Maybe this is a question that should be left for just before the season starts (I am sure we can revisit it), but it seems worth visiting now as the magazines and USA Today have already weighed in with their gloomy forecasts for the Hogs. I recommend you read Doc's article on the subject of magazine predictions before voting here in the poll. It has good parts reality and good parts optimism. In case you haven't gotten the schedule committed to memory, here is what our Hogs are looking at for the 2013 campaign.
FAYETTEVILLE - University of Louisiana Lafayette
LITTLE ROCK - Samford
FAYETTEVILLE - Southern Mississippi
PISCATAWAY NEW JERSEY - Rutgers
FAYETTEVILLE - Texas A&M (Start of SEC play)
GAINESVILLE - Florida
FAYETTEVILLE - South Carolina
TUSCALOOSA - Alabama
FAYETTEVILLE - Auburn
OXFORD - Ole Miss
LITTLE ROCK - Miss. State
BATON ROUGE - LSU
* Two Open Dates! Not going to feel bad those weekends, guaranteed! ha.
* Alabama has a ridiculous record of winning their SEC opener. At least the Hogs don't have to contribute to that this season. I am not predicting a win, but I look forward to seeing the Hogs face the Tide with some SEC play already under their belts.
* It is possible that we get our SEC opener with Texas A&M while sitting at 4-0. A lot of positive energy could be created that way. But I suspect Rutgers is going to have something to say about this scenario.
* At least for one more year, we get to continue the tradition of ending the season playing the LSU Tigers.
* No back to back road trips will have to be made.
* Have never lost to Miss. State in Little Rock or within the state of Arkansas for that matter.
* No two ways about it, this would be a tough schedule for any team, much less a team going through the transitions that the Hogs are going through. Except for Samford and Auburn, all of our schedule went bowling last year, including a national champion in Alabama.
* Replacing a trip to Lexington with a trip to Gainesville did the Hogs no favors.
* Brandon Allen vs. Experienced, Returning Quarterbacks from Texas A&M, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Miss. State, and LSU that I can recall. I am not for sure about the qb situation at the other schools, but that is still a lot of experience to face.
* I am sure there are more negatives that can be pointed out, but I don't want to work my way to drink still before noon, haha, so I'll stop here.
My personal prediction (subject to change) is that the Hogs, under leadership for a change, manage to scratch out six wins and end up in Shreveport or Birmingham. The Hogs get to 4-0 and optimism is rising, but it takes a tumble beginning with Texas A&M. The Hogs get wins over Auburn and Miss. State in conference to make it a 6-6 season. But this scenario really rests on beating Rutgers. If the Hogs don't get a win there, then it is going to be a lot tougher to get that other SEC win. My guess would be South Carolina as the most realistic hope, for we tend to play them well and it will be a home game.