What a season that 2015 turned out to be for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs entered the season ranked #18 in the preseason polls, only to start the year 1-3, with some bad home losses. It appeared that the Razorbacks would fall back into obscurity after climbing out of the basement in 2014.
But then, the Hogs beat Tennessee in Neyland stadium, something that hadn’t happened since 1992. The Razorbacks showed the ability to win close games, and to stave off comebacks. It’s what cost them just a week prior against A&M. After a close loss to Alabama the following week, the Hogs limped into their BYE week with a 2-4 record. Not many people gave them much of a chance to even be bowl eligible.
Then Auburn happened. Bret Bielema finally got his overtime win at Arkansas. And it wouldn’t be the last time, either. The Razorbacks handled UT-Martin, then set off on a road series that will go down as one of those “key moments” in Bielema’s tenure as Arkansas’ head coach.
Oct 24, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Alex Collins (3) runs the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the first half at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
When the dust settled on the 2015 season, the Arkansas Razorbacks are heading to Memphis for the Liberty bowl with a 7-5 record. In case you don’t feel like doing the math, that means that after losing 3 of their first 4 games, the Hogs won 6 of their last 8, in one of the most impressive mid-season turnarounds that college football has seen in a long time.
So many moments, both good and bad, could have or will eventually define this season. Imagine, for example, if the Razorbacks win the Liberty Bowl against Kansas State. That’s an 8 win season, which is an improvement from last year’s win total. It’s what you want to see from a program that is rebuilding. But imagine if the “Hunter Heave” hadn’t of worked. That was a fluke, plain and simple. (What a glorious fluke, though.) Also, imagine that the Hogs drop just one pass, or miss just one block against Auburn. That could be a different outcome as well. The Razorbacks could very easily NOT be bowl eligible right now.
On the flip side of that coin, imagine if a touchdown isn’t called back against Toledo, and Allen’s toss to Henry in the back of the end zone was 1 foot lower. What if the field goal against Mississippi State wasn’t blocked? How about if Arkansas makes just one tackle in overtime against A&M? The Razorbacks could have easily had a 10 win season this year as well.
2015 was absolutely bananas. Let’s look at the biggest moments from the year, both good and bad.
Next: A New Offensive Scheme and Broken Bones