I love reading Matt Hinton's "hyper-specific" predictions during the season. Dr. Saturday's often uncannily spot-on, even when he's straying further and further from the entirely plausible. Regardless, it's fun to match his intuitions and prejudices against your own. However, his SEC forecast, as far as the Razorbacks are concerned, strikes me as a bit much:
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett will lead the league in both touchdowns and interceptions, and the Razorbacks will lose multiple games in which he passes for at least 350 yards and three touchdowns.
We're all fairly certain that Mallett will be one of the league-leaders in TDs, but nothing about his past performance indicates that he'll come anywhere near the lead in interceptions. He may throw a few more than the measly seven (in 403 attempts!) that he gave up in his first full season as a starter—he's an aggressive guy who trusts his arm—but there's a lot of young quarterbacks taking snaps in the SEC this year.
Also, the only time Mallett has thrown for three touchdowns and 350 yards in a loss was that wild Georgia sh*tshow, and no way the Hogs give that one up with more than a single nonconference game under their belts. Hinton's guessing their performance on the other side of the ball will stay roughly as bad as it's been. No Hog fan trusts our defense less than me, but
- They're one year better than they were,
- Three-and-outs, which will likely dwindle this year, played a big role in most of the losses,
- The Steve Caldwell hire will have an immediate visible impact, and
- More often than not it was a weakness for giving up the big play which burnt them. Age and experience is the best way to improve recognition and on-field intelligence.
Hinton gives much more space to other teams in the conference, and most of his prognostications look about right, but why limit himself to only three actual predictions for everyone's favorite "darkhorse"?
Because there's a lot of ways to be wrong about the Razorbacks in 2010.