Expectations for the Razorbacks vary from person to person as the upcoming football season quickly approaches.
After a disappointing season last year, it may be hard for people to be positive about the upcoming season. Starting the season in the preseason top 10 and finishing 4-8 with only 2 SEC wins is disheartening for anyone.
Last December, Arkansas Athletic Director, Jeff Long, announced that he had hired former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. With Bielema's successful career at Wisconsin, things began to look up for the Hogs.
Bielema was head coach of the Badgers for 6 years with a 68-24 record, including 6 bowl games and 3 Big Ten Conference Titles. He was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2006. Besides winning, Bielema's program at Wisconsin has produced many notable players.
In the past 9 months, Bielema has created one of the best coaching staffs in America. Here is a list of the coaching staff:
- Jim Chaney, offensive coordinator
- Joel Thomas, running backs
- Sam Pittman, offensive line
- Micheal Smith, receivers
- Barry Lunney Jr., tight ends
- Chris Ash, defensive coordinator
- Charlie Patridge, defensive line
- Randy Shannon, linebackers
- Taver Johnson, cornerbacks
With Bielema also comes one of the best strength and conditioning coaches, Ben Herbert. If you haven't read the article on him yet, check it out here: http://www.sportinglifearkansas.com/ben-herbert-is-a-bad-ass-who-makes-his-players-bad-asses-too/
With all the hype of Bret Bielema and his staff there is one thing that fans do need to realize and that is Arkansas' brutal schedule. The Razorbacks easily have one of the toughest schedules in college football this season.
The Hogs start the season with three winnable games (but we said that last year) against Louisiana, Samford and Southern Mississippi. The Hogs then travel to Rutgers, who defeated the Hogs in Fayetteville last season.
Then comes four straight weeks of tough SEC opponents (all four opponents are ranked in the preseason top 10). First, Texas A&M and last season's Heisman trophy winner, Jonny Manziel, come to Fayetteville.
The Hogs then travel to Florida. The Gators posted 11 wins last season and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. South Carolina and Jadeveon Clowney(most likely to be chosen number 1 in the 2014 NFL Draft) travel to Fayetteville.
Finally, Arkansas finishes this treacherous four week stint by traveling to Alabama to take on the two-time defending national champions, who happen to be preseason No. 1 as well. We all know about Alabama's dynasty so no need to explain any further.
Arkansas then rounds out the season with Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU. All these teams are also great competitors with a lot talent.
After reviewing the Razorback's schedule, it's clear that they will be the underdog throughout the year. This could be a huge advantage and play in favor of the team. If the team plays with an underdog mentality, we could see some upsets.
It's hard to be clear as to what we can expect from Arkansas this upcoming season. But one thing for sure, we will not be as disappointed as last season.