I’ve been sitting here discussing with friends just how good the Razorbacks have looked this season, but we just don’t get the respect we deserve. It’s possible a 17 game conference losing streak had something to do with that. Things changed Saturday evening after Arkansas dismantled an Ole Miss team that hurried out of Fayetteville.
In fact, the Arkansas Razorbacks are the talk of the nation right now and we’re not even in the top 25. The Hogs have garnered a lot of attention from national writers over the past three days. We’ve even been mentioned as the SEC West’s most dangerous team.
“Did you know the Arkansas Razorbacks can still finish last in the SEC West standings with a win against Missouri on Friday?”
The Razorbacks are getting so much attention that we’re even favored by a point and a half this weekend at Missouri. Did I mention Missouri is 9-2 on the season and currently ranked 17th in the AP Poll? And yes, you are seeing that correctly, we are favored against Mizzou on the road. This marks the 2nd game out of the last 3 that Arkansas has been favored, despite playing their 3rd team in a row inside the top 17 in the nation. Oh, and we were 4-5 with a 17-game SEC losing streak and losers of 13 straight in conference under head coach Bret Bielema before this started. Why the respect?
The respect probably comes from the near victories against Alabama and Mississippi State, both of which are currently in the college football playoff top four.
In recap, the Hogs lost to Alabama 14-13 on a blocked extra point. Bama was held to 66 yards rushing in this game; their lowest mark of the season by 40 yards. This is a team that averages 204.9 yards per game on the ground.
Then, Arkansas led in Starkville at halftime before squandering a late lead. Quarterback Brandon Allen led a late drive, down 17-10, but threw an interception in the end zone. The No. 1 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs would hold on to victory.
Next, confidence rose again at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium in Fayetteville when Arkansas finally won their first SEC game in three seasons; defeating their rival LSU, 17-0. The Battle for the Golden Boot was taken by the Hogs, but no one could have ever guessed what they’d do next.
Nov 22, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Khalia Hackett (44) motions to the fans during the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Mississippi 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Ole Miss rolled into Fayetteville with an 8-2 record and a No. 8 ranking in the AP Poll. Oozing with confidence, Arkansas obliterated a beat up Rebel team 30-0. The Hogs picked up their 2nd straight shutout and pulled in NCAA records in doing so.
Finally, the Hogs roll into Columbia Friday afternoon as a favorite, despite being three games behind Missouri. Is Arkansas the nation’s most feared team right now? Absolutely!
Today, the latest Associated Press Poll was announced and Arkansas received the most votes out of the teams not in the top 25. That’s correct, we’re technically ranked 26th! Just two weeks ago we were discussing another losing season and when Arkansas would snap their SEC losing streak. Now, we’re talking about a bowl game, a 3rd straight shutout, and possibly making the top 25 with a win this week. Okay, so maybe a 3rd straight shutout is a little unreachable, but did we really think a 4-5 unranked team would shutout back-to-back ranked opponents? Absolutely not!
Did you know?
Did you know the Arkansas Razorbacks can still finish last in the SEC West standings with a win against Missouri on Friday? With an Arkansas victory and a Texas A&M loss to LSU, the Hogs would technically still place 7th (last) in the SEC West with a 7-5 record. Despite a last place finish, this would most likely place them into the final week’s top 25 polls heading into their bowl game. Will people still doubt that the SEC West is the best?
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Did you know all 7 SEC West teams are going to a bowl game? And did you know Arkansas received more top 25 votes than LSU, USC, Nebraska, Utah, Duke, Texas A&M, Memphis and UCF? All of these teams have more wins than Arkansas.
Did you know Arkansas was ranked 72nd in the pre-season polls out of 128? With wins against Missouri and whoever we play in a bowl game, the Hogs could potentially finish inside the top 15.
Did you know the Razorbacks could become the only team in the nation with two running backs over 1,000 yards rushing? Alex Collins needs only 35 yards in his final game to reach the mark. A few other teams are within reach, but the Hogs are the most likely to do so.
It’s clear nobody wants to play the Hogs right now, and Missouri is the latest to stand in their way. Arkansas could play spoiler again this week when they head into Columbia to try and stop the Tigers from winning another SEC East title. What will analysts say then?