Arkansas' loss to Mississippi State eliminated any shot at the Citrus Bowl and almost locks up a spot for the Razorbacks in the SEC's Pool of Six bowls.
As we've discussed, how many games Arkansas wins doesn't factor much into which of these six bowls the Hogs would be invited to, even though we've all been trained to think the Outback Bowl has far more prestige than the Liberty Bowl. And perhaps it would be more fun to go to, but officially, they're considered equals now.
However, nothing is locked up. A loss to Missouri would mark consecutive disappointing home losses en route to a 6-6 record, which might make Arkansas great fodder for the Birmingham or Independence Bowls. Arkansas could still earn a Pool of Six bowl with a 6-6 record as they did last year, but it would make things much less comfortable.
Also, the SEC put together this handy-dandy graphic to help explain the league's bowl selection process.
Interestingly, assuming Alabama wins out and if Florida loses to Florida State, you've got to think this would have been a prime opportunity for Arkansas to have gone to the Sugar Bowl if only the Hogs had won, say, just the Toledo and Mississippi State games. That might drive everybody crazy, but in most projections, Baylor would be the Sugar Bowl opponent, and I think we'd all have to agree that would be a complete disaster. Maybe Arkansas actually dodged a bullet.
Anyway, since there is no hierarchy for the Pool of Six bowls, it's virtually impossible to pick which school will end up where. Here's what the experts say:
ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Belk Bowl vs Duke (Wednesday, December 30, 2:30 pm - Charlotte)
ESPN (Brett McMurphy): Outback Bowl vs Northwestern (Friday, January 1, 11:00 am - Tampa)
SB Nation: Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State (Saturday, January 2, 2:20 pm - Memphis)
Fox Sports: Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State (Saturday, January 2, 2:20 pm - Memphis)
CBS Sports: Texas Bowl vs West Virginia (Tuesday, December 29, 8:00 pm - Houston)
Bleacher Report: Music City Bowl vs Penn State (Wednesday, December 30, 6:00 pm - Nashville)
There you have it. Five of the six bowls represented in these guesses. So basically, they have no idea. I will say, out of these options, the only team I don't really want to play is West Virginia (because passing is scary) and the least attractive bowl is probably Belk because it's on an afternoon on a Wednesday (although playing Duke in Charlotte should spark some fond memories).
I still say I think Arkansas will generally end up in Memphis, Nashville, or Houston whenever the Hogs land in the Pool of Six for geography reasons, and will continue to do so until they prove they'll send Arkansas to one of those games on the East Coast.