College Football Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks

In this new series, I will be covering the most interesting teams for the 2020 College Football Season. We’re starting this series off with perhaps the worse Power 5 program last year and that is Arkansas. Arkansas went 2-10 last year and they were BAD. I mean really BAD just watch these highlights from their game against Western Kentucky. They are supposed to be an SEC team and yet they can barely beat an FCS team. But with almost a completely new coaching staff and some key transfers it should be a very interesting season for the Razorbacks to say the least.

This game pretty much sums up Arkansas’s 2019 season.

Key Players

Arkansas’s offense was quite terrible last year. It all started with the quarterback position. Arkansas had 5 different quarterbacks start last year and none were effective and combined to complete less than 50% of their passes and throw more interceptions than touchdowns. Former Florida quarterback Felipe Franks is gonna be the key to any success that the Razorbacks can have this year. If he goes gets injured or plays poorly its game over for any hope of success. Rakeem Boyd from Last Chance U fame is the Razorbacks best offensive weapon. New offensive coordinator Kendal Briles needs to give Boyd at least 20 touches a game as he only had 20+ touches in 5 games 2 of which they won. One good thing about this Razorbacks offense is that returns 3 out of their 4 leading receivers from last season. Treylon Burks, Trey Knox and Mike Woods are all young promising receivers who can add a depth of big play ability and reliability in addition to former Oklahoma receiver Jaqualyn Crawford who makes up a solid group of weapons for Franks to throw to.

Rakeem Boyd Arkansas’s most explosive weapon.

Arkansas’s defense ranked 111th last season and gave up 36 points per game. They have a lot of work to do but one key addition is former Clemson Tiger Xavier Kelly who has played in 26 career games as a tiger. Oklahoma linebacker Levi Draper also is a key addition to a Razorback defense that gave up 222 rushing yards per game. Returning LB Bumper Pool who was 2nd on the team in tackles and tackles for a lost adds additional depth. The real place that this Razorbacks defense will struggle is in the secondary and defensive line. In the secondary Kareem Curl is someone who will be deeply missed as he was the only Razorback with more than 1 interception. Greg Brooks Jr, Joe Foucha and Jarques McClellion and all returning DBs who registered 1 interception last season. The defensive line is even more depleted with only two defensive lineman returning who registered 0.5 sacks each. Arkansas’s run defense maybe improved with the additions at Kelly and Draper but it still will have the issue of not generating pass rush which will lead to issues in pass coverage.

A really positive addition to the Razorbacks in way of transfer is kicker AJ Reed from Duke. Last year Reed made 83% of his field goals and 100% of his extra points. He will replace Connor Limbert who struggled at times last year only making 73% of his field goals. In the return game Treylon Burks looks to be a solid option at the punt return and kick return position after averaging 10 yards a punt return and 22 yards per kick return.

Schedule

Week 1 vs Nevada

I’m gonna say that Arkansas will win this game and here’s 2 reasons why. For one it is in Fayetteville if this game was on the road it will be an easy win for Nevada. The second thing is that I’m gonna give Felipe Franks the benefit of the doubt. If he plays like he did in 2018 and can stay healthy this is a totally different Arkansas team.

Week 2 at Notre Dame

In South Bend against a top 25 team. Forget about it.

Week 3 at Mississippi State

This is the first real test for Arkansas. If Arkansas can win these kinda games than they can have success. But Mississippi State is still a tier above Arkansas and especially with the addition of KJ Costello this will be close win for Miss State

Week 4 vs Texas A&M

Texas A&M is still a much better team than Arkansas and even on neutral territory it still will be a loss for Arkansas.

Week 5 vs Charleston Southern

This should be an easy win against an FCS team in home territory.

Week 6 vs Alabama

Nope.

Week 7 vs LSU

See Week 6.

Week 8 vs Tennessee

I hate Tennessee for some reason. No matter what their record is or who they beat I still will believe that they stink. If Arkansas can stay healthy and can stay competitive against Alabama and LSU I believe that they will beat Tennessee.

Week 9 at Auburn

At Auburn, this is an easy loss.

Week 10 vs Ole Miss

Ole Miss stinks. Arkansas could’ve beat them last year if they had a quarterback. This year they do. Ole Miss lacks any real dynamic player makers and as a result Arkansas should run over Ole Miss at home.

Week 11 vs UL Monroe

On senior day against an inferior team, this should be an easy win.

Week 12 at Missouri

Final game of the season. Missouri is coming off a post season ban with probably one of the easiest schedules in SEC. With a lot of momentum coming off easy wins this should be a close game, but at the end of the day I think Missouri will win.

Final Record 5-7

At the end of the day if Arkansas does in fact finish 5-7 Razorback fans should feel grateful. They are dependent of 2 things if they can have solid quarterback play and if their defense can hold up. If those 2 things don’t come true than they are looking at a season similar to last season in which they lose to teams they should beat and get embarrassed by teams that are better than them. If they are good or bad they should be fun to watch.

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