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Author Topic: From the Bench - Overly Optimistic Razorback Sports Media Only Setting up Fans  (Read 6332 times)

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Robert Shields

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Overly Optimistic Razorback Sports Media Only Setting Fans Up for Disappointment

Robert Shields

Northwest Arkansas radio talk-show host Bo Mattingly recently received an email from a listener who questioned why he and other Razorback media types constantly defended and “bowed down” to Razorback football coach Bret Bielema.

Mattingly’s long response was that he gives you a perspective that you may not be aware of to help you be more informed.

But the real answer is that there is no money to be made for Mattingly and the rest of the Incestuous Razorback Press Clique to be negative toward your team. They are going to sell you, I mean tell you, what you want to hear. There is no economic incentive for them to be negative.

The media that covers the Razorbacks wants you to be excited and interested in the upcoming season because that makes you listen, watch, or read their product, which in turn allows them to sell more Slim Chickens ads.

If the Razorback media was objective, which is often labeled by some fans as “negative,” it would turn many people off of their news product and go looking for someone who will tell them what they want to hear instead.

In his answer to the email, Mattingly said what the Razorback media is doing is making you more informed. The fact that these media people claim to have such insight is especially amazing considering that UA football practices are closed and the Razorback media members are essentially told by the athletic department staff what to report to the public.

As you hear all the optimistic talk in this preseason, please remember that this is from the same media that didn’t question the hiring of John L. Smith and led you to believe the approaching season without Bobby Petrino was going to be just fine.

So you get the same at the beginning of every season with the coaches talking about players in superlative terms and that information regurgitated to you by your Razorback media.

Take, for example, the segment on Mattingly’s show where Clay Henry, the publisher of Hawgs Illustrated, arrives to give his post-practice report. This is where you hear about players getting stronger and faster as you do every year, which is good because you don’t want to hear about them getting weaker and slower.

This information that the players are getting better would matter if it was relative to what other teams were doing. If they actually knew the Razorback players were getting bigger, faster, and stronger than say Georgia, it matters a lot.

The reality is that the players at Texas A&M, Alabama, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss, and Missouri have also gotten faster and stronger in the offseason.

You have probably heard that the offensive line ran the hill on Cleveland Street in Fayetteville during the offseason, which we are told is proof positive that they are ready. Or are they? Could Auburn’s offensive line and defensive line run that same hill? It’s a feel-good story during this period while we wall wait for the kickoff of the first game.

It’s a story that makes you feel positive about the team’s chances in the upcoming season – and want to consume more news about it from radio talk shows, television sportscasts, newspaper sports sections, and Razorback specialty magazines.

From Clay Henry you hear the positive story of Martrell Spaight taking yoga. Like that is going to matter much when they play Auburn. But who knows maybe it is DDP yoga and will make a difference.

Regardless, it’s the kind of information they push to you so Mattingly and the rest of the Incestuous Razorback Press can “inform” you so that you are more enlightened and see a different perspective than the national predictions.

I get wanting to be positive after the last two horrendous seasons.

I get wanting hope after losing nine in a row, a Razorback record.

I get not wanting to hear all the negatives about this team when they are easy to find.

You want to have belief in your team. And that is what they are giving you when they tell you the players are saying the right things and that the attitude on the team is different than last year.

But when a fan calls your Incestuous Razorback Press Clique out in an email to a radio show, they need to own it.

They are what they are and that is to make money off of you by pumping up a football program that is considered the worst in the SEC in the preseason.

And setting such high expectations for this football team is doing it no favors -- and maybe setting the fans up for another big letdown. But here’s to hoping the team goes from worst to first.



Send your hopes to fromthebench@yahoo.com.

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KlubhouseKonnected

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In first for who is Robert Shields!?!?!
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Kevin

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another negative story, who would have guessed
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Chris McWilliams

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Hot garbage
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TOM "tbw1"

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I would like to challenge Mr. Shields to document any article, any interview or press release where the Razorbacks are discussed in overly optimistic terms. 

I have yet to see anything that presents this team as having its hands full with the schedule before it.

Please give some examples of this reporting.
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The_Iceman

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LZH

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Wow, you're gonna get skewered for that line of thought.....which is fantastic btw.  I also enjoyed how you didn't claim to be one of the insiders or even a member the media (as you have intimated before), therefore allowing your perspective as a writer stand on it's own.  Nice job on that.

And +1 for the point of view.  People don't like to hear it, but it's the dang truth.
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The_Iceman

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Robert Shields =
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Locutus_of_Boar

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I see no problem with the media telling tales of adventure that might slightly exaggerate the truth.

Homer and Mark Twain and Orville Henry made careers of it and only a few dorks ever objected.

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rzrbackramsfan

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Right, but the media doesn't know anymore than us, the truth is, no kne knows how we'll do.  Even the coaches.  So it only makes sense they're going to cover what is happening... You know our team has to be grinding hard right now knowing auburn is just around the corner and if get don't they'll get embarrassed. 
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scruf

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 :razorback:

[attachment deleted by admin]
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Pickwick Hog

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The Arkansas media is comprised of Bo Mattingly and Clay Henry? Quite the monopoly.
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Music City Hog

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100% accurate
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Pickwick Hog

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A couple of days ago people wanted to roast Jim Harris for negative reporting. Swear I saw that somewhere.
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SemperFi

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Hog Fan from Camden

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Serious questions.  Why do you think you have to be so negative?  Do you really think that what you write about is true?  Just curious!
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dagnamit

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Shields for President
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baitshop

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  • It's long....It's deep.....it's GONE!!!!

Trying to find and point out the positives are what all fans do before the season begins, regardless of the previous year's record...it is at the very core of what a fan is.

All others are Incestuous Pot Stirrers...
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Inhogswetrust

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Rey Pygsterio

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Trying to find and point out the positives are what all fans do before the season begins, regardless of the previous year's record...it is at the very core of what a fan is.

Media members are not supposed to be fans.

But ours are.

You nailed it.
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DoctorSusscrofa

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Grumpy strikes again.  ;D
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thirrdegreetusker

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It is the nature of the beast. Yes, every college program, and local reporters who cover them, are pumping sunshine right now. But what do we expect?

Does any fan want a coach who says "This team may be small and weak, but we we are also quite slow?" I do not care what his brain tells him, a coach must be positive, must be the ultimate "silver lining" finder.

And, yes, local media has a vested interest in being positive. National media can afford to be brutally honest, but not the local guys.
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ballz2thewall

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very good article.

the closed media point is well taken.  what puzzles me is how the media lost its clout so quickly.  i think the answer to it lies in the change in those in charge.  they no longer feel obligated to local media like broyles and the boys in the past.

broyles worked a deal so that tv revenue kicked in as a guaranteed part of eddie sutton's salary.  something unheard of back in the day.

the scenario reminds me somewhat of the news reports on recruiting.  specifically the comments from recruits about coaches and such.  "he's a cool guy; very down to earth."  what else is the kid gonna say???

anyway, nice read.  particularly since there's little or nothing to go on otherwise..
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Vantage 8 dude

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So just because a couple of guys on radio talk up the potential for the Hogs this season the "Overly Optimistic Razorback Sports Media" is setting everyone up for a hard fall/disappointment?! Well for someone who tries to read or listen to any varying degree of media sources that's sure news to me!!!! The overwhelming viewpoint/forecasts that I've read/heard/seen are very much the opposite. The consensus seem to be that this year's team will likely do not much than duplicate last year's futility. Certainly there will always be some "homers" who're going to be unrealistic; however, for the most part I think the majority of folks (including the press) are guarded in their outlook. Most, like me, recognize that there are a HUGE #s of unknowns and uncertainties to really get our hopes too "pie in the sky". This time of the year fills virtually every fan base across the country with hope and optimism about their prospects for the year. For the majority of fans that's what keeps them coming back even in the face of past disappointments.

So color me a fan who, while certainly NOT trying to get too giddy about our prospects, still expects SOME improvement not only in the overall record, but the play of the entire team. One thing I am very certain (hopeful) of: we WON'T go "o-for" in the conference again this season.
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chitwnhog

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Trying to find and point out the positives are what all fans do before the season begins, regardless of the previous year's record...it is at the very core of what a fan is.

All others are Incestuous Pot Stirrers...

Are you saying Shields is "Stirring his Sisters Pot?" Say it ain't so.
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Vantage 8 dude

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Shields for President
With the total screw-up we have in there now who says he isn't already?!
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Hollywood_HOGan45

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So saying the players are getting better means they are being overly optimistic.


Gotcha
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LZH

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"This team may be small and weak, but we we are also quite slow?"

"We didn't block anybody today, but we made up for it by not tackling anybody."                      :)
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Dwight_K_Shrute

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Media members are not supposed to be fans.

But ours are.

You nailed it.

This.  The media in the state are too closely tied to and suckle at the teet of the UofA.  Do I want them to tear the program apart and every turn and critique every decision?  No, just a fair and honest job reporting on the state of the program, players, coaches etc.

Mike Irwin does a pretty good job giving his real opinion and not just a line of BS on here at least and on Game On.  Obviously that is not his job as a member of the Razorback Nation while he is reporting for KNWA.

Harry King is critical at times, and I've seen it from Nate Allen as well, but he is usually just B'ing about lack of access.  Problem is neither come off very well when they do it so it is a bit of a catch 22. 

The real problem is we have a lack of talent in the state.  Is there a writer truly skillful enough to walk that fine line and actually tell it like it is without coming off as always negative or always positive, and educate, inform, or provoke a thought or two.

We all know that one the claims to "Tell it like it is" does anything but that.
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smb

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Not vent N rumors again?
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pfrg999

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Was just a discussion we have had on this board a million time.. Sunshine Pumpers vs. The Dark Side...
  Robert,
We know this is a 5-7 team, maybe a little better or maybe a little worse, so we understand what SOME of the media is doing. But this is the very same thing they always have done from Frank to now. Pump up the season to get the fans involved and YES, some, (if not all) is also self serving.(Damn capitalism)
But please, until we start playing games... Let us have the dream of a breakout season, reality will set in soon enough!
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TOM "tbw1"

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This.  The media in the state are too closely tied to and suckle at the teet of the UofA.  Do I want them to tear the program apart and every turn and critique every decision?  No, just a fair and honest job reporting on the state of the program, players, coaches etc.

Mike Irwin does a pretty good job giving his real opinion and not just a line of BS on here at least and on Game On.  Obviously that is not his job as a member of the Razorback Nation while he is reporting for KNWA.

Harry King is critical at times, and I've seen it from Nate Allen as well, but he is usually just B'ing about lack of access.  Problem is neither come off very well when they do it so it is a bit of a catch 22. 

The real problem is we have a lack of talent in the state.  Is there a writer truly skillful enough to walk that fine line and actually tell it like it is without coming off as always negative or always positive, and educate, inform, or provoke a thought or two.

We all know that one the claims to "Tell it like it is" does anything but that.

Dwight, just where does this happen? 
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Al Boarland

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Your best work yet, Robert.

I suppose local media either takes it upon themselves or are directed to be a mouthpiece for the program. I particularly like the part about getting stronger and faster as if our team is the only one working out. Unfortunately, we are I a situation where we not only are way behind, but other programs are still moving forward.

The question becomes, can we get better at a faster rate than the programs ahead of us?

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I BLEED RBack RED

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C'mon Robbie!!! I understand that the "homer" media has to be positive for $$$ and ratings....but don't u think as fans we deserve some optimism after a 3-9 season? C'MON MAN!!
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Torqued pork

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The Hogs being more competitive than last year isn't far-fetched. I have not heard a single media member say the Hogs are on the cusp of a big season.
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Rey Pygsterio

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This.  The media in the state are too closely tied to and suckle at the teet of the UofA.  Do I want them to tear the program apart and every turn and critique every decision?  No, just a fair and honest job reporting on the state of the program, players, coaches etc.

Mike Irwin does a pretty good job giving his real opinion and not just a line of BS on here at least and on Game On.  Obviously that is not his job as a member of the Razorback Nation while he is reporting for KNWA.

Harry King is critical at times, and I've seen it from Nate Allen as well, but he is usually just B'ing about lack of access.  Problem is neither come off very well when they do it so it is a bit of a catch 22. 

The real problem is we have a lack of talent in the state.  Is there a writer truly skillful enough to walk that fine line and actually tell it like it is without coming off as always negative or always positive, and educate, inform, or provoke a thought or two.

We all know that one the claims to "Tell it like it is" does anything but that.

Double this right back at you.

What is unique about Arkansas is that the Razorbacks are the only game in town.

In an environment where the media is already being shut out by the UA, no one wants to cross the UA for fear of further exclusion, which makes their job a lot harder.

Then you have the guys who just want to get in with the athletic department because they are jockeying to be the biggest insider in town.

Like you said, it is a fine line to walk. The line is easier when there is more than one major college athletic program to cover.

"Razorback Nation" -- the name says it all. It is more like a fan club than a news report, but that is what the audience wants so I can't fault them.
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ScottFaldon

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A distinction needs to be made between the beat writers and the pundits in the media.

Beat writers give you the nuts and bolts and tell you who said what. If their coverage is "positive" it's because the players and coaches are saying upbeat things.

I'd submit every beat writer for every team in every sport in the nation sprains his eyelids from rolling them at the positivity exuding from their sources. But their job isn't to say "Yeah, Bret, that's nice but you know Bama is going to pound your skull in, right?" or "Jason, you think you can win a Super Bowl with Romo!?! Are you high?"
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Inhogswetrust

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A distinction needs to be made between the beat writers and the pundits in the media.

Beat writers give you the nuts and bolts and tell you who said what. If their coverage is "positive" it's because the players and coaches are saying upbeat things.

I'd submit every beat writer for every team in every sport in the nation sprains his eyelids from rolling them at the positivity exuding from their sources. But their job isn't to say "Yeah, Bret, that's nice but you know Bama is going to pound your skull in, right?" or "Jason, you think you can win a Super Bowl with Romo!?! Are you high?"

Exactly. Reporters report, Analyst analyze, Editors Edit and Columnist sometimes give opinions, tell stories.
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TOM "tbw1"

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A distinction needs to be made between the beat writers and the pundits in the media.

Beat writers give you the nuts and bolts and tell you who said what. If their coverage is "positive" it's because the players and coaches are saying upbeat things.

I'd submit every beat writer for every team in every sport in the nation sprains his eyelids from rolling them at the positivity exuding from their sources. But their job isn't to say "Yeah, Bret, that's nice but you know Bama is going to pound your skull in, right?" or "Jason, you think you can win a Super Bowl with Romo!?! Are you high?"
Your best work yet, Robert.

I suppose local media either takes it upon themselves or are directed to be a mouthpiece for the program. I particularly like the part about getting stronger and faster as if our team is the only one working out. Unfortunately, we are I a situation where we not only are way behind, but other programs are still moving forward.

The question becomes, can we get better at a faster rate than the programs ahead of us?



Scott, you hit it right on the head.  Reporting is not opinion.  Case in point, Al likes what Robert said about I particularly like the part about getting stronger and faster as if our team is the only one working out. Unfortunately, we are I a situation where we not only are way behind, but other programs are still moving forward.

Al likes Robert's opinion, not his reporting. 

A fact is a fact regardless of whether it is in the Hope Star or the New York Times.  Anyone can have an opinion, but, opinions are not reporting.
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forrest city joe

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I am going to watch every game believing the Razorbacks can win.don't care what the media says good or bad.i am not scared of Ole Miss, Miss. State or anyone else. they all can be beat. they put their pants on just like our players do. GO HOGS.
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I truly hope we see improvement this year. I just want to know if our QB happens to go out and throw 2 pick 6's against Auburn, is the media gonna question the coaches about all the hype and improvement they were telling us about in the offseason.  or since most of the media has been telling us the same thing, are they just going to act like it never happened.
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Bo isn't a journalist.  He is an entertainer whose job depends on ratings. 

Black Sheep Henry is a leech who has used the UA athletic department to make a living.  It's disgusting to see him still welcomed around our program and to know some Hog fans actually continue to financially support him. 

Shields is complaining about an entertainment show and not news reports.  A talk radio show doesn't have to be objective. 
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TOM "tbw1"

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I am going to watch every game believing the Razorbacks can win.don't care what the media says good or bad.i am not scared of Ole Miss, Miss. State or anyone else. they all can be beat. they put their pants on just like our players do. GO HOGS.

Thank you, FCJ,  These should be the thoughts of every Razorback fan.
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seasonhog

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Serious questions.  Why do you think you have to be so negative?  Do you really think that what you write about is true?  Just curious!


Since when is the truth....negative.......?
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TOM "tbw1"

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Since when is the truth....negative.......?

Season, my friend, please list the true facts in the article.  I know you agree with the opinion.  There is a difference.  Not calling you out, but Robert is not a reporter of facts but an entertainer with an opinion.
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forrest city joe

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Thank you, FCJ,  These should be the thoughts of every Razorback fan.
Tom i know i will get pissed at some time during this season. heck that's just part of me loving the Hogs and being a fan. but i go into every year believing the Hogs can win. i don't care what the media says or think. i believe the Hogs are going to be improved and win some games.
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LJHOG

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Season, my friend, please list the true facts in the article.  I know you agree with the opinion.  There is a difference.  Not calling you out, but Robert is not a reporter of facts but an entertainer with an opinion.
Now that's generous.
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I suppose local media either takes it upon themselves or are directed to be a mouthpiece for the program. I particularly like the part about getting stronger and faster as if our team is the only one working out.



Good post. My wife is an Aggie, so I keep up via their local media. Same song, second verse w/ the brown-nosing and "the players are getting stronger, faster" stuff.
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chitwnhog

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Season, my friend, please list the true facts in the article.  I know you agree with the opinion.  There is a difference.  Not calling you out, but Robert is not a reporter of facts but an entertainer with an opinion.

Over the years here on Hogville I have found that many believe that their opinion is fact.
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