2015 Record: 8-5
2016 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5
2016 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
Bret Bielema has increased Arkansas' win total from three to seven to eight in the past several seasons. That includes improving their conference record from 0-8 in his first year to 5-3 last season. But now the Razorbacks may be at a bit of a crossroad. They are an afterthought in the SEC West this season, picked sixth by several media outlets in the seven-team division.
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Prognosticators might be selling the Razorbacks a little short, though. Bielema has won two of every three games he's coached in his 10-year career. His teams are consistently among the most physical, best rushing teams in the country. And although they have to replace by far their two best offensive players - quarterback Brandon Allen and running back Alex Collins - I definitely wouldn't think of this as a rebuilding season in Fayetteville.
Arkansas has nine starters back from a defense that was No. 12 against the run last season. Yes, they were No. 116 against the pass. But with three of their four starters back they can only improve in that area. At least they better. This team is powerful up front, and I expect a massive improvement from their 27.4 points per game allowed last season.
Most of the questions about this team are on the offensive side of the ball. Besides the new skill position players, Arkansas is also very young across the offensive line. They will have a freshman and two sophomores as first-year starters. How that group comes together will determine how quickly Arkansas' crushing running game will get up to speed.
With six SEC upsets in the last two years, including back-to-back wins over LSU, Arkansas has proven itself as a very tough out. I don't expect that to be any different this season. However, while I still think that a lot of people are undervaluing the Razorbacks, I do think that eight wins is going to be a tough mountain to climb.
Arkansas has to play only four true road games this year, with just three coming in league play. However, there are no gimmes in their SEC slate. They should win at least three of their four nonconference games. And I can see them stealing three league wins and working their way into a bowl game. But I definitely don't see eight expected wins on this schedule. For the second year in a row I should hit with the 'under'.
2016 Arkansas Razorbacks Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME (ET) Location Result
Sat, Sep 3rd, 2016 La. Tech 04:00 PM Razorback Stadium
Sat, Sep 10th, 2016 at TCU 07:00 PM Amon G. Carter Stadium
Sat, Sep 17th, 2016 Texas State 07:30 PM Razorback Stadium
Sat, Sep 24th, 2016 at Texas A&M 01:00 PM AT&T Stadium
Sat, Oct 1st, 2016 Alcorn State 01:00 PM War Memorial Stadium
Sat, Oct 8th, 2016 Alabama 01:00 PM Razorback Stadium
Sat, Oct 15th, 2016 Ole Miss 01:00 PM Razorback Stadium
Sat, Oct 22nd, 2016 at Auburn 01:00 PM Jordan-Hare Stadium
Sat, Nov 5th, 2016 Florida 01:00 PM Razorback Stadium
Sat, Nov 12th, 2016 LSU 01:00 PM Razorback Stadium
Sat, Nov 19th, 2016 at Miss State 01:00 PM Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Fi
All Times EST
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