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A Very Nerdy Preview of the 2011 Arkansas Razorbacks

Tyler Wilson throws against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Tyler Wilson throws against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
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It's almost August, and that means the nation is nearly drowning in college football preseason analyses. One of the best Razorback previews that we've recently come across was penned by SB Nation contributer Bill Connelly. Actually more of a 2010 review than a 2011 preview, the post is awash in stats that only a football nerd could love, which is fitting because the tag line to Connelly's Football Study Hall blog is the pretty awesome "Because some nerds don't love baseball."

Some notable tidbits and quotes from Connelly's Razorback preview are below:

* "Arkansas was one of six teams in the country to play well enough to beat a perfectly average team every single week of the season. (The others: Auburn, Boise State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU.) And aside from a three-week span in October, they played well enough to defeat said average team handily each week. Granted, you don't play many average teams in the SEC West, but the Hogs were still good enough to not only survive in the division that produced the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 teams (according to F/+), but also win ten games for just the second time since they moved to the Southeastern Conference."

* "Arkansas had a defense that was better in the first and third quarters than in the second and fourth. I tend to regard that situation as one in which the gameplan and adjustments were good, but perhaps the athleticism and conditioning weren't quite solid enough to sustain the quality as the game progressed. Arkansas had the best defense in the country in the third quarter, but they were below-standard in the fourth. I can't imagine this was a problem with conditioning, not considering the massive number of players defensive coordinator Willy Robinson rotated in and out."

* The following struck us (and Bill Connelly too) as pretty incredible: "This year's Arkansas Razorbacks are projected to play like the ninth-best team in the country in this year's [Football Outsiders Almanac 2011]. Incredibly, this places them in the lower half of the SEC West (thanks to some unlikely, high Auburn projections). Alabama projects at No. 1, Auburn No. 4 (championship teams typically don't completely fall apart the next season, but they also don't typically lose what Auburn lost) and LSU No. 5. That is just insane."

* According to Connelly's post, the Outsiders Almanac projects the Hogs to finish in the Top 10 with a 9-3 regular season record.

(Editor's Note: Connelly also is one of the managers of SB Nation's Missouri Tigers blog. Be sure to check out our Pulitzer Prize-winning Q&A with him about new Hogs basketball coach Mike Anderson.)