I cannot speak to every fan’s expectations of the Arkansas football season. This university sports a fan base as diverse as the state’s four corners.
What most fans could probably agree upon, I would hypothesize, is that it would feel better if Sam Pittman and his squad followed up on last year’s nine-win season with a better than .500 record this season. Going 6-6 would be the absolute basement for Arkansas football.
Worse than that? I, personally, wouldn’t start grumbling yet, but I’d get it if people did.
Arkansas football comes into today’s tilt against #23 Liberty University (7-1) at 5-3 after last week’s 41-27 win over the now Harsin-less Auburn Tigers. It’s a must-win game for Pittman and the Razorbacks.
Arkansas football must beat Liberty today to keep hope alive for an above .500 season.
I know it is a crazy-sounding sentence: Arkansas football must beat Liberty University. How does an SEC football program have a must-win game against a program that just joined the FBS in 2018? But in the year of our lord 2022, here we are.
Today’s game against Liberty is the first of three straight games in Fayetteville against ranked opponents before they close the season against Missouri. Unfortunately, while that 5-3 record may currently be two games above .500, it is wobbling like a Jenga tower when it is your turn, and there are no apparent tiles to move.
It is why today is such an important game. If 6-6 is the absolute floor for Pittman to keep up the mirth and good cheer with Arkansas football fans, the logical wins would seem to be today against Liberty and the day after Thanksgiving against Missouri. Stealing one or both against LSU and Ole Miss would be gravy.
Things. Are. Tenuous. 5-3 could quickly become 5-7 by the end of the season if things don’t break Pittman’s way. And that’s when the locals will start to get restless. Losing four straight to close the season leaves a long offseason for fans to sit with that bitter taste. (Pittman should ask Bret Bielema how that worked out for him.)
Pittman’s entire Arkansas football tenure has been built on good vibes. He needs a win today against Liberty to keep vibing with the fanbase.