Fall camp starts the week! The long wait is almost over. We have all read plenty of articles on the QB competition, David Gibbs' defense and the newcomers poised to break out this season. I don't want to regurgitate the same stories again, so I figured this week would be the perfect time to tackle some not-so-burning questions in the Raider Read.
Question #1: What if we beat Arkansas?
Beating Arkansas on the road would be a good win all on its own, but there are a couple of specific reasons I picked this game. Let me state for the record, this game isn't the most important game of the season. I would have a hard time categorizing a non-conference game as the most important game of a given season. My opinion is that our #1 goal every season should be to win the Big 12 which means the most important game of any season is a Big 12 game.
The first reason I asked about the Arkansas game is that it should be the first real game in the season. Of course, Sam Houston and UTEP are the first two games on the schedule, but if we want the bounce back season most of us are anticipating, we have to chalk those games up as wins. I cannot imagine a scenario where our season ends with a bowl game after a loss to either Sam Houston or UTEP. Now back to Arkansas. The whole trajectory of the season changes if we beat the Hogs because the entire season is all out in front of us. All of sudden beating TCU at home, Baylor in Arlington, OSU at home, etc.... become more of a reality. Obviously winning any of those is not a given but an Arkansas win definitely would allow the dreamers to dream much bigger about the possibility of what the season could be.
The second reason is this game is the start of a three-game stretch with TCU and Baylor to follow. I want to start that three-game stretch with a win to set the tone for the season's toughest stretch. I think it would be almost impossible to win all three, but if we win beat Arkansas and can somehow snag one of the next two games we are sitting at 4-1 with Iowa State and Kansas next up on the schedule leaving us with a good chance to get to 6-1. We are then bowl eligible after seven games with a puncher's chance to make some noise in the Big 12 title race. I don't think we could ask to be in a better position.
The downside to beating Arkansas is that a win in Fayetteville would make the Big 12 take notice. I would prefer to stay under the radar for as long as possible. At the same time, I struggle with that line of thinking because I just want to win and not worry about what anyone else thinks.