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Good times at Oaklawn Park recalled and those to be had

LITTLE ROCK — A week out, the Friday forecast called for a high of 38 and a slight chance of rain in Hot Springs, good enough to prompt an email to a recently retired, longtime friend suggesting a meeting at a familiar parking lot in Benton and carpooling for opening day at Oaklawn Park.

Sizing up the quarterbacks in the CFP

LITTLE ROCK — Blake Sims’ well-documented testimonial to sticktuitiveness is uplifting, but it is surprising that one superb performance in the SEC championship game absolved his sins committed during the regular season.

Throwback to Broyles-Royal days

LITTLE ROCK — Declared days early, New Year resolutions include practicing with a traditional putter, taking a stand on a longshot at Oaklawn Park and omitting both Frank Broyles and Darrell Royal from the next Arkansas-Texas column.

Hesiman 2015 in flux

LITTLE ROCK — Whether Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and other high-profile underclassmen invoke Matt Barkley’s name, the former USC quarterback casts a long shadow over the race for the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

Big Five bonus games?

LITTLE ROCK — Handicapping the postseason games, the Peach, Orange, Outback, Cotton and Alamo bowls receive special attention because the mad genius behind a season-long college football pool added a twist to the final, extended go-round of frustration.

No wrong answers in playoff

LITTLE ROCK — An hour before the drawn-out reveal of college football’s Final Four, the gist of the column was done, with XXXXX marking the spots to insert the appropriate teams.

SEC look back and look ahead

Take the opening line of a Willie Nelson song called “Yesterday’s Wine,” change “Miracles” to “Material,” square the verb with the subject, and you have, “Material appears in the strangest of places.”

Quarterbacks vs. team

LITTLE ROCK — Unwittingly, Wisconsin can pave the way for another chapter in the argument about whether an all-world quarterback can outdo a more complete team.

Attitude carries Razorbacks to victory

LITTLE ROCK — From a football perspective, the end of Arkansas’ 25-month SEC losing streak begins with head coach Bret Bielema, defensive coordinator Robb Smith, quarterback Brandon Allen, the offensive line and the secondary.