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Prospecting for Bowls, Mid-December Edition

The experts see Hogs wearing cowboy hats in Houston.

Alabama v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The last month hasn’t been kind to the Arkansas Razorbacks, and you can really feel the four-game slide. Never mind that two of those losses could just as easily have been wins. But that’s the progression of teams:

  1. Lose big.
  2. Lose close.
  3. Win close.
  4. Win big.

As Sam Pittman said after the Alabama smack-down, that last game was the only one that Arkansas never had a chance in. So we’re well past Step One, and Step Two has already gotten our boys closer to Step Three.

Getting to a bowl is part of that third step, and the Hogs are bowling, even with a 3-7 mark.

A couple reminders: win requirements for bowl eligibility have been waived this year. In previous years, a .500 record (or a 5-7 record with a high APR score in a few cases) was required to compete in bowl season. As of today, the Las Vegas Bowl matchup with the Pac-12 is the only SEC tie-in bowl that has been cancelled. Of course, as you’ve learned this season, things change quickly.

Here’s some projections for where the Hogs will be bowling in the post-season. There’s much less variety of predictions from the last time I posted projections.

Arkansas vs. Texas, Texas Bowl

Kyle Bonagura of ESPN, Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, and the folks at College Football News all see the Razorbacks headed to Houston, where they’d be taking on the much-loathed Longhorns. Texas is Back (in a mid-tier bowl)! The Hogs and Horns last squared off in the 2014 Texas Bowl, when the Hogs’ defense embarrassed Texas, to the tune of 31-7. Texas is set to visit Fayetteville next September, potentially setting up two match-ups in the span of three games.

The Longhorns have been struggling to meet expectations for yet another season, and their offseason already started off poorly for everyone except Tom Herman when their attempt to lure Urban Meyer to Austin failed.

Arkansas vs. Oklahoma State, Texas Bowl/Liberty Bowl

Mark Schlabach of ESPN, Brett McMurphy of Stadium, and Brad Crawford of 247 Sports all see the Hogs taking on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Houston. Bill Bender from the Sporting News and Erick Smith of USA Today see the same match-up taking place in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl. The Hogs haven’t met the Pokes on the gridiron since 1980 (although it feels like they’re annual opponents in pretty much every other sport). There was a time from the 1950s through 1980, however, when the two teams met pretty much every year in the first or second game of the season. Arkansas leads the all-time series, 30-15-1.

The group from Stillwater has been led by their offense virtually every year of the Mike Gundy era, but 2020’s team actually starts with their defense. They will be playing without their All-American RB, Chuba Hubbard, as he opted out earlier in the season.

Arkansas vs. TCU, Texas Bowl

Athlon Sport’s Steven Lassan also sees Arkansas making the trip to Houston, in this case, to take on the Horned Frogs from TCU. The Hogs and Frogs last squared off in a home-and-home series at the tail end of Bert’s tenure. The first game was cool. The long-time SWC opponents hadn’t met previous to those games since Arkansas left the conference in 1991. For most of that time in the SWC, TCU was a perennial doormat. Arkansas leads the series 44-24-2.

TCU’s most consistent success in the program’s history has been with their current coach, Gary Patterson, when they’ve finished ranked in the top-ten six times since 2008.

Any of these match-ups pique your interest? Let us know in the comments if you have a better idea!