Arkansas-South Carolina may be key to both teams’ seasons

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High-quality quarterback play will be on display Saturday

The Best in the West vs The Beast of the East.

Time to hear the broken record: Austin Allen is the best passer in the SEC. I’ve been on that train for a good year now. With Arkansas in the SEC West, and Allen’s closest competition to that title in the same division, it’s tough to learn who the best in the SEC East might be. Allen has an idea.

South Carolina’s Jake Bentley could stake a claim. The two quarterbacks are old chums who will meet for the first time on Saturday. And while Bentley’s season hasn’t been quite as good as anticipated, a lot of the difficulty isn’t on him. Bentley’s offensive line has been brutal in keeping him protected and he lost his best skill player, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, for the season.

A lot of things could hold the key to what’s expected to be a close game Saturday. But I’m going to say this: Whoever plays better between Allen and Bentley, individually, his team is coming out with the win.

Who has edge? David Williams or South Carolina?

It’s an interesting question and it always comes up when a player faces his old team. Usually, we in the media hop on the player’s side and write something like my guy Trent Shadid did Wednesday. As it happens this Saturday, Arkansas will roll out David Williams at tailback. Williams spent three seasons with South Carolina before relocating to Arkansas this summer as a grad transfer.

The idea is that Williams can provide the Razorbacks information on what South Carolina may be doing. Probably true to a certain extent. He knows the system and likely remembers it well. But the flip is true, too. South Carolina defenders know exactly what Williams is capable of, too.

Ultimately, things like that end up a wash. But you can bet there was a bit that went into some game-planning, anyway.

Arkansas not involved in FBI college basketball investigation

Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson was emphatic Tuesday during Arkansas’ media day: He runs a clean program.

He was not about to speak for anyone else at any other school — and he made that clear, too — but Anderson said he was not worried in the least that federal investigators would come knocking on his door. Louisville, Auburn, USC and Oklahoma State were among the schools affected by the revelations last week.

Anderson handled the line of questioning directly. He didn’t try to skirt any issue and he didn’t throw any of his competition under the proverbial bus, either. That said, Anderson did take one jab toward the end of his remarks. It was well-noticed.

“You talk about here at Arkansas, we do it the right way,” Anderson said. “I think across the country people know that. We may not get some kids because of that.”

Arkansas basketball notes from media day

A few quick news-related items came out of media day, both involving players not currently getting any run.

Freshman guard Khalil Garland is not practicing with the team because of an undisclosed medical issue. We learned that Tuesday, and Anderson, other than bringing it up once more in person, did not elaborate much. He said because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (aka: HIPAA), he was not allowed to reveal that information.

Side note: HIPAA, technically, applies when a player even has a sprained ankle. Coaches almost never bring it up for injuries related to playing the game, even though they could. This suggests a non-basketball-related condition.

Anyway …

Also, senior forward Arlando Cook is still suspended from the team. He was booted indefinitely last month after an arrest for an alleged assault. Anderson said he was going to let the legalities play out and make a decision based off that sometime later.

ICYMI

Tweets and the like

Alex Gosser is that dude. The former Arkansas catcher is one of the most well-liked athletes — by teammates and coaches and media — I have covered in 12 years of sportswriting. One of the reasons people like him so much is he can take a chop-busting with the best of them.

The thing about media day wasn’t that everyone was upbeat. It was that Anderson was unusually upbeat. In years past, he has not sounded so optimistic about his team so early. He really believes, it seems, in this group.

Not a big golf guy, but this seems pretty good:

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.

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