Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Schedule analysis: Arkansas
By Edward Aschoff
Today we take a look at Arkansas' upcoming schedule.
Nonconference opponents (with 2010 records)
Sept 3: Missouri State (5-6)
Sept 10: New Mexico (1-11) (at Little Rock, Ark.)
Sept. 17: Troy (8-5)
Oct. 1: Texas A&M (9-4) (at Arlington, Texas)
SEC home games
Oct. 8: Auburn
Nov. 5: South Carolina
Nov. 12: Tennessee
Nov. 19: Mississippi State (at Little Rock)
SEC road games
Sept. 24: at Alabama
Oct. 22: at Ole Miss
Oct. 29: at Vanderbilt
Nov. 25: at LSU
Gut-check time: Arkansas’ first real test of the season comes at the end of September with a trip to Tuscaloosa. The Razorbacks have lost four straight to the Crimson Tide, including a 24-20 loss last season in which Alabama scored the game’s final 17 points. If Arkansas really wants to make a statement this fall, it has to strike early against the team many have pegged to not only win the SEC, but be in the thick of the national championship race.
Trap game: The Oct. 22 game at Ole Miss looks worrisome. Unlike Arkansas, expectations aren’t high for the Rebels and a trip to Oxford could trigger some laziness. Arkansas is 1-2 against Ole Miss under coach Bobby Petrino.
Snoozer: Arkansas starts the season off against Football Championship Subdivision foe Missouri State and things should get ugly fast.
Telltale stretch: The final four weeks could define Arkansas’ season. Fortunately for the Razorbacks, they get South Carolina and Tennessee at home before traveling to Little Rock to face Mississippi State and Baton Rouge to play LSU.
Final analysis: The nonconference schedule isn’t especially daunting and Arkansas has the luxury of playing three tune-up games before heading to Alabama. A loss to the Tide won’t wreck Arkansas’ season, but it does put a momentary dent in the Hogs’ chances at an SEC title and national championship bid. The Oct. 1 matchup with Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, should be especially exciting, considering the whole “Jerry’s World” theme. Arkansas then gets a nice bye in the middle of the season and finishes with three of the last four games in the state of Arkansas. The Hogs have tremendous offensive talent returning, and if it lives up to expectations, the schedule could be the biggest obstacle for multiple title runs. The toughest games figure to come against Alabama and LSU -- both of which are on the road.