As the great “Ol’ Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier used to say, “it’s talkin’ season” when it came to SEC Media Days.
Soon, college baseball will be over with and just a few short weeks later the media days will commence. July 19-22 the SEC coaches, players, media will invade Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel for the biggest event of the summer.
Obviously, us small guys don’t get to get to participate in the marquee event but I will share you my thoughts on the 2021 season for the Razorbacks along with my SEC West projection. Let’s get started!
9/4 HOME Rice: WIN 52-17, 1-0
The Owls put up a fight late in the fourth quarter to make the final score look more respectable. The Razorback offense generates over 500 yards while being led by KJ Jefferson (345 yards and 3 TDs). Jalen Catalon starts his All-American campaign with a pick six.
9/11 HOME Texas: WIN 38-28, 2-0
Steve Sarkisian is in his second game with the Longhorns and it shows. A wild Fayetteville after dark crowd will be too much to overcome! Sam Pittman picks up his first signature victory as the head coach and it’s borderline erotic.
9/18 HOME Georgia Southern: WIN 56-28, 3-0
The Eagles had a solid 2020 season with a potent offense to boot. The Hogs are going into this game with the most momentum they’ve had since the 2015 season. Arkansas won’t overlook these high flyers. Another pick-six by Jalen Catalon and fans seeing their first true snaps by Malik Hornsby highlight this one.
9/25 NEUTRAL Texas A&M: WIN 28-20, 4-0 (1-0)
The Razorbacks pick up their first win in the series since 2011 and find themselves in their rightful place; ahead of the Aggies.
10/2 ROAD UGA: LOSS 38-30, 4-1 (1-1)
The Georgia Bulldogs are likely taking a step back on defense after losing stars like Richard LeCounte, Mark Webb, Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson. Luckily, their offense returns a ton including very good quarterback J.T. Daniels. Their offense was much better after he finally recovered from his knee injury in 2020.
Arkansas will put up some points and run the ball well in this one. Rocket Sanders will find some holes and run for a touchdown and gain a buck-fifty for his work. Treylon Burks finds the endzone twice as the Hogs come up just short of a road upset.
10/9 ROAD Ole Miss: LOSS 35-28, 4-2 (1-2)
I believe the series between these two teams will be close forging the rivalry to build again. They’re both in similar positions when it comes to jockeying for their place in the West.
Star running back Jerrion Ealy is back and finds plenty of running room. (165 yards and 2 TDs). No, there won’t be many interceptions thrown by Matt Corral this go around either.
This game will come down to the wire with a defensive stand by one of their three solid linebackers Lakia Henry, Sam Williams and MoMo Sanogo. The Rebels’ defense ranked 126th in total defense and 117th in scoring defense. It’s reasonable to think it will improve in 2021.
10/16 HOME Auburn: WIN 35-21 5-2 (2-2)
The belief around the SEC is the Tigers will struggle after firing Malzahn in the offseason. There’s talent on this team but will it fit what Harsin wants to do?
The Tigers offensive struggles will continue as Arkansas’ early season wonders continue. Burks, Smith, Jefferson and Sanders will be too much for the Tigers defense as Arkansas wins this one running away.
10/23 HOME UAPB: WIN 63-10, 6-2 (2-2)
The Golden Lions advanced to the SWAC Conference Championship Game in the spring. That doesn’t mean they’ll give Arkansas any kind of game.
Arkansas will get their freshmen and other role players some of that good PT!
A win in this one gives Arkansas the minimum to reach a bowl game in year 1B under Pittman.
11/6 HOME Miss State: WIN 48-36, 7-2 (3-2)
RUSH THREE. DROP EIGHT.
This will probably not be the way Arkansas wins the game this season, too. The Razorbacks found a way to win this one in Starkville last season but their offense finds holes all over the Bulldog defense. The Hogs have more talent and speed leading to enough wins to be ranked for the first time under Sam Pittman.
Things are looking up in Fayetteville.
11/13 ROAD LSU: LOSS 48-41, 7-3 (3-3)
The Battle of the Golden Boot will be a close matchup but the crowd in Death Valley plus the Tigers trying to bounce back after a difficult 2020 season will be too much for the SEC, including Arkansas.
A late game turnover on a game-tying drive by the Razorbacks keeps the Tigers’ hopes alive for a New Years Six bowl game.
11/20 ROAD Alabama: LOSS 48-28, 7-4 (3-4)
Arkansas will put some points on the board but Alabama will get theirs, too. The Crimson Tide had a historically good offense in 2020 but will take a step back after losing much of their nucleus from their national championship winning squad.
It’s safe to say Alabama will roll again but Arkansas does make a game of it early on before the Tide pull away.
11/26 HOME Missouri: WIN 48-31, 8-4 (4-4)
The prediction of Arkansas simply stomping them will probably happen. Since 2016, the Razorbacks have experienced issues in closing out games versus their fabricated rival.
If the SEC’s goal was to create a rivalry, it didn’t seem like it would work early on. However, it has and Arkansas is ready to rid themselves of the elephant in the room. Jefferson goes wild again totaling 346 yards of offense and 3 touchdowns. A.J. Green, Trelon Smith and Sanders combine for 255 yards on the ground as the Razorbacks roll to victory.
The Hogs rid themselves of two awful long losing streaks.
2020 PROJECTED SEC West Standings
- Alabama- The Crimson Tide will be number on each preseason until a team decides to step up and beat them.
2. LSU- The Bayou Bengals should be ready to roll again. They experienced such an amount of loss due to the Covid-19 opt outs that last season shouldn’t be judged.
3. Ole Miss- Because Lane Kiffin is a dang good coach and offensive mind. It would seem criminal to have the Rebels lower than this.
4. ARKANSAS- This may be the homer in me but I believe there is something special brewing in Fayetteville. Ok, maybe it is the homer but I don’t care. I’m paid to still be a fan and write. Arkansas wins enough games and becomes a trendy pick in year three to be a darkhorse to win the West in 2022.
5. Texas A&M- Last year’s dream run was remarkable in College Station. Let’s be real here, Arkansas has historically been better than the Aggies and it’s time to reclaim what’s ours!
6. Mississippi State- Because someone has to finish in the back of the pack. This isn’t the Big-12 or PAC12, this is the mighty SEC and I don’t see Mike Leach having the same “big second year” as history shows.
7. Auburn- Someone has to finish last. Firing Gus Malzahn after a Covid-19 stricken season felt very premature to me. Oh well, it happened but did the brass on The Plains make the right call hiring Brian Harsin? We will soon see.
8-4 sounds awfully good and it’s entirely possible. There’s been plenty of talent recruited to Fayetteville in recent years which helps give Arkansas the kickstart they need to put the football program back on the map.
Worst Case Scenario: 4-8.
If Arkansas doesn’t beat Texas and only defeats Auburn it could be a long season in Fayetteville.
Breakout Offensive Player: K.J. Jefferson
Breakout Defensive Player: Montaric Brown
Most Valuable Player: Jalen Catalon
_For more Razorback takes follow me on Twitter @jacobscottdavis. Go Hogs!