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The Smoking Barn - Week 1: Arkansas Razorbacks

In the inaugural edition of The Smoking Barn, our resident Barner previews Week 1 as Bert brings his Hogs into Jordan-Hare Stadium. We're not really sure what it means, either.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Revenge games. They're peculiar little monsters.

Is this a revenge game? And for who? Arkansas? Surely Bert can't be serious...and don't call him him BERT (his wife's name is Jen, by the way). Auburn? Now there's a fun argument. Bert's not convinced that we beat him fair and square last year, and if we use my patented "Jesse Palmer Calculator," we'll find the answer to be "AUBURN SQUEAKED BY" in that little LCD display at the top. But this isn't math class, and we're not friends with Jesse Palmer on Facebook, and until he gets a Twitter, I'll continue to hurl insults at him passive aggressively about his hair, his affinity for romance-based TV competitions, and the fact that he's from Canada.

No, folks, this is not a revenge game. It's a RE-revenge game. It's the kind of matchup where you've prayed every night on your knees, perhaps beneath your Cam Newton bobble-head on your nightstand, for Gus to tie a cement block to the gas pedal of the Gus Bus and LEAVE NO DOUBT. (Who do I quote? Coach Yoast or Coach Gus?)

Oh, and speaking of leaving no doubt, when our offense runs the victory formation as the clock winds down in the 4th quarter, I think it'd be fitting if all 11 of our guys fell first to their knees, then completely on their faces. Like, don't even block. Maybe we can get the entire stadium to do this in the stands. Can you imagine? You know, just to show Bert that he's not the only person who's ever fallen down at a fan wa--BAHAHAHAHAHA NOPE YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE, BERT. NOT EVEN GONNA INCLUDE THE GIF ON THIS ONE.

It's the kind of game you played when you were in 8th-grade P.E., and your side just obliterated the other in a game of dodgeball. Now it's time to sweep the series 2-0, and do it quickly, because 6th-period biology promised frog dissection today, and you want to get a seat next to Katie from the cheerleading squad, and not Lyle, who's probably going to end up on the Geek Squad.

It's like in Warrior, when Tommy Riordan BEAT THE CRAP out of Pete "Mad Dog" Grimes at the gym, then BEAT THE REMAINING CRAP out of him AGAIN in Atlantic City.

Because, c'mon, you guys. I'm not worried about losing the first game of the season against an SEC West opponent. I'm worried about losing to Bert. LOSING TO BERT. Can you process that? And speaking of process, can BERT process the fact that he hasn't beaten the state of Alabama? Ever? Nick says put your hand down, because he's sick and tired of you media guys turning this whole thing into a spectacle.

We're going to beat Arkansas. We've already beaten Arkansas in so many other ways. Let's take a look, shall we?

1. Quarterbacks

It's on everyone's minds how long Nick Marshall is going to be on that sideline. It's certainly on Bert's mind.

No, wait. That's ribs. Sorry. They're both pretty appetizing, give him a break.

Jeremy Johnson is more than capable of taking care of business on Saturday. I'm perfectly fine with him playing the entire game, but then again, I Barn harder than most of y'all, so I don't expect y'all to lower yourselves to that level of crazy. In all seriousness, though, I want this to be like when Goldberg returned to WWF Smackdown and saved The Rock from nWo, except The Rock, who's JJ in this scenario, will have already crippled Hulk Hogan (Arkansas' ailing, not-made-for-TV-anymore secondary), and now they're just toying with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall (er...everyone else on that squad). GIVE HIM THE CHAIR.

Just a revolving door of quarterbacks. Hey, throw TUCKER TUBERVILLE in there, except make him jump out of the plane from "Jetgate" and parachute onto Pat Dye Field. Better yet, can we paint a red circle on Bert's belly? Can we copyright "Bert's Belly"?

Arkansas' quarterback is Brandon Allen and Brandon Allen's truck was set on fire earlier this week, so you see? We're usually the ones being labeled a dumpster-fire of a program, when his truck LITERALLY caught fire. What's the "dumpster" of the truck community? Ram?

Advantage: Auburn

2. Fun with Names

You'd be hard-pressed to find the actual SEC hipster who called Bret Bert before it was cool. And even if you did, they wouldn't want you to find them, because they don't want the attention. Probably a privilege thing.

For your game-day smack talk, though, allow me to offer you some fun, Arkansas-player-name-related puns to sling around like the greasy roller franks at the 7-Eleven down the street from Bert's office in Starkville:

  • Brandon Allen, QB - More like "brandin' my truck with fire" Allen.
  • Luke Charpentier, C - I cannot WAIT for Verne to attempt this one later in the season. Seriously, why is there a French guy on this roster? I bet they hate the HUNH over there, too. YEAH, FREEDOM FRIES, AND ALL THAT!
  • Lane Saling, K - There isn't even a picture of this guy on their roster page. Seriously. Go check. I'll wait....
  • ...did you check? It's just an image of the Hog. Like, Bert loves trick plays so much that he's actually HIDING his kicker so you can't figure out if an onside kick is coming. And yeah, I KNOW it's a freshman, but seriously, who taught Bert how to code? When did he have time for a class at the Y?
Look, we had a guy named Shakespeare, and we have a guy named President. One of our fullbacks is named Gage Batten. GAGE BATTEN: the ironclad Civil War battleship of fullbacks driven by a guy with a crazy white handlebar mustache and a history of bare-knuckle boxing behind Jackson's Tavern. Those are their actual names. And they're awesome. And we don't hide our kickers, Bert, er...kicker/punter/everything-elser. (Good vibes, Daniel Carlson).

Advantage: Auburn

3. Public Office

Yeah, we're not gonna win this one. Arkansas has Bill Clinton. Who do we have? Well, for starters, a Governor that looks like a science-class skeleton and happens to be from Tuscaloosa, a former Governor who went to jail (is Don still in jail?), and a central county that has the largest debt in the country and can't handle a sewer system. Yep, that's my city, y'all. Seriously, the Democratic National Convention will win the state of Alabama before Bert ever beats it.

And Bill Clinton laughs at you, Alabama. You and your Rascal scooters and your Wal-Mart's that you stole from Arkansas. /insert sexy saxophone solo here.

Advantage: Arkansas

4. Mascots

Man, it's so nice having the only legitimate tiger mascot in the SEC--NAY--the entire country. Have you seen the other tigers? LSU's face is too wide. Clemson's looks like he's itching for his next score. I'm not even going to entertain any other Tiger mascots. Ours is supreme.

That said, a Tiger versus a Hog. It's not really even fair. And what's crazy is the amount of ribs I know without a doubt Bert has consumed since his arrival into college football. So not only is Bert just fat and whiny, he is now a cannibal.

You can run away from your past, Bert, but you can't run away from all-you-can-eat ribs at Golden Corral.

Advantage: Auburn

5. "Intangibles"

Look, folks. I don't have time to sit here and run you through a list of why I think we'll win on the scoresheet. They don't pay me to be a stat guy. They don't pay me to know X's and O's. They don't pay me...wait, do you guys pay me?

Here's the bottom line. Bert is like a snake-oil salesman. Heck, he's the only snake-oil salesman left in town. He's been going door-to-door for the last couple of years now trying to convince you that his snake-oil is better than everyone else's snake-oil, except not even Aunt Bee wants to try your snake-oil, Bert. It doesn't work. And you know it doesn't work. You know the HUNH works, and even teams that don't have to use it (Alabama) beat you like a drum. I mean, does it baffle ANYONE else that they lost to Alabama TWICE by the SAME SCORE of 52-0? With DIFFERENT COACHES? ARE YOU STILL READING THIS?

Bert is the Manley Pointer of college football, except there's not much manliness on Bert to write home about, and there's certainly nothing pointy about his person--at all. He comes to your town talking about "normal American football," and he whispers sweet nothings into your ear about injuries and player safety and his record at Wisconsin in bowl games (why would anybody brag about that?), and before you know it, he's stolen your wooden leg (and by the way, Nick Saban is missing a glass eye, and bunch of folks in the Big Ten are missing some fake teeth). He is RUTHLESS. But then again, he's the only snake-oil salesman left in town. It's his fantasy, not ours.

Auburn will beat the Hogs handily on Saturday. It might start slow, but then again, the best smoked ribs take time. You don't just pop those bad boys in the smoker, wait 5 minutes, and take a bite. No, you let 'em simmer, smoke, and soak up that special sauce that only 2 members in your family tree know how to make. Jeremy Johnson is going to take the night watch at your tailgate. Then he's gonna need to take a rest to check on the potato salad, so Nick Marshall is gonna see those ribs through to completion so that fall-off-the-bone-tender meat does just that: falls right off the bone. Arkansas and Bret Bielema are gonna fall right off the map in Week 1, or my name isn't Bobby Barkley.

Advantage: Auburn
Final Tally: Auburn 4 - Arkansas 1
Opposing Coach Hate Index: 9.8/10
Score Prediction: Auburn 45 - Arkansas 17.

Because where there's smoke, there's fire, and I'll fire these hot takes until the cows come home. DON'T TELL ME HOW TO BARN! WAR DAMN EAGLE!