While everybody else around the college football world counts down to the Alabama-LSU showdown on Nov. 5, the challenge for the other top 10 team in the SEC is to pretend that game doesn't even exist.
Arkansas, No. 10 this week in the BCS standings, is still hanging around with the hope of going to the SEC championship game, going to a second straight BCS bowl, and maybe even clawing its way back into the national championship race.
But paying attention to anything other than what the Hogs are doing is the surest way for them to slip up somewhere along the way. In other words, that game against LSU to end the regular season won’t mean a whole lot unless Arkansas stays unbeaten the rest of the way.
“We know it’s up to us to take care of our business, and the only way you do that is focus on one practice at a time and one game each week,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. “If you think of anything past that, you’ve got a chance to not be prepared and not be ready to play. What we have to concentrate on is coming to practice and getting better.”
This is not entirely new ground for the Hogs. They were sitting there with two losses last season in mid-October, but reeled off six straight wins to play their way into the AllState Sugar Bowl.
“It definitely helps us, all the seniors we have back on our team,” said Petrino, whose Hogs travel to Vanderbilt this week. “They’ve been through it and had to battle back and had a nice winning streak going, and they understand how we did it -- by focusing and concentrating and playing one game at a time.”