 2:30 p.m.
If it rains, the open practice will not be open because it will be moved indoors, and there just isn’t enough room.
Other activities begin at 4:30 inside the Walker Pavilion, and autographs are from 5-6:30 on the field. Fans are being asked to bring only one item to be signed so that everyone can get autographs.
Free parking is available for all events in lots 46, 56, 56B, 60, 72, 73, 73A and 74, along with the Stadium Drive parking deck and Meadow Street parking garage.
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A recent story in the Wall Street Journal about colleges selling beer and wine this season had quotes from some of the SEC athletic directors, including Arkansas’ Hunter Yurachek.
So far, only four SEC schools have made the decision to sell alcohol during football games, and the other 10 are watching closely. There is money to be made.
LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson said fans of the Tigers made it clear for some time they wanted the option to buy alcohol in general seating areas.
Did anyone really have to ask Tigers Nation if it wanted a beer?
• • •
Thoughts and prayers for Arkansas State University football Coach Blake Anderson and his wife Wendy.
For about two years, Wendy has been fighting cancer. She recently was admitted to hospice care.
The Andersons have been upfront and honest about the battle, and they are a great testament to their religion.
On Monday, a news release from Arkansas State announced that Anderson is taking a leave of absence to be with Wendy, which is the right thing to do. Football is just a game.
Both have been a beacon of strength and character through this fight.
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