What the next month could bring
Glenn Sattell | 35 minutes ago
Now that Sam Pittman has brought Arkansas back from the dark side and into the light of college football relevance, the final month of the season actually means something. It’s been a while since we could say that, and it’s certainly refreshing to welcome the Razorbacks back into the mix.
Arkansas started bye week with a 5-3 record that includes impressive wins over Texas and Texas A&M. Now the Hogs need to go out and play in tip-top shape, finish strong, and give the bowl committees something to think about when these invitations are distributed.
The Razorbacks are 1 win away from becoming bowl eligible with 4 SEC games remaining. Let’s take a look at these challenging competitions and perhaps estimate what the percentage chance the Hogs have of winning each one.
Mississippi State – November 6th at Razorback Stadium
First and foremost is a Bulldogs team that is sometimes difficult to get to grips with. One week it beats Texas A&M while another week it loses to Memphis. MSU beat a pretty decent North Carolina state roster after making an almost miraculous comeback just to defeat Louisiana Tech; then it lost to LSU at home.
Trying to figure out which team you are going to get seems to depend entirely on how the airstrike works that day. Mike Leach’s mostly unpredictable offense is good enough to generate a surprise while at the same time it can sputter into the ground against a far smaller opponent.
But I’m going to take a rested and hopefully healthier Razorbacks team to win this race. It’s on its home field and should have fresh legs and be ready to take on the Bulldogs.
Chance of victory: 55 percent
LSU – November 13th at Tiger Stadium
The Tigers, a team in disarray, struggled just putting the exercises together. They seem like a team that made up their minds for the rest of the season. From players to lame coaches, LSU is currently not well positioned as a program. A victory, even at the Tiger Stadium, seems likely, although the Tigers have always fought well on the bayou.
Of course that’s why they play the games, but Arkansas has a chance to build some momentum here. If the Hogs can do business at home against Mississippi State and then knock back the Tigers at Baton Rouge, they’d be 7-3. That should get the attention of many of the better shells that the SEC has ties to.
Chances of victory: 53 percent
Alabama – November 20 at Bryant Denny Stadium
The Razorbacks have already been to Georgia this season, so the level of football being played across the scrimmage line that day won’t come as a surprise. The Hogs will know what to expect when they step out onto the field.
That’s not to say that many expect the Hogs to make the riot. But that’s also why they play the games. Arkansas beat Texas A&M, which beat Alabama. So yeah I say there is a chance. It’s a small one, but still one.
Chances of victory: 32 percent
Missouri – November 26th at Razorback Stadium
This game could be difficult. It’s entirely possible that Missouri needs this win to be bowl-eligible. Get the idea, but it’s also possible that the Razorbacks need this win to qualify for a bowl. But we will not harbor that thought. All signs indicate that the hogs will punch their ticket long before the turkey is carved.
But when you look at Missouri’s schedule, it seems like the Tigers may need to have this to extend their season. Because of this, the razorbacks are prone to the fuss.
Arkansas shouldn’t drop this game; it’s the better team and plays at home. But there are variables that could affect it the other way.
Chance of victory: 49 percent
So there you have it. If my calculation is correct, Arkansas would hit 7-5, an attractive team for bowls like Texas, Music City, Liberty or Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Start making your preliminary travel plans for December.