TAMPA, Fla. -- A year ago today we were relieved to leave 2020 behind.
It was a year that was hard on everyone, and 2021 has been better as we returned to a semi-normal life, unless, of course, you have a ticket for a plane ride.
What other company could survive with the record of late delivery, non delivery and slippery delivery that the way airlines do?
Anyway, this is the annual predictions and resolutions column, and why not start with today's Outback Bowl?
Prediction: Coaches and players alike have said how happy they are to be here, and they meant it. Neither coach thought about canceling their participation because of opt-outs or illness.
Both coaches and all others have gotten along great, but at 11 a.m. this morning there will be only one thing on the minds of the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Penn State Nittany Lions: Winning the game.
Penn State will be without its two middle linebackers and chief tacklers for this team.
The Razorbacks will line up and try to play smash-mouth football with its quarterback KJ Jefferson and herd of running backs, but Kendall Briles may have Jefferson throwing under the coverage more because of the lack of experience at linebacker.
Arkansas' defense will bend, and if it doesn't break from a constant pounding between the tackles, the Razorbacks' chances of winning go up.
Make this one Arkansas 30-24.
Resolution: For this newspaper to continue to cover Arkansas sports better than ever. An email last week pointed out that the reader travels all over the country, and he had not seen such a complete sports section in more than 10 years. He was amazed at the high school coverage as well as all the colleges.
Prediction: Arkansas' Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek and head football coach Sam Pittman will come to terms on a new contract, something Yurachek was expecting to renegotiate anyway.
In the the crazy world of perspiring arts, most Power 5 head coaches are highly paid. TV has made that possible, and it is what business people call supply and demand.
Resolution: This one is personal, having made the more than 900-mile drive here. No matter what time the game is finished, I will make it at least to Atlanta tonight. Coming down, we went a more Southern route that Google Maps didn't tell us included driving through dozens of small towns with too many stoplights. Right now, especially with weather forecasts for cold and possibly snow, staying on the interstate seems to be the best option.
Prediction: No one will have more fun than the good folks we met from Marion and Weiner at Shells Seafood Restaurant on Thursday. Really good people and great Razorback fans. They drove, too.
Prediction: The NCAA as we know it will start a transition into a less powerful, but still needed, arm of college athletics.
Prediction: The name, image and likeness rules will continue to shift and change. They will change even faster if Nike decides to get involved with Oregon after Texas declared each of its offensive linemen, up to 16, would earn $50,000 a year from a charitable organization.
Prediction: Organizations like the Razorback Foundation could be hurt by NIL, and those groups help finance a lot of the athletic departments spending.
Prediction: There will be more football and basketball games canceled in the next three months because of covid-19.
Resolution: When it is due, another booster shot will be gotten, and another and another if that is what it takes to stay healthy. I had a less severe case of the virus a year ago and I don't want it again.