While just about everybody looks at Arkansas’ schedule, the last two years and writes a 3 or 4 in the win column, there actually is a path to even a bowl game.
That’s not saying it’s easy, exactly clear-cut or needing an awful lot of fortunate bounces along the way.
“I doubt it, but I think they could,” Lynn Scarbrough of Lindy’s Football magazines hitting the news stands said Tuesday afternoon with Derek Ruscin and Zach Arns (Ruscin & Zach) on ESPN Arkansas.
It will provide hope for some while others say it’s impossible. While pre-season predictions are generally wild guesses and I avoid those at all costs, Scarbrough and I agree on this one.
There IS a path. Whether it will happen or not is anybody’s guess.
The key is the schools in Mississippi.
“Ole Miss and Mississippi State do not tremendously out-class Arkansas,” Scarbrough said.
Lane Kiffin with the Rebels and Mike Leach with the Bulldogs have a better track record than Sam Pittman but just as many questions. They are just very different questions.
Arkansas will play three SEC teams with coaches (don’t forget Eli Drinkwitz at Missouri) that have as many wins as a head coach in the league as Pittman does.
Pittman does have more years coaching in the league than the three of them combined times two.
The pressure is on mainly Kiffin and Leach. They were hired to produce instant results while Pittman sorta flew under the radar.
“He got a big advantage on this because so much prominence was given to Ole Miss and Mississippi State’s hires,” Scarbrough said. “They soaked up all the headlines.”
Scarbrough likes Arkansas’ offense … a lot.
“I really like Treylon Burks and the other young receivers,” he said. “Rakeem Boyd is excellent and was on our second team in a league that is really good this year at the running back position.”
Then there’s Feleipe Franks coming in at quarterback and he’s won more SEC games than every Arkansas quarterback combined over the last four seasons.
“It’s a great move,” Scarbrough said. “I’m excited about ya’ll’s offense. Your offense is not going to get the credit due. His record at Florida was good. He’s going to be the thing that’s going to be the difference.”
The personnel on the Hogs’ offense have gotten the headlines on potential the last year but didn’t show it on the field which is either a spectacular evaluation bust … or a coaching staff that really didn’t have a clue.
New offensive coordinator Kendal Briles is what makes the offense interesting for Lindy’s and all the pre-season guesses.
“Briles is picking up some good people,” Scarbrough said. “Arkansas’ skill people among the best in the SEC. It’s hard to find a team that’s got better skill people than what Arkansas will put on the field.”
But then there’s the other side of the ball.
“I’m not excited about the defense at all,” he said.
Nobody else is, either, but the guess is they will be better simply with a change in the leadership. New defensive coordinator Barry Odom is going to be better with today’s players.
But good enough to get this teams to six wins?
Check back with me in a couple of months. They really should be able to have at least one practice before we start making a lot of bold predictions.