Serving a football/basketball mix of David’s Appetizers, assorted musings on the sports scene:

LOSING THE BOOT AT THE END: Arkansas’ loss to LSU in the Battle for the Boot, assuring the Hogs of a winless conference season (no SEC victories since before Halloween of last year) was a microcosm of the season.

After everything seemed to be going the UA’s way with the Hogs outplaying LSU, the UA had two straight three-and-outs and squandered a great punt to inside the 1. They then allowed a banged-up LSU team to drive 99 yards with a freshman quarterback and a backup center, capping things with by burning the Razorback secondary, a regular occurrence this season. Then, the game ends on a lost fumble.

The Hogs played hard with very little to play for and had some young players do well in flashes, a positive sign.

The downside is they played well in flashes (and not in the clutch) and the winning play resulted from a basic juke move on a defensive back, who had no support on third and 10.

What Bret Bielema and his staff and players had to do at the end of the season was to give their fans some hope.

And they go into recruiting season with several Arkansas fans thinking that the best man for the job is currently coaching the Auburn Tigers. With home games being fazed out in Little Rock, it’s still a divided fan base.

There will be questions about Bielema’s staff.

It has been apparent for several weeks: Honeymoon is officially over for Bielema.

BURCHAM’S START: Former Greenbrier all-state quarterback Neal Burcham, a redshirt freshman, made his first career start for SMU on Friday against the University of Houston at Houston.

Burcham, who came into the game having completed 13 of 23 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown this season, was starting in place of senior Garrett Gilbert, who is out with a knee injury.

The start was not what dreams are made of.

Burcham completed 27 of 52 passes for 212 yards but was intercepted three times in a 34-0 loss. Another Houston touchdown was set up after Burcham was not set for a center snap and it bounced off his pads and returned to the 1. He was sacked five times.

By the way, former Valdosta State, University of Kentucky and Southeastern Louisiana coach Hal Mumme is Burcham’s offensive coordinator.

SMU (5-6) must now defeat Central Florida next week to become bowl eligible.

ADRIAN MOORE: A familiar name has been missing from statistics from Conway High boys basketball games during the early season,

Adrian Moore, one of the top guards in the state last season, has transferred to North Little Rock for his junior season.

TAMING THE WEST: For the first time in several years in 7A Arkansas high school football, most of the teams in the semifinals were not from the West Conference and two West teams will not play for the state title.

This year, the East exerted itself this season. Two semifinalist (Cabot and North Little Rock) were from the East), one (Conway) was from the Central and Bentonville was the only West team to make the final four.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)