FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas is facing long odds at LSU this Saturday. The Hogs are 16½-point underdogs and facing a Tigers team intent on bouncing back after losing at Alabama.
One thing seemingly playing in the Hogs’ favor, though: They won’t have to see Tiger Stadium at night.
The Battle for the Golden Boot between the Hogs (4-5, 1-4 SEC) and Tigers (6-3, 3-2) is set to kick off at 11 a.m. CT. That’s a decision made by the television networks — one that likely reduces LSU’s home-field advantage.
“I’m glad we’re not playing them at night,” said Arkansas wide receivers coach Michael Smith, who is a New Orleans native.
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Tiger Stadium is known to be one of college football’s loudest, toughest venues for opponents under the lights. LSU wins 74.6 percent of its home games when playing at night, compared to 66.5 percent during the day.
Night games are a significant part of LSU’s tradition, and the TV networks generally give the Tigers kickoff times they desire. Infact, this is just the 12th time since 1969 LSU has had a home kickoff set for noon or earlier, according to a report from The Advocate.
“Our fans don’t like it. I don’t either,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva told The Advocate. “I picked up the phone immediately and worked through the SEC to get it changed. The SEC fought for us. They always do on these things.
“We have a great contract with ESPN that affords us a lot of opportunity for exposure and has been very profitable for this program. But every now and then, very rarely, this happens with TV scheduling.”
CBS gets first pick among SEC games each week for its 2:30 p.m. CT game. The network chose Georgia at Auburn for Saturday. This week, CBS also has an 11 a.m. slot for a game. That game will feature South Carolina at Florida. It’s the one Saturday a year that CBS features a daytime SEC doubleheader.
ESPN chose Alabama at Mississippi State for its 6 p.m. game, which left Hogs-Tigers for ESPN’s 11 a.m. game.
No player on LSU’s roster has played in a kickoff before noon at Tiger Stadium. The last time LSU had such an early game was an 11 a.m. start against Kentucky in 2011, a 35-7 Tigers’ victory.
However, there’s another statistic that favors Arkansas on Saturday. Teams are 1-5 in games the week after playing Alabama this season. The lone win was Texas A&M’s 19-17 victory against Florida last month.
This will be the fourth consecutive season LSU has faced Arkansas immediately after playing Alabama. The Razorbacks are 2-1 in those games, including a 31-14 victory in 2015 — the last time they were in Baton Rouge.
The 2017 Hogs probably need all the breaks they can get if they’re going to pull an upset Saturday. For their sake, getting a couple based on the schedule is a good start.
Arkansas is 5-5 in past 10 years against LSU:
|2016||No. 19 LSU 38, Arkansas 10||Fayetteville|
|2015||Arkansas 31, No. 9 LSU 14||Baton Rouge|
|2014||Arkansas 17, No. 20 LSU 0||Fayetteville|
|2013||No. 15 LSU 31, Arkansas 27||Baton Rouge|
|2012||No. 8 LSU 20, Arkansas 13||Fayetteville|
|2011||No. 1 LSU 41, No. 3 Arkansas 17||Baton Rouge|
|2010||No. 12 Arkansas 31, No. 6 LSU 23||Fayetteville|
|2009||No. 17 LSU 33, Arkansas 30||Baton Rouge|
|2008||Arkansas 31, LSU 30||Fayetteville|
|2007||Arkansas 50, No. 1 LSU 48||Baton Rouge|
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