The college bowl season has turned into a monumental bore and I set a personal record for least time spent watching as the 40 games were played from Dec. 19 to Jan. 2.
There were two games that I found myself part of the TV audience for a significant time: Clemson’s 37-17 victory over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoffs semifinals, and Arkansas’ 45-23 victory over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl.
Watching the first of those doesn’t need an explanation. Watching the second, I became fixated on the blocking power of the Razorbacks in the second-half annihilation of Kansas State.
Frank Ragnow, a sophomore from Chanhassen High School, was the right guard for Arkansas. He’s 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, and on the Razorbacks’ offensive line, he could be referred to as “Tiny.’’
Arkansas had the biggest offensive in football – both major colleges and the NFL. The average of 328 pounds from tackle-to-tackle was two pounds heavier than the Chargers, six pounds heavier than the Bills and eight pounds heavier than the Florida Gators.
“I’m the smallest; our center, Mitch Smothers, was next at 6-3 and 322,’’ Ragnow said. “The first part of the season was a disappointment. We started off slow as a line. Once we found our chemistry, the offense got on a good roll.’’
Bret Bielema’s third Arkansas team was 2-4 in the middle of October, including a 16-12 loss to Toledo in Little Rock. Then, the Hogs came out of a bye week and won six of seven, including the 569-yard onslaught (315 passing, 254 rushing) against K-State.
Smothers and left guard Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 334) were seniors. Left tackle Denver Kirkland (6-5, 340) declared for the NFL draft, as did another junior -- much-honored tight end Hunter Henry (6-5, 253).
The line will be rebuilt around right tackle Dan Skipper (6-1, 331) and Ragnow, who is expected to move to center.
Ragnow is home on winter break right now. “Some ice fishing … and we have a new chocolate lab I have to get to know,’’ he said. “Then, I’ll get back in the weight room; maybe get a little bigger.’’
Go for it, Tiny.
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
Bret Bielema at Arkansas, three years after leaving Wisconsin:
*The Razorbacks have gone from 0-8 in the mighty SEC West in his first season (2013) to 5-3 in 2015.
*Arkansas has defeated former archrival Texas and Bill Snyder, Bielema’s K-State mentor, in back-to-back bowl games.
*Frank Ragnow on Bielema: “He’s a man. He’s a players’ coach. He really cares about you as a person.’’