Arkansas Football: Early reaction to the 2023 schedule

The SEC announced its 2023 football schedules on Tuesday, September 20th. Arkansas football has a typically demanding schedule playing in the SEC West. After outlining the schedule, we’ll go over a few key takeaways.

The Hogs’ schedule looks like this, via 247 Sports:

September 2nd: Western Carolina (Little Rock)
September 9th: Kent State
September 16th: BYU
September 23rd: at LSU
September 30th: Texas A&M (Arlington)
October 7th: at Ole Miss
October 14th: at Alabama
October 21st: Mississippi State
November 4th: at Florida
November 11th: Auburn
November 18th: FIU
November 25th: Missouri

Key Takeaway #1: Arkansas football has an absolute road gauntlet for the middle stretch of their season.

Arkansas football hosts Western Carolina, Kent State, BYU, Mississippi State, Auburn, FIU, and Missouri while they go on the road to face LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Florida. The Texas A&M game will again be played at a neutral site.

From a purely quantitative standpoint, Arkansas football will host more home games than road games next season. However, it is how those games fall where things could go wrong for the Hogs.

Arkansas football hosts one–ONE–game from September 23rd to November 4th. The stretch of games from on the road against LSU through playing Alabama in Tuscaloosa could be fierce, leading to the next takeaway.

Key Takeaway #2: Arkansas football already has some must-win games on the schedule a full year in advance.

The SEC is always a dog fight to get to a winning record. However, the schedule doesn’t do the Hogs any favors next season.

It will be imperative for Arkansas to win the four nonconference games if they want to have any shot at a winning record. It is hard to say in this day and age in college football what any team will look like a year out, but the Hogs need to handle business in nonconference. Just winning those games alone won’t get the Hogs to a bowl, though, which brings us to the final key takeaway from the schedule.

Key Takeaway #3: Arkansas football must handle business at home in 2023.

Sure, there are some “gimmie” games in that home schedule (I’m looking at you, Western Carolina, Kent State, and FIU), but no Hog fan wants to return to the days of three-win seasons.

For the Hogs to have a decent year in 2023, they must win their home games. They will likely need to win at least three of BYU, Mississippi State, Auburn, and Missouri just to get to six wins with the road tests the schedule lays out for them.