canada africa partner reservation Don’t let Hogs’ biggest offseason “win” tempt you

Don’t let Hogs’ biggest offseason “win” tempt you


Taylen Green, Arkansas football
photo credit: Craven Whitlow

Being an Arkansas football fan doesn’t seem any harder these days than it did around the time I quit in 2012. The Razorbacks, the only team that really matters in the entire state – much to the chagrin of Arkansas State, the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Memphis Grizzlies or Oklahoma City Thunder – have been bad in the most popular sport in America for more than 40 years.

“Bad” is a relative term, of course, as Arkansas is still a public school in the Southeastern Conference, which has a lot more money than 80% of the rest of the FBS.

That’s not the point of comparison. The point of comparison is with the Hogs’ contemporaries, their fellow SECers, which is why Arkansas is bad at football. Like the worst-of-the-entire-conference-except-the-private-school-in-Nashville-that-so-dominates-UoA-in-academics-that-even-than-Vanderbilt-superior is bad.

A small glimmer of hope peeks and peaks every spring or so. The perpetually optimistic people are convinced that this is the year in which ‘those boys’ will change course. The “Have you seen that old man from Boise?” Damn. A lot better than KJ.” Enter a 6-6 season. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse. Two, three SEC wins sounds about right.

There is hope in the Hogs’ schedule

That hope still exists today, perhaps as strong as it has in nearly two decades, thanks to the Razorbacks’ schedule suddenly looking a lot lighter. ‘Seems’ is the key word there.

Arkansas and Alabama will not play on the football field for the first time since 1991, the year before the Hogs joined the conference.

The wind you feel is just exhalation.

Alabama owns the series outright and is currently in the midst of a 17-year winning streak that has seen Arkansas come within single digits a total of five times. Also missing from the Hogs’ list: Georgia, the second-most powerful team in the league over the course of the last half-decade. Avoiding those two opponents feels, at first glance, like one of Arkansas’ biggest wins of the offseason.

Talk to Gary from Clarksville and he’ll tell you that with a schedule like that, Taylen Green, everyone back at wide receiver, a Top-30 pass defense, Landon Jackson and Bobby Petrino, maybe Arkansas could have that 10-win season.

Funny, of course.

But pay attention when July or August rolls around and the bloggers covering the Razorbacks start making their seasonal picks. It will be hard to have any of them get fewer than seven wins.

In some ways it makes all the sense in the world. The media in Arkansas is largely populated by – surprise! – Arkansas fans. Some of them feign objectivity. Some are legit about it.

But in general, the people who get paid to sit in the press box on Saturdays would be at home watching the Razorbacks game anyway, if they were a postal worker, a mechanic, an insurance agent or whatever.

A good quarter of the men and women sitting high atop Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on a fall Saturday openly advocate loudly for the home team, if they are quiet enough to avoid the anger that can come from quite literally spoken ‘no’. cheering in the press box” rule. Human nature is to want the best for our preferred people.

It’s also just a bit insane to believe that Arkansas will somehow develop into a national power. Even if Alabama and Georgia are not on the schedule, Arkansas will likely play at least two, maybe even four, top-10 teams in the country in 2024.

It could even be competing against the No. 1 team again, as Texas, Ole Miss, LSU and Missouri will all be highly ranked when the polls are released later this summer. That’s just par for the course for the Razorbacks, who have played 27 games against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll.

Twenty seven. If it seems like a lot, that’s because it is. No other school in the country – none – has played the top-ranked team in the country more times than Arkansas. The Hogs’ record in such games?

They are 4-23 against a host of Alabama and Texas, spanning decades. That clip isn’t the worst winning percentage among FBS teams of all time, but oh well. With so many attempts, plus the depth of the SEC, expectations for regular season double digits are truly absurd.

Of course, some fans try to pretend that things will get better in the future. Some are so burned by years of such outcomes that they are a husk, emotionless except for occasional bouts of anger and jealousy.

Ten wins isn’t elite in college football, but it’s on the verge. The Razorbacks have had three 10-win seasons since joining the SEC. Meanwhile, one-win conference seasons are the pits; There is little more embarrassing in all of sport. Arkansas has four seasons with one league win or less.

One winning SEC season in the last thirteen years is not the stuff of a high-powered football program. It’s the sign of a program that needs every small victory it can get, including dropping Alabama and/or Georgia from the football schedule.

But in the long run, it’s a flash in the pan. Little is helped by the addition of the Longhorns and occasionally the Sooners to the potential league contention and eventually Alabama and Georgia will bounce back. The chances of Arkansas joining the SEC’s mid-table just got better.

Maybe you won’t abandon your fandom like I did, I’m sure. Maybe you’re a real fan, that’s true. You’re bleeding, uh, red. But it’s not the loss that made me drop it.

It was seeing how it all works from the catbird seat, becoming a journalist. I didn’t like what I saw anymore when I went back. But based on the Hogs’ previous results, maybe I was just like you: I never really liked what I saw, preferring instead my fantasy world of pretend.

Most games vs. AP #1

Team Games vs. AP No. 1 Record vs. AP No. 1
1.Arkansas 27 4-23 (.148)
1. Notre Dame 27 9-17-1 (.352)
3.Oklahoma 25 7-16-2 (.320)
4. Michigan 21 3-17-1 (.167)
5.Wisconsin 20 4-16 (.200)
5. USC 20 7-13 (.350)
5. Texas A&M 20 3-17 (.150)
5. Kentucky 20 3-17 (.150)
9. Northwest 19 1-18 (.053)
9. Minnesota 19 3-16 (.158)
9. LSU 19 2-16-1 (.132)
9. Florida 19 3-16 (.158)
Source: BoAS survey using data from the schedule of every match involving the AP No. 1 team in the College Poll Archive.


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