2018 Arkansas Razorbacks Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 4-8
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 5.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
Admittedly, Bret Bielema was always a bit of an odd fit at Arkansas. That said, his unceremonious firing shows that the Razorbacks clearly have unrealistic expectations about where their program should be.
Toiling in the SEC West, one of the three or four most difficult divisions in college football, Arkansas is not going to be a perennial championship contender. And after three of four winning seasons and back-to-back bowl wins (in 2014-15) for the first time in school history, Bielema was given his walking papers.
It is a shame, too. Because this year's team, in a watered-down SEC, had the chance to be one of Bielema's best. And after so many near misses - Arkansas has lost 13 games by a touchdown or less over the last four-plus seasons - this may have finally been the year for a Bielema breakout.
Instead Chad Morris, erstwhile Clemson offensive coordinator and SMU head coach, will take over. Morris is not a bad hire for the Razorbacks. However, his pass-happy spread attack is essentially the exact opposite of Bielema's ground-and-pound style. So while Morris has a veteran Razorbacks squad, that experience is somewhat wasted on guys that may not fit into what Morris wants to do.
We will find out if Morris is smart enough and adaptable enough to shift his system to fit his personnel. Offensively, the Razorbacks have nine returning starters. That includes a monster offensive line with a trio of highly touted three-year starters and solid depth. Arkansas has three of its top four runners and all four of its top receivers back. And almost all of them are upperclassmen.
Arkansas lost quarterback Austin Allen to injury eight games into last season. That gave now-sophomore Cole Kelley, a 6-foot-7 specimen, valuable reps to close last season. If he makes strides in Morris' offense then this could be a very dangerous attack.
Defensively, the good news is that eight starters are back. The bad news is that those starters stunk last year, giving up 36 points per game as one of the worst defenses in the country. Morris is an offensive guy. But his first season will be defined by what he, and well-respected defensive coordinator John Chavis, can accomplish with the defense.
Arkansas has a chance for a hot start with three winnable games out of the gate. That includes a potentially tricky road game at Colorado State. What follows will be a potentially season-defining three-game stretch at Auburn, versus Texas A&M in Arlington, and at home against Alabama.
If Arkansas can start out 3-3 then they will be in a solid position from there. Starting with Alabama, and including a game against Ole Miss in nearby Little Rock, Arkansas actually has a stretch of five straight home games. They also have a bye week prior to the LSU game whereas the Tigers will be coming off their battle with Alabama.
The Razorbacks close out with tough games at Mississippi State and at Missouri. But if they have some momentum and confidence then they could steal one of those as well.
I think that Arkansas is a bit underrated heading into the season. Bielema and his team were only ranked for eight total weeks in five years. But if Arkansas can spring an upset against either Auburn or Alabama then they could be set up for a really big season. That likely won't happen. But I think Arkansas can get to seven wins and could be a mild factor in the SEC.
Robert Ferringo has been the top football handicapper in the country the past seven years, earning nearly $28,000 in total football profit. He has also posted seven of nine winning seasons (including back-to-back winning years) and produced 26 of 41 winning football months and an amazing 45 of 70 winning football months over the past decade. Robert has eight of 10 winning NFL preseasons and he is at nearly 60 percent winners over his last 900 totals picks. Also, Robert's proprietary KING College Football Betting System has posted three of five winning seasons. Robert is looking for a third straight winning football year and wants more profit this fall. SIGN UP HERE TODAY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR 3-FOR-1 FOOTBALL SPECIALS!
We are offering new clients $60 in free college football picks for Robert's picks or any Advisory Board handicapper of your choosing. Get your free college football picks now!
Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
Get all of this Weeks College Football Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Football Picks