This is the sixth and penultimate post in a week-plus-long series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
After we spent last week wallowing in Razorback football nostalgia (in other words, it was a pretty standard week here at ArkansasExpats), our corporate overlords at SB Nation and EA Sports would like for us to talk a little about our expectations for the future — specifically, for the 2010 Razorback football season.
Our interns have yet to begin their 'round-the-clock, amphetamine-fueled statistical breakdown of the Hogs and their 2010 opponents (and staff soothsayer Rasputin has yet to return from his summer trip to Russia to visit friends and family), so I'll keep this fairly breezy and general. After all, we do have about six weeks to really get in the weeds of pre-season analysis.
In short, though, let me just say that I may be a little more skeptical of the 2010 Razorbacks than many. At least two of the players have voiced goals of playing for the national championship; Hollywood hotshot Matt Besser has at least semi-seriously predicted a 12-0 regular season; and our own KevinHog foresees an 11-2 season, complete with a BCS bowl victory. And no less an authority than Phil Steele is bullish on the Razorbacks.
I hope they're right. Seeing the Hogs make a serious run at a national championship would be thrilling, obviously. And we all know they have the offense - or at least the passing attack - to do it. But do they have the defense to do it? Do they have the special teams play to do it? I'm skeptical they do. In fact, I have my doubts that the team will be all that much improved from last year.
And as it is every year, the schedule is a bear. Maybe not as tough as the past two years, but still, there are plenty of games in which the Hogs will be up against it. Defending national champion Alabama comes to Fayetteville, and the Razorbacks face tough road contests at Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina. Given that Arkansas has won a grand total of one road game during the past two seasons, perhaps every game outside of The Natural State should be considered a challenge (OK - maybe except for Vanderbilt).
This is not to say that I'm not excited about the 2010 season. I am. If nothing else, watching Ryan Mallett and the receivers unleash their aerial attack will be loads of fun. And who knows? Hopefully, my skepticism about the other components of the Hogs will prove unfounded. We'll save our official, notarized season forecast for sometime in August, but as of Monday, July 12, something along the lines of an 8-4 regular season feels about right.
But enough from me: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?