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Nobody Expects Hogs to Be at Front This Season

Predicting where Razorbacks finish really not that difficult
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Sam Pittman knows horse racing terminology.

The guess here is he likes coming from the middle of the pack as opposed to being the favorite in the starting gate.

"No," was his direct answer when asked at SEC Media Days in Atlanta last week if the Razorbacks had arrived after a 9-4 season.

That record has generated expectations from the fan base for double-digit wins this year, which may be a little high playing through the land mines in the SEC West.

"We're the underdog," Pittman said. "We like it that way."

The reality is the Hogs are probably a 6-6 team that could get some breaks like they last year and the win total could go up a little higher.

That 8-4 regular-season mark could have had several games go the other direction. There were some surprising wins in those eight wins.

Rocket Sanders

The Hogs caught Texas A&M at perfect time

Arkansas won the game, which is really all that matters in the end.

The overall talent for the Aggies was better, but nobody has presented any credible evidence to dispute the whispers that Jimbo Fisher didn't prepare as well for the Hogs or Mississippi State the next week as he did Alabama where he pulled out a surprising win.

Plus A&M was a mess at quarterback the week they played the Hogs in Arlington and it really showed.

The result was a win nobody really predicted before the season.

Cam Little-LSU

A 'Little' November saved the season

Freshman kicker Cam Little was another Razorback that was snubbed on the media's All-SEC teams at Media Days.

All he did was win two games directly for the Hogs in November last year.

Against Mississippi State to start what Frank Broyles used to call Alumni Month, Little was 3-of-4 on field goals in a 31-28 win they probably didn't really deserve.

The Bulldogs were 0-of-3 on field goals on the day, including a chance at the end of the game to send it to overtime.

The Hogs never did really figure out a way to shut down Will Rogers and the State offensive attack and that is something to remember this year when the two teams play in Starkville.

Little had to do it again the next week.

With Ed Orgeron out of the picture and LSU a mess, the Hogs needed a field goal from Little in overtime for a 16-13 win.

Those are three games that could have gone the other way and nobody would have been going to Tampa for New Year's Day.

Luke Fickell-Cincinnati

Why this year is tougher

It's not a mystery why the 2022 season might be a tougher year and this team better be improved over last year.

First of all, the non-conference schedule is more difficult.

Starting with a Cincinnati team that is ranked in most preseason Top 25 polls is one thing.

Playing a mid-season game on the road at BYU is not easy, particularly when injuries or whatever could cause a different-looking roster then.

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Also, a lot of people tend to overlook Liberty.

Say what you want about Hugh Freeze, but he has won at a high level in the SEC and has assembled a pretty good level of talent at a Group of 5 school that has more money than a few teams in the SEC.

While the Missouri State matchup in September is one the Hogs will likely win, the guess is former coach Bobby Petrino may make this a game that doesn't please the players, coaches or fans.

Considering Texas A&M at Arlington and Alabama are the next two games followed by three straight road games and you understand what Pittman said about the difficult schedule.

Sam Pittman-Jimbo Fisher

The bottom line to a new season

This is all subject to change, of course, probably on a weekly basis throughout the season but this is a 6-6 team right now.

The prediction is 7-5 because they should win one or two they should lose and will probably lose at least one game they should win (like Auburn last year at Razorback Stadium).

Throw in the unknowns of injuries, officials' calls, weather, about a dozen other things and the guess here is 7-5 for the season.

Just don't ask which games are wins and which ones are losses.

Of course, the Hogs could just be better than I think.

Which is probably what Pittman hopes, too.

Arkansas Divider

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Arkansas Divider

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