In keeping with the theme of the day, we’ll offer some “David’s treats,” mini observations on developments in the sports world.

TURF

Friday night, I imagine most schools who installed the artificial stuff this year were grateful they did. Even with that, it was soggy. Football on grass was like playing on a sponge.

UCA’S CHALLENGE

Beginning today at Hammond, La., the University of Central Arkansas faces a grueling stretch of games, three conference road games in four weeks. 

The challenge is enhanced by the fact the Bears face a back-to-back-to-back-to-back string of facing the some of the league’s most experienced quarterbacks. It starts this afternoon with Brian Babin at Southeastern Louisiana. That’s followed by another senior, Texas State’s Bradley George. Then, there’s Sam Houston State’s Blake Joseph, who is a transfer and has started some games for the University of Houston. Because of an injury, Joseph did not play in the Bearkats’ 42-3 loss to Stephen F. Austin last week. The Bearkats are a different team with him at the helm. UCA closes against McNeese State’s veteran Derrick Fourroux, who led the Cowboys on a final-minute drive last week for the winning touchdown against Southeastern Louisiana.

PLAYOFF PAIR
CRAZINESS

Going into tonight’s game against Two Rivers, Conway Christian could finish from third to fifth in 5-2A. From the Eagles’ perspective, a 3 or 5 seed would be better. 

A third-place finish would likely give them a home game against Salem in the first round. A fourth-place finish would probably send them to Des Arc. A fifth-place finish would send to Magazine.

By strength of conferences, a team would rather play Salem or Magazine. Des Arc is fourth because other Class 2A powers Hazen, Junction City and Bearden are ahead of it.

COTTON BLOTTED OUT

There is a lot of speculation out there and the picture is still way muddled, but one prevailing theory is Ole Miss’ victory over Arkansas last weekly pretty much knocked the Hogs out of a possible Cotton Bowl berth in the new Cowboy Stadium.

UCA’S QUARTERBACKS

The promotion of Trae Cook to No. 2 ahead of Nathan Dick was not unexpected, especially if you compared the performances in the Nicholls State game. Cook moved the second team. Dick failed to move the first team on two chances.

Robbie Park will continue a fine and uplifting season as a clear No. 1. 

The battle shaping up next spring will be interesting. Everyone close to the UCA program and everyone who has observed practices and scrimmages will tell you the quarterback to watch is freshman Wynrick Smothers, who will redshirt this season. And coach Clint Conque will tell you it was not an easy decision to redshirt Smothers, possibly the best overall athlete the Bears have had at the position in years.

PERCEPTION

Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC, faces a difficult task. The perception, and it is being hammered and hammered by various national commentators, is the SEC officials, with a series of strange calls and incorrect decisions, are propping up Alabama and Florida as the top two teams. That perception, where no one wants to go, is becoming reality in the eyes of many. 

In the coming weeks, the league’s integrity, as well as its reputation, is at stake. The officiating in games involving Florida and Alabama must be impeccable. The league can’t afford very many blemishes.

THOSE ARKANSANS

Considering the opening performances of Arkansas-bred pitchers Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett, can this be a World Series in which the majority of games will be won by Arkansas pitchers?

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net)