Arkansas Razorbacks

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Seven 2016 finalists headline Manning Award preseason watch list

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This is the last preseason watch list you’ll have to endure this year. I promise. I think.

Wednesday, the Manning Award released its list of the top 30 quarterbacks in the country, although a player not on this initial list is not necessarily precluded from winning the award. This is the only major award, it should be noted, that is handed out after the bowls, and is named in honor of the quarterbacking triumvirate of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.

Highlighting this year’s list are seven of the 10 finalists from a year ago: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Luke Falk (Washington State), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma).

All FBS conferences are represented, led by the ACC and SEC with five watch listers apiece. The Big Ten, Mountain West, Pac-12 and Sun Belt are next with three each, with two apiece for all of the AAC, Big 12, Conference USA and MAC. Class-wise, there are 13 seniors, 12 juniors and five sophomores.

 

“We once again have a great group of quarterbacks returning to college football this fall,” said Archie Manning said in a statement. “While this Watch List has many of the best returning players, we look forward to making midseason additions as teams settle on definite starters and as young players step up and make names for themselves. I’m really looking forward to getting the season rolling to see which guys will rise to the top and become Manning Award finalists.”

Deshaun Watson was the 2016 winner of the award.

Below is the complete 2017 Manning Award preseason watch list.

Arkansas will use new $137 million multimedia rights deal to upgrade stadium wifi

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Arkansas just signed up for a new 10-year multimedia rights deal with IMG College for a whopping $137 million, and the fans attending Razorback games are expected to reap the benefits in the future.

According to a report from Sports Business Journal, the new multimedia rights deal with IMG College — which handles multimedia rights distribution for all Arkansas sports coverage on TV and radio —  will help Arkansas fund a stadium-wide networking upgrade to a handful of Arkansas athletics venues, including Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The upgrades will focus updating the wi-fi reception to allow for better connectivity for fans using their phones while attending games.

Now, if you are an Arkansas fan and feel as though you have heard about wireless upgrades before, that’s because you have. Arkansas announced plans to upgrade the wireless network status inside the stadium in 2014 as well. But anything upgraded in 2014 is already out of date by 2017 standards. It’s the same for mobile devices as it is the computer I am typing this one. Staying ahead of the curve in areas like this can be difficult, if not costly.

But with a brand spanking new multi media rights deal bringing in a dump truck of cash for Arkansas, the funds will be there to provide for the cost of upgrading the network inside the football stadium. So bring your phone, and your iPad, and whatever else you want to hook up to the network when you attend an Arkansas game. You might get improved service.

Legendary Arkansas coach, athletic director Frank Broyles dies at 92

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College football lost an icon and one of the pivotal figures in sport on Monday as legendary Arkansas head coach and athletic director Frank Broyles passed away at the age of 92.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Coach Frank Broyles. He passed peacefully in his home surrounded by his loved ones,” a statement released by his family said. “For 92 years John Franklin Broyles lived nothing short of a remarkable life. To all who would listen, Frank Broyles was quick to proclaim, in his unmistakable and infectious southern tone, that he was blessed to live ‘A Charmed Life’.”

Broyles died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease according to an obituary posted on Arkansas’ website. He had spent the past several years out of the public spotlight as a result following nearly five decades of heavy involvement in Razorbacks athletics.

The lengthy list of Broyles’ accomplishments starts as head coach in Fayetteville, where he guided the team to a record of 144-58-5 that included seven Southwest Conference titles and the 1964 national championship. He was part of a number of historic college football games, including the famous 1969 ‘Game of the Century’ with Texas.

In addition to his duties on the gridiron, Broyles was the school’s athletic director from 1976 through 2007 and played a pivotal role in guiding Arkansas from the SWC to its present day home in the SEC. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and was also well-known for his duties calling games for ABC Sports in the 70’s and 80’s.

“Frank Broyles made a lifelong impact on thousands of Arkansas student-athletes and millions of fans and alumni, all who knew him as Coach Broyles, while positively altering the course of the University of Arkansas and the entire state of Arkansas,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “He fostered a unique loyalty to Arkansas Athletics and promoted the Razorback brand nationwide.”

A private family burial will be held in Fayetteville but the school is planning an on campus “public celebration of his life” in the future.

Bovada continues to tap Alabama as 2017 title favorite

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When last we left Bovada.lv‘s odds for the 2017 national champion, 2016 runners-up Alabama sat atop the initial wagering odds.  On the cusp of a new season?  Same old, same old.  Pretty much.

Along with its updated Heisman Trophy odds, Bovada also revealed its updated odds to win the next edition of the College Football Playoff championship, with the Crimson Tide sitting as a comfortable favorite at 12/5.  In January, those odds were a little longer at 4/1.

The next two teams, USC and Ohio State, saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 9/1 to 6/1 and the latter from 15/2 to 13/2.  Florida State and Michigan, at 7/1 and 9/1, respectively, seven months ago, have lengthened a bit to 15/2 for the Seminoles and 16/1 for the Wolverines.

Prior to Bob Stoops’ retirement, Oklahoma had been at 9/1; after his abrupt departure, those odds have tumbled to 16/1.

Below are the complete set of updated 2017 national championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Reports: Arkansas’ T.J. Hammonds out indefinitely with knee injury

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T.J. Hammonds moved from running back to wide receiver for Arkansas this offseason.  Whether he’ll see that position switch come to fruition when the Razorbacks open 2017 remains to be seen.

Citing unnamed sources, SECCountry.com has reported that Hammonds will be sidelined indefinitely because of a knee injury. “Sources indicated the injury is similar to the meniscus tear he suffered last August,” the website added.

In confirming the initial report, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette set Hammonds’ potential return at around four weeks.  Such a timeline would leave his availability for the season opener against Florida A&M Aug. 31 very much up in the air.

Last season, Hammonds ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as a true freshman.  After making the move to receiver in spring practice, Hammonds had been working with the first-team offense as a slot receiver prior to the injury.

The sophomore had also been spending time at his old position as well.