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Predicting the 2022 Football Season: Arkansas Razorbacks

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How dangerous are the Razorbacks this year? | Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sam Pittman has righted the ship in Fayetteville. How high can he take the Hogs?

Once upon a time, there was an Alabama coach named Mike Shula who lost to Arkansas three out of four years. Then came along a dashing hero named Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide has not fallen to the Hogs a single time since. Can Bama add onto that 15 game winning streak?

Many observers are circling the Tide’s games with Texas A&M and Tennessee as the most treacherous. But an October 1st trip to Fayetteville might be the biggest challenge of the season.

WEEK 5, OCT 1: at ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Coach: Sam Pittman (12-11 in two seasons at Arky)

2021 Arkansas record: 9-4 (4-4 SEC; 24-10 win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl)

Looking back: In 2021, the Razorbacks reeled off four straight wins including a romp over Texas and snapping a nine-game losing streak to Texas A&M. However, they followed that up with three straight SEC losses to UGA, Ole Miss, and Auburn. Things could have gone sour but Pittman righted the ship and won five of the next six including a win at LSU and an Outback Bowl dismembering of Penn State. The one defeat in that stretch was a scary-close 42-38 loss to Bama.

Returning starters: 6 on offense, 4 on defense, kicker, punter.

Key losses: WR Treylon Burks (Round 1, Titans), DT John Ridgeway (Round 5, Cowboys), CB Montaric Brown (Round 7, Jaguars), LB Grant Morgan, LT Myron Cunningham, RB Trelon Smith (transfer to UTSA), DB Greg Brooks (LSU), DB Joe Foucha (LSU), LB Hayden Henry, EDGE Tre Williams, punt returner Nathan Parodi.

Top returnees: QB KJ Jefferson, LB Bumper Pool, S Jalen Catalon, C Ricky Stromberg, OG Beaux Limmer, RB Dominique Johnson, RB Raheim Sanders, K Cam Little.

Top newcomers: LB Drew Sanders (transfer from Alabama), S Latavious Brini (Georgia), WR Jadon Haselwood (Oklahoma), DB Dwight McGlothern (LSU), freshman WR Isaiah Sategna (Fayetteville, AR).

Name you need to know: Injuries slowed safety Jalen Catalon in 2021, but he should have a big campaign this fall as a junior if he can stay healthy.

Strengths: Jefferson is a playmaker… Stout OL with four starters back… Solid RB corps… kicker and punter returning… Leading tackler Pool is back… No regular returning starters on the DL but they have a good deal of experience…

Weaknesses: Rebuilding the defense at DL, DB, and LB; Other than that, all is well… Graduated Grant Morgan was the heart of the D… Burks TD receptions in 2021: 11, TD catches from returning WRs: 3…

Outlook: Pittman did a remarkable job in his second year as a head coach. The hardest thing to do is follow up a big year with another big year. Has he used up all his tricks and pep talks? Thanks to free agency, Arkansas lost some talent but got some new faces in return. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom has a daunting task of rebuilding his half of the team.

Win Total Odds*

Under 7.5 -145 (bet $145 to win $100)
Over 7.5 +125 (bet $100 to win $125)

*Source: DraftKings

2022 SCHEDULE:

Sept 3 vs Cincinnati – W – Back to mediocrity with you, Bearcats.
Sept 10 vs South Carolina – W – All the good feels around #BeamerBall will fade after this thumping.
Sept 17 vs Missouri State – W
Sept 24 vs Texas A&M (Arlington, TX) – L – Honestly, this could go either way.
Oct 1 vs Alabama – L – The streak continues.
Oct 8 @ Mississippi State – W – A tricky one but it’s Mike Leach.
Oct 15 @ BYU – L – A tough place to win against a loaded team.
Oct 29 @ Auburn – W – The Razorbacks have lost six straight to Aubie. That ends this year.
Nov 5 vs Liberty – W – Charlie Brewer is no Malik Willis.
Nov 12 vs LSU – L – Another toss up but I have a feeling they blow this one.
Nov 19 vs Ole Miss – W – OM does not have the talent Arky does.
Nov 25 @ Missouri – W

Credit the Hogs for the intriguing non-conference lineup of Cincy, BYU, and Liberty (Greg Byrne, are you paying attention?). The SEC cross-overs of SC and Mizz help, but the SEC West is too tough.

ALABAMA SCHEDULE:

Sept 3 vs Utah State 6:30pm SECN
Sept 10 at Texas 11:00am FOX
Sept 17 vs Louisiana–Monroe 3:00pm SECN
Sept 24 vs Vanderbilt
Oct 1 at Arkansas
Oct 8 vs Texas A&M – gotta be prime time CBS, right?
Oct 15 at Tennessee
Oct 22 vs Mississippi State
Oct 23 bye
Nov 5 at LSU
Nov 12 at Ole Miss
Nov 19 vs Austin Peay 11:00am SECN+
Nov 26 vs Auburn

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