COLUMBIA, SC – Been a while since Arkansas saw itself as a homecoming opponent, but tomorrow’s East-West showdown gets that little extra edge. Downtown was blocked off when I arrived for the homecoming parade.The Gamecocks are going for a sweep of SEC home games, and there is an interesting mix of anticipation and concern among those I come across on the travel in.
The meeting between Arkansas and Carolina also has more than the "expansion bowl" edge to it. Both teams have high bowl aspirations, and a win by either side will significantly bolster their argument.
Longtime fans know that when Arkansas (Southwest) and South Carolina (Metro) left their respective former leagues for the Southeastern Conference that the two were permanently paired for football.The number one question for all – Razorback or Gamecock fan – how is Mallett? I should say, that is a question a little bit more from the home fans, or the Carolina bound Hog boosters, as they have only heard about the missed time with injury. As I told one gentleman at the airport who wanted to know if Mallett was going to throw for 500 yards, I reminded him that 409 was the school record last week and that 500 was a pretty tall order.Nevertheless, it is a game made for the primetime ESPN slot that it received. Coach Bobby Petrino’s offensive mindset versus one of the legends of the game in Steve Spurrier. The last time Arkansas was in a game that had such potent offense on display, it resulted in the highest scoring regular time game in SEC history at Auburn.The last time Arkansas had as highly touted an offensive force in the USC game was back with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. They rumbled for hundreds of yards with McFadden almost taking the SEC record with 321 yards.One thing seems sure – folks need to lay in the snacks early; it could be a very long night.ESPN NOTES: Yes the game is on the mothership at 6 CT, and on the Internet via ESPN3, important for all our military folks following overseas. Remember, if you are on base, you should be able to see the stream outside the US.DOUBLE HEADER BACK HOME: Head out to Walton Arena at 2 p.m. for the first exhibition game of the year for John Pelphrey’s team. Razorbacks host LeMoyne-Owen. Since the game is later in the day and the Voice of the Razorbacks, Chuck Barrett, is here in Carolina, there isn’t a RSP broadcast of the game. It will stream on RazorVision.LIVE BLOG OPENS AROUND 4 CT: I will be at the stadium at the usual two hour out mark for those joining in via the interactive blog.TWITTIX ON-SITE: For the Razorback fans wanting to win the TwitTix, look for final instructions during the afternoon tomorrow on the main feed @ArkRazorbacks. The giveaway will be near Williams-Brice Stadium.NEXT WEEK: Another busy week at home with exhibition men’s basketball and a unique season opener for women’s basketball on Friday before the UTEP game on Saturday. Kickoff for UTEP is 6 p.m.
SPEAKING OF UTEP: A special feature of next week’s game is the presentation of the first Spencer Cup, an award to be given annually ot the Razorback team which scores the most points for community service, academic achievement and athletics. The Razorback soccer team claimed the title for the 2009-10 Spencer Cup, and will have honor of the rotating trophy in their locker room this year. As scheduling luck would have it, Erin Aubry’s team was on the road each time the football team was at home. With their 2010 season finished, the soccer team can receive the honor next Saturday night.