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OPINION: Area conference champs keeping football alive

by By John McGee, columnist | November 23, 2022 at 7:00 a.m.

Just about every other team from northwest Arkansas that made it to the 2022 Football Playoffs has been eliminated in the early going.

That is, except for the conference champions.

The 7A West champ Bentonville made the state semifinals with a 45-0 pounding of North Little Rock. The 6A West champ Greenwood also made the semifinals, as they ran over Russellville 42-7. In making the 5A semifinals, Shiloh outscored Little Rock Mills 69-32, with 4A-1 winner Elkins making the next round with a 63-27 rout of Ashdown. And 3A-1 Booneville moved on with a 60-14 smack down of Smackover and there was no 2A area team in the playoffs.

Speaking of 2A schools, the only 2A school in northwest Arkansas is Decatur. They had a highlight to their season on Nov. 4 when they lost 55-6 to Bigelow. The highlight was that they scored their first touchdown of the season in their loss to Bigelow. They had not scored at all in their previous nine losses to start the season.

My wife and I were eating at the Golden Corral when the Bigelow team came in for their pre-game meal. I talked to a few of the boys who weren't really aware of how poor the Decatur team was. I told them they ought to let Decatur score at least once, seeing as to how they had not scored all season. And Decatur finally did score, in the fourth quarter of their last game.

There have been discussions of ending football at Decatur as they haven't won in many years. They tried 8-man football for the past two years, but didn't win on that level either. Since they weren't winning and travel for the 8-man league was double playing in a regular 2A league, they moved back to 2A this season.

Razorbacks become bowl eligible

The Razorbacks scored a huge upset of 14th ranked Mississippi with a 42-27 victory. The Hogs had jumped out on front 42-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, 21 late points by Ole Miss did not threaten the Razorbacks.

It was not the only huge upset last Saturday in the SEC, as unranked South Carolina exploded on ninth-ranked Tennessee 63-38.

The Hogs are 6-5 on the season, thus making them eligible for a bowl game. Teams that get invited to bowls cannot have losing records, and with 12-game schedules, teams have to get at least six wins to be eligible.

Bowls that invite Arkansas are assured that the tickets apportioned to them will be sold and likely more. Arkansas fans are among the most supportive fans in all of college sports.

NFL playoff teams becoming more apparent

With 10 games down and six to go, it seems a bit early but the general consensus is that most of the playoff teams seem to be set.

In the AFC, it seems that Miami and Buffalo will be in from the AFC East, with Kansas City from the AFC West. The AFC North Baltimore and the AFC South Tennessee seems to be a safe bet as well.

In the NFC, it is a bit more unsettled. In the NFC East, the second and third place Dallas and New York teams have the third and fourth best records (7-3) in the NFC. Down in the NFC South, the division leader Tampa has a 5-5 record.

The NFC East Phildelpia team has best record in all of professional football with a 9-1 mark while Kansas City has the best mark in the AFC at 8-2. Kansas City had to come from behind in the last 1:40 of their game Sunday night to win 30-27.


Editor's note: John McGee, an award-winning columnist, sports writer and art teacher at Pea Ridge elementary schools, writes a regular sports column for The TIMES. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted through The TIMES at [email protected]

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