Hog predictions off juuust a bit

It was not a huge surprise that most expected Arkansas to defeat Alabama in Fayetteville last Saturday. <br><br>After all, this was being billed as Houston Nutt's best Arkansas team yet, and the Razorbacks had won the last two meetings in Fayetteville. Moreover, Alabama was without its leading rusher and starting tailback, Ahmaad Galloway, and its starting quarterback, Tyler Watts.

There is also evidence that Arkansas playing a couple of weak opponents in Boise State and South Florida gave the Razorbacks a false sense of strength.

It is interesting to look back on the predictions published in the Arkansas fan magazine, Hawgs Illustrated, edited by Clay Henry, who also operates the hawgsillustrated.com website.

While all of the seven "experts" picked Arkansas to defeat Alabama, at least none of them guessed the Hogs would beat Bama as bad as the Crimson Tide actually beat the Razorbacks. After giving the Razorbacks a mercy safety at the end, Alabama won by 18 points, 30-12.

It shouldn't come as a big surprise that the expert most off the mark was the head hog at Hawgs Illustrated, Clay Henry. One can just see Henry putting on his hog-snout thinking cap before he picked Arkansas to win by 16 points, 32-16.

Henry wrote, "The Hogs should be confident and healthy for Alabama. Plus, they seem to play well at home. The Tide is tougher in the trenches than either of Arkansas' first two victims, but this appears to be Houston Nutt's best team. Nutt has landed on the right formula for a fast start, and it appears defensive coordinator Dave Wommack is pushing the right buttons, too. With a heavy dose of Matt Jones, the Hogs prosper."

Dana Caldwell of the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas had the same thoughts as Henry, that Wommack, would be too smart for Alabama's coaches and that Razorbacks quarterback Jones was too good for the Tide defense. He had Arkansas a 14-point winner, 31-17.

Nathan Striegler, who works for Henry at Hawgs Illustrated, had it 34-21 for the home team. Both Otis Kirk of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and Jerry Reed of the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas predicted 11-point Arkansas wins, Kirk going with 28-17, Reed saying 31-20. Reed wrote, "There is too much proof early on to not think otherwise."

Dudley Dawson of the Northwest Arkansas Times picked Arkansas to win by 10 points, 24-14. The closest guess, missing by only 25 points the wrong way, was by Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who predicted Arkansas to win by 28-21.

Of course, Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News picked Alabama to win, guessing the score to be 20-13. He said the 13 represented "the number of Razorbacks likely to be on the field at any one time." Actually, Arkansas usually has used only 12-man formations most of the time, and if Cecil had guessed 12 he would have had the Hogs' score exactly right.

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