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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Big crowd expected, so allow for extra time

by Wally Hall | September 1, 2022 at 2:26 a.m.

The last time Cincinnati opened the season on the road was 2018 when it traveled to Pasadena and beat UCLA 26-17 at the Rose Bowl in front of 54,116 fans.

The Bruins were 3-9 that season and 2-5 at home in head coach Chip Kelly's first season.

A near-capacity crowd is expected for Saturday's game in Fayetteville for the first-ever meeting of the Bearcats and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The UA sent out a gentle warning to its fans to be prepared for the huge crowd, allowing extra time to arrive and depart, and to download tickets to their phones before getting to the game.

Like most schools across the country, Arkansas now primarily issues its tickets electronically to cell phones.

For those of us digitally challenged, printing the tickets out and picking them up at the ticket office is possible but carries a $10 fee.

Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m., and the high temperature is forecast at 86 degrees.

Metal detectors will be at every gate, but the good news is pockets do not have to be emptied.

. . .

Another salvo has been launched in the never-ending battle of conference realignment.

The Big 12 has announced it will start renegotiation of its contract with ESPN and Fox, which wasn't scheduled to expire until after the 2025 season.

The Pac-12's broadcast rights with the same entities expires in 2024, so the league that looked like it was next for anew TV contract is now last in line.

It's a smart move on the part of the Big 12, although it may not get the big bucks it expects because two of its biggest schools, Texas and Oklahoma, are scheduled to join the SEC by 2025 if not earlier.

The Pac-12 lost a big part of its TV market when Southern Cal and UCLA announced they would be joining the Big Ten.

Obviously, TV money is driving conference expansion, and while this might help the Big 12, the guess is no one -- other than perhaps Notre Dame -- is going to say no to an invitation to the SEC or Big Ten.

. . .

If it hasn't already happened expect Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort to announce soon that wagering on sports other than horse racing will be happening at their online site, perhaps Oaklawnanywhere.com.

Saracen Casino Resort and Southland Park already accept wagers online.

Southland has been the biggest and most successful dog racing track in America since the sport became illegal in Florida, but its final day of racing will be Sept. 4.

Southland recently opened the first 10 floors of its hotel.

All three have been handling sports wagering in their casinos, and by most accounts it has become a thriving part of the business.

Oaklawn's live thoroughbred racing returns Dec. 9 and runs through May 6, 2023.

. . .

While on the subject of gambling, a betting website has put out preseason odds on which coach in every Power 5 conference will be the first to be fired.

For the SEC, Auburn's Bryan Harsin was the odds-on-favorite to get terminated at 1-10.

He has the worst odds of any coach, although Nebraska's Scott Frost was 5-6 before losing the season opener 31-28 to Northwestern.

The Cornhuskers led 28-17 in the third quarter.

Talk about a long plane ride home, the game was played in Dublin, Ireland.

Only four SEC coaches had better odds of keeping their job than Arkansas' Sam Pittman.

Alabama's Nick Saban and Georgia's Kirby Smart had the longest shots to be fired at 500-1.

LSU's Brian Kelly and Florida's Billy Napier, both in their first seasons in the SEC, were next at 250-1.

Sam Pittman was next at 100-1.


Print Headline: Big crowd expected, so allow for extra time

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