SEC CONF. PREVIEW: Overall SEC Conf. Preview
SEC EAST PREVIEWS: Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | Mizzou | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt
SEC WEST PREVIEWS: Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Mississippi State | Ole Miss | Texas A&M
The Arkansas Razorbacks enter the 2022 season ranked 23rd in the 2022 Preseason Coaches Poll. Although the Hogs face one of the most demanding schedules in the nation each season, this season’s schedule is the most brutal in recent memory. Playing in the SEC West is already a gauntlet each season, competing against the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU, but opening the season at home against Cincinnati and going on the road to BYU makes this season’s schedule more daunting than previous ones. The Hogs don’t have a cupcake game on the schedule. All their non-conference opponents participated in postseason play last season. Arkansas is the only team in the country to confront a non-conference schedule like this.
Even though Arkansas lost some players to the NFL and the transfer portal, the Hogs only lost one significant player, Treylon Burks, the 18th pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Through superb recruiting and player development, Arkansas has found replacements for those no longer on the team. Treylon Burks is an exceptional wide receiver. You cannot easily replace him. Oklahoma transfer wider receiver Jadon Haselwood, a 5-star athlete and the top wide receiver in the 2019 high school class, has the potential to provide similar production, however.
What does all this mean?
The Razorbacks return essentially the same players responsible for the excellent 9-4 record last season. With Jalen Catalon’s return from injury and landing Drew Sanders, the elite Alabama transfer linebacker, the Hogs’ defense will be even better than last season. The defense performed well overall, but a few games, the Georgia, Ole Miss, and even Auburn games (all losses), reveal a need for further improvement.
Coming off a dominant victory over Penn State in the Outback Bowl, the first game without Treylon Burks, Arkansas proved it can be an outstanding team without him. Arkansas featured the best rushing attack in the Power Five in the Outback Bowl. This rushing attack returns this season with four of last season’s offensive linemen.
Expect another year under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles to be remarkable.
The Arkansas Razorback football team is poised to have another fantastic season. Razorback Nation is ready to embrace the magic in Sam Pittman’s third year as the head Hog.
The Arkansas Razorbacks 2022 Football Team
THE HEAD COACH: Sam Pittman (3rd year, 12-11 record)
THE 2021 RECORD (SEC RECORD): 9-4 (4-4)
THE BOWL GAME: Defeated Penn State in the Outback Bowl, 24-10.
THE FIVE STUDS
K.J. Jefferson (QB): 67% of passes completed, 2,676 passing yards, and only 4 interceptions during the 2021 season
Raheim Sanders (RB): 114 rushing attempts, 578 total rushing yards, 5.1 yards per carry, and 6 total touchdowns (5 rushing and 1 receiving) during the 2021 season
Dominique Johnson (RB): 97 rushing attempts, 575 total rushing yards, 5.9 yards per carry, and 8 total touchdowns (7 rushing and 1 receiving) during the 2021 season
Bumper Pool (LB): 45 solo and 80 assisted tackles (125 total tackles) and 7.5 tackles for loss during the 2021 season
Cam Little (PK): 46 of 46 extra points made, 20 of 24 field goals made (83.3% of field goals made), and 106 total points
Arkansas returns one of the best quarterbacks in the nation: K.J. Jefferson. With K.J. Jefferson leading the offense, Arkansas can win every game. Jefferson is that talented. His toughness inspires everyone on the team to be more physical and competitive.
The players love playing for Sam Pittman. He can shrewdly motivate his players to leave everything they have on the field. Pittman’s calming presence will be needed as the Hogs battle through a difficult schedule. One can be sure the head Hog will not allow his players to think more highly of themselves than they should and not let them think negatively about themselves.
The Hogs have some of the best coaches in the nation: Sam Pittman (head coach), Kendal Briles (offensive coordinator), and Barry Odom (defensive coordinator)—to name a few.
Arkansas is facing its most brutal schedule in recent history—maybe ever.
Alabama is still Alabama—even in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
With such a difficult schedule, it will take a miracle for injuries not to affect the team. The Razorbacks must do everything possible to stay healthy. If Arkansas succumbs to injuries at critical positions, especially at quarterback and wide receiver, things can start to look ugly quickly.
BIGGEST NON-CONFERENCE GAME OF THE YEAR
Although much of the hoopla about the non-conference schedule centers on Cincinnati, the game that will ultimately become the biggest non-conference game for the Hogs will be on the road against BYU. By the time the Hogs go on the road to BYU on October 15, 2022, the game will occur at a time most crucial to the team’s ranking and bowl game positioning.
BIGGEST CONFERENCE GAME OF THE YEAR
Sorry, it’s not the Alabama game. Arkansas still has a little talent gap to close before it can reasonably expect to defeat the Crimson Tide. Be honest.
The biggest conference game is against Texas A&M. Both teams will compete to finish second in the SEC West behind Alabama.
Although Arkansas should defeat South Carolina, a loss to the Gamecocks in the second game of the year, a home game, might be deflating. With South Carolina adding Spencer Rattler to its offense, the Gamecocks feel confident they can go into one of the country’s most challenging places to play, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, and emerge victorious.
Arkansas must be ready for upset-minded South Carolina. If not, over 72,000 Razorbacks fans will go home disappointed.
WHICH TEAMS WILL THEY BEAT?
The Hogs will defeat these teams: Cincinnati, South Carolina, Missouri State, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, BYU, Auburn, Liberty, LSU, Ole Miss, and Missouri.
WHICH TEAMS WILL THEY LOSE TO?
The Hogs will lose a close game to Alabama, which will be their only regular season loss.
FINAL RECORD PREDICTION
12-1 (7-1 SEC record)
The Razorbacks will go to a New Year’s Six bowl game and win it.
RELATED ARKANSAS RAZORBACK STORIES
Arkansas has a secret weapon nobody is talking about
Can Arkansas push for the SEC championship?
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