Heisman hopes quelled


LITTLE ROCK — Denard Robinson’s Heisman Trophy campaign lasted about as long as Michele Bachmann’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Minnesota congresswoman failed to connect with voters in Iowa in January; the Michigan quarterback failed to connect with his receivers in Arlington on Saturday.

Robinson’s lofty standing in the preseason Heisman talk was questionable, propped up by the Wolverines’ reputation and top 10 ranking. Those factors turned out to be detrimental because the nation’s attention was focused on Michigan-Alabama.

Heisman voters who tuned in will have a difficult time forgetting his 11-of-26 with two interceptions and the fact that the Alabama defense got him to the ground with regularity.

Even before the aberration in Arlington, Robinson was a shaky No. 6 on my Heisman list.

If the new four-team playoff emphasizes strength of schedule, it can’t happen soon enough.

Oklahoma State 84, Savannah State 0; Florida State 69, Murray State 3; Ohio State 56, Miami (Ohio) 10, and Kansas State 51, Missouri State 9 are some of the low lights of the weekend.

A talking head informed that such scores help build confidence. He did not explain how players who know they are supposed to win by 50 and then do so would swell with pride about a job well done. Don’t tell me the freshman quarterback who threw a 1-yard TD pass for 70-0 will fall back on that moment if he is under center and the Cowboys are on the 1 in a tight game with Oklahoma.

OSU’s 11th touchdown was also a 1-yard pass.

Athletic directors and coaches know what they sign up for when they accept a $385,000 payday like Savannah State, but a touch of compassion is appreciated. Oregon led Arkansas State 50-3 in the second quarter, but the 57-34 final was acceptable in print or on a scoreboard show.

At least, Jacksonville State competed enough that Arkansas gained some film usable for teaching. Imagine an OSU coach turning on game film and correcting his players with a straight face.

The NCAA will have to amend the kickoff rule to make certain teams abide by the intent.

To reduce full-speed collisions, the NCAA moved the kickoff to the 35 and decreed that players on the coverage team begin from the 30 so they would not have a 10- or 15-yard running start.

Against Kentucky, most of the guys on Louisville’s coverage team ran along the 30 to gain momentum before turning upfield. Most likely, Louisville was trying to cover for a kicker who rarely reached the end zone. Kentucky had returns of 33, 28, 24, and 35 yards.

On the other hand, Arkansas’ Zach Hocker kicked off eight times and only two were returned for a total of 33 yards. One of those looked like an intentional squibber.

Some mistakenly interpreted War Memorial Stadium personnel hitting the road to push Razorback tickets as the death knell for Little Rock games.

For starters, like any good sales department, stadium folks were trying to get the product to the customers.

Some tickets went unsold as a backlash from the UA moving the LSU game to Fayetteville, but a large number of people were upset about something else. Last year, people who bought Little Rock tickets early paid a $75 seat licensing fee in addition to the ticket price. When the games failed to sell out, the licensing fee was waived. As a result, some people paid $300 more for four tickets than people sitting nearby.

ESPNU’s coverage of Saturday’s Arkansas-Louisiana-Monroe game also affects ticket sales. Hundreds won’t buy tickets, but will partake in the tailgating and hang out on the golf course to watch the game on TV.

Jacksonville State, the only Fayetteville opponent comparable to ULM, did not sell out and it was not available for free on TV.

Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is hking@arkansasnews.com.