UA fans will vote the rap media in SEC – Hot Springs Sentinel | WHs Answers

If Arkansas is about to embark on a world-shaking football season, which some of its fans are claiming, it apparently hasn’t gotten through to the folks covering the Southeastern Conference.

Arkansas finished third in the West Division and didn’t get a single vote for winning the SEC championship at Media Days in Atlanta last week. Out of 181 ballots cast, one media member had the audacity to place Arkansas first in the West Division, behind Alabama and Texas A&M.

Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks got less respect than Vanderbilt after ending a 2-8 winless SEC season. The Commodores, despite being selected last of seven in the East Division, had a first-place vote. (As Shakespeare put it: Perchance to dream?)

If you expected a better prognosis, draw any conclusions you like. Arkansas will surely play the respect card again, which it usually does when it’s offended. Razorback Nation will have the last laugh when the Hogs repeat or surpass their 9-4 record from last year when they defeated Penn State in the Outback Bowl.

“We don’t want to repeat last year. We want to get better,” said Jalen Catalon, junior safety from Arkansas, at the media days. “Last year was a great year but I always tell the team last year was last year. It’s 2022. Everyone wants to start right and try to make it to the top.”

Catalon, who some compare to former Razorback and NFL star Steve Atwater, was named to the preseason All-SEC first-team defense. He’s capable of earning honors and a high draft call postseason if he can channel his aggression, especially if he avoids directing penalties on some wild hits.

Senior center Ricky Stromberg represented Arkansas on the first-team preseason All-SEC offense. He was added to the Rimington Trophy watchlist on Friday and started all 13 games last season for a unit that led all Power Five with 227.8 rushing yards per game. Stromberg is an early manifestation of the work Pittman, who formerly coached the Arkansas and Georgia position, did with the offensive line, a sad group under Sam’s immediate predecessor.

Senior linebacker Bumper Pool turned second-team defense and junior guard Brady Latham into third-team offense. That’s all, Razorback fans.

Sorry if you searched for KJ Jefferson. Along with Pittman, Catalon and Pool, the Mississippi-born quarterback (North Panola High, neighbor of longtime national power South Panola) represented Arkansas in Atlanta last week. Unfortunately for some fans, who took to social media to express their outrage, Jefferson was not among the top three quarterbacks selected.

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama was a dead giveaway on the first tackle. The first Crimson Tide quarterback named college football standout Young, who passed for 47 touchdowns against 7 interceptions, replacing Mac Jones, who went to the New England Patriots after a perfect 2020 (pandemic) season. Young is the fourth Nick Saban-coach to win the Heisman since 2009, another reason the Tiders are cleaning up on recruiting. They’re on TV about as often as this Geico lizard, where Saban himself is a pitchman for Aflac insurance.

The other quarterbacks featured at Media Days, both with significantly less fanfare than Young, were Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker and Kentucky’s Will Levis. Both teams are selected under defending champion Georgia in the SEC East, where quarterbacks are viewed more as caretakers in coach Kirby Smart’s plan. One was a little surprised not to see Mississippi’s Will Rogers on the list.

Some well-meaning Arkansas fans think Jefferson is second only to Young in the SEC. Media poll suggests the Hogs nailed it with the running game last year, with Jefferson seen as a better runner (compared to Cam Newton) as a pitcher. Sometimes Jefferson would just put the ball there for Treylon Burks (now with the Tennessee Titans) to get it. With Burks gone, KJ needs to find another go-to receiver and hope the defense improves enough for Arkansas to win big games without scoring in the 50s.

Try this on for the greatness: Arkansas is not considered a major player in college football by the sport’s image makers. Not many out of state or otherwise associated with the program care much about the mythical national championship that the 1964 team, with the powerful support of highly connected friends in the media, received in the mail after beating Nebraska on Jan. 1 in the defeated Cotton Bowl. 1965

Arkansas has not won a conference championship since joining the SEC for the 1992 season, its last crown coming in 1989 when it was brought into line with the soon-to-be-defunct Southwest Conference. Arkansas could not consolidate its successes in the SWC often enough, losing a year after a rare 0-0 start to Miami and UCLA and in the Cotton Bowl to Tennessee in Ken Hatfield’s last game at his alma mater. Frank Broyles, athletic director and ex-football coach, was smart enough to realize that the fraudster-ridden SWC cannibalized itself and hooked the Arkansas star to the safer SEC.

Arkansas has never had a Heisman winner and only one finalist, Darren McFadden, who finished second in 2006 and 2007. The Razorbacks have usually reached the top when blessed with high flyers, often able to beat inferior teams but 50-50 against the rest, worse against Alabama.

When your team’s name isn’t in the news and the ESPN boys are engaging in dialogue with key players, it can be difficult to get noticed. That’s true even in Arkansas, a team in a powerhouse conference with some big names in its history and sometimes with a national profile. This is a battle the Vanderbilts — let alone the Arkansas States — cannot win. Play the respect card until the joker goes blind, but don’t expect much change.

Meanwhile, as one local high school says of its teams, Arkansas is trying harder.

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