Arkansas v. South Carolina: A top 10 game but no one cares it seems

South Carolina is at Arkansas and both teams are in the top ten but it seems like no one in the nation cares. I am hoping that Arkansas can win and LSU will beat Alabama and that will keep Arkansas in the hunt for a SEC title (of course, that is the same as national title in the last 5 years). Here are Harry King’s thoughts:

Window to impress is small

Posted on 03 November 2011

By Harry King

LITTLE ROCK — Usually, announcement of the Arkansas kickoff is noted only for establishing departure times. This week, 6:15 p.m. is maddening.

A Sunday ago, USA Today reported that CBS and ESPN had swapped time slots so that the “eye” network could move LSU-Alabama to primetime. The news was shared with the trip coordinator and we eagerly began speculating about the start time for South Carolina at Arkansas.

An 11:21 a.m. kick would be optimum — cover the Arkansas game and be back in central Arkansas for the start of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the BCS for only the fifth time in the regular season. Second choice for the Razorbacks and Gamecocks was 2:30 p.m., and a return trip from Fayetteville glued to the broadcast of Alabama-LSU.

Watching or listening, live is better. The DVR can be employed, but it’s not as riveting when you know the outcome.

Selfishly, 6:15 was the worst option.

For those in the pressbox, it means cajoling those in charge to dedicate one TV to the CBS telecast. Not that we would camp out there, but there are legitimate reasons to get up from the workspace now and then.

For the Razorbacks, the start time means one quarter to impress the national pundits and pollsters against the once-beaten Gamecocks. If Arkansas continues its notoriously slow starts, South Carolina will be in front when the remote is employed.

Everybody has an opinion about LSU-Alabama and mine is shaped by an excerpt from Tennessee-Alabama and from watching the Alabama secondary against Arkansas’ receivers in Tuscaloosa.

Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron was inaccurate in the first half against the Vols and the teams were tied at 6.

Alabama opened the second half with four straight passes, all McCarron completions, for 72 yards. The fifth play was also a called pass, but McCarron scrambled and scored.

Tennessee didn’t make anything on fourth-and-1 from its 39 and Kenny Bell ran under McCarron’s deep throw for a 20-6 lead. Game over.

McCarron has a better chance to make a big play in the passing game than either LSU quarterback and, as good as the two defenses are, a couple of key completions are likely to determine the outcome. The starter by default, Jarrett Lee, has been 70 percent or better in each of LSU’s last three games, but he only attempted 10, 17, and 20. The winning team will have to throw at least 20 times.

Lee is not as proficient as Tyler Wilson and the Arkansas quarterback had only the smallest of windows on pass attempts against Alabama. Even when an Arkansas receiver had a step or two and Wilson delivered, Dre Kirkpatrick or some other defender would close the gap in one step and make the tackle.

Always a suspect passer, Jordan Jefferson is more likely to run than throw when he replaces Lee. Asking him to pass against the Alabama secondary is dicey.

McCarron has thrown at least 20 times in every game and is 67 percent on his 200 attempts, a reason to have more confidence in the redshirt sophomore than either of LSU’s senior quarterbacks.

Thinking ahead to Nov. 25 in Baton Rouge, Arkansas fans will be in LSU’s corner. The guess is that McCarron will break their hearts if the Gamecocks don’t do it first.

The wild card is Les Miles’ penchant for seemingly hair-brained, but often successful play calling.

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