Link to the pregame Bill’s Blog: Welcome to the Big Show — REMEMBER, leave early to avoid traffic today. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=c40738f06e" mce_href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=c40738f06e" &amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Football vs Alabama&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
PREGAME, 7:30 IN FAYETTEVILLE:A perfect day in Fayetteville, just a bit of October crispness that will burn off in a few hours into a warm late September.
Walking outside my house to load up the car, I see our new neighbor across the street. They moved in a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve made the obligatory nods back and forth. They look like a typical couple.
Today was different.
"Daddy! Daddy! Hut! Hut!"
The neighbor I’d seen at the mailbox transformed. No longer just another guy with a pick-up and what looked from a distance to be a really nice boat.
Here was a young father, dressed in his Razorback Red shirt and cap, playing front-yard football with his three-year-old. The youngster, decked out in his Hog gear, tossing a football back and forth as he scurried around with the energy of a young boy filled with dreams he cannot quite yet understand.
The dreams another young boy about 15 years ago had as he played with his dad here in northwest Arkansas.
If my neighbors are lucky, they’ll be among the 75,000-plus that roll into Reynolds Razorback Stadium this afternoon to see that boy, now a young man, pull on his Razorback helmet and walk with the confidence that the born leaders at quarterback have.
Ryan Mallett’s peers stood in line, some as long as a week, to be a part of today’s game. When they are old enough to play with their young children, the experience of being in the great tent city this week will be a story — no, a legend — they will pass on; an indelible part of their college experience in Fayetteville.
His success or failure will be cheered by hundreds of thousands of Razorback fans watching the game around the nation today. Many of them will have been on that field before — player, coach or staff — and they will know how the team feels, whether it is victory or defeat today.
The passage of the rituals — the Hog Calling, the student camp, the front-yard toss, the early set-up for a big TV game of the tailgate — is what makes the Razorbacks endure.
Yes, as one former coach said, we love that helmet. Even more, we love Saturdays in Arkansas.
And our current coach said it best at the start of this week. Bobby Petrino encouraged his young men to enjoy the journey. Do what we do every week to prepare, to play Razorback Football, but to soak in the atmosphere and appreciate what is happening.
The Journey is more than this week.
As I could see across my street, The Journey of Razorback football remains eternal.