Let's Talk About USA Today's Arkansas Razorbacks Preview

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Although the content of the preview is pretty accurate, the ranking is ridiculous.

As they did last year, USA Today is spending the summer unveiling their preseason college football rankings by publishing one post for each team each day, and they're doing so in order of their rankings.

Wednesday was Arkansas' turn because they have the Razorbacks coming in ranked 89th.  89th!

That's absurd. Downright trolling. It only makes sense if you believe all 3- or 4-win teams are equal, which is such a simpleton's way of thinking.

For instance, last year USA Today placed Arkansas 83rd and Louisiana-Lafayette 49th.  The Razorbacks beat them by 20 points the first week of the year.

And while we're at it, how do you justify the Razorbacks falling six places from last season? The only way to really imagine Arkansas being worse is if injuries decimate the team. They'll be better at far more positions than worse.

It should be noted that the content of the preview is mostly accurate. It's pretty standard stuff. There's a lot on the importance of Brandon Allen improving, the difficulty of the schedule, the unknowns on the defense, and so on and so forth. No really new points that Razorback fans haven't been going over for the last few months.

The only things that are really objectionable are in the beginning.

But feel free to pass the buck. "I really thought, coming in, because of the guy that I was replacing, I thought we would have a plethora of quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive skill," second-year coach Bret Bielema said in May. "That really wasn't the case."

Imagine Auburn. The Tigers went from the outhouse to the penthouse in a single season, turning around a broken foundation and reaching the BCS National … on second thought, forget about Auburn.

......

Batten down the hatches. Improvement will be imperceptible, snail-like, cautious, evident only to the diehard observer. Arkansas has a few of the latter.

Why was it okay to rip the roster Petrino left Arkansas before last season but now it's "passing the buck". I don't know if Petrino or Gus Malzahn would have been better than 3-9 at Arkansas last season. I'm willing to say they probably would have, but I don't think either would have taken that roster very far.

The bulk of this year's team, at least the upperclassmen who will be playing at many positions, are still Petrino's recruits. It's not passing the buck to say certain positions were left weaker than others. The quarterback problem Myerberg goes on and on about? Petrino's recruit. The receiver corps he calls " as weak as you'll find in the SEC"? Petrino's recruits or true freshmen.

While I don't think Bielema should have said that while so many of those players are still on his roster, it's not an invalid point. It's the same point fans and media have been making for a year now.

Of course, the Auburn comparison is foolish. As we've discussed since last fall, Malzahn went back to a situation that he'd had a big hand in building which included a few top 10 recruiting classes. The difference in rosters is night and day.

Improvement will only be imperceptible if you're not paying attention. If the "diehards" are only looking at final record, fine. But I expect anybody who actually watches games will see improvement. I don't expect any 52-0 defeats. I expect Arkansas to be able to win a game if they have a lead in the fourth quarter.

This is a team that, if they played in a more normal division with a more average schedule, no one would be thinking of as a bottom-feeder. The team is certainly flawed, and the SEC West will definitely expose many of those flaws, but that doesn't mean Arkansas is in the bottom-third of teams in the country.

Oh and I also liked this about Alex Collins:

...facts: one, he's Arkansas' best back since Darren McFadden, obviously, and already one of the best in the SEC

I just love it when people say their opinions are facts. I have a special place in my heart for that.

Look, I hope Collins lives up to all the hype Arkansas fans have bestowed upon him since before he even committed to the Hogs. I agree that he has a really high ceiling. That being said, he may not even prove to be the best or second-best running back on this team. Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson are both in the NFL. There's a wide range of plenty of good backs between where we last saw Collins and where McFadden left. Let's not go there just yet.

And if Collins really is that good, Arkansas' ranking should certainly be much higher, fact. Obviously.

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