To be honest, most people out there don't have any clue what this team will do. Unless you went to every spring practice and got to know Guz Malzahn's offense and also saw Mitch Mustain play and can project whether or not he'll be able to beat out Casey Dick. The defense should be slightly better with a bunch of starters returning and it being defensive coordinator Reggie Herring's second year. But really their whole year comes down to how they handle this new offense, did they get a Hugh Nall or an Al Borges. For those of you that know Auburn, Hugh Nall may have been the most inept offensive coordinator I've ever seen, and lead directly to Auburn's abysmal 2003 season. Al Borges on the other hand is God in a Hawaiin shirt. I have a feeling that ole Gus will be somewhere in the middle.
Sept 2 Southern California L: If they were returning the whole coaching staff and had a experienced quarterback I'd give them a shot to upset the Trojans. Which would be similar to the scare of a lifetime that Matt Jones gave the Longhorns two years ago. But it's not going to happen this time. Best case scenario would be for Arkansas to pound the ball up the middle with McFadden the whole game and take the occasional shot at a long ball to Monk. Aim for a low scoring game where a fluke play is the deciding factor. Talent disparity will be clearly evident by the 4th quarter though. What pisses me off however, is that Pac 10 fans will try and use this game as some sort of symbol that West Cost football teh shiznit.
Sept 9 Utah State W: Let's just say that if Arkansas doesn't win this game, Houston Nutt should put his resume up on Yahoo Jobs.
Sept 16 @ Vanderbilt W: This was a bad, bad, bad loss for the Razorbacks last year. Losing to Vandy at home is by all means unacceptable, and following their thrashing to USC pretty much set up the tone for their season. Luckily, Nashville is like playing Vandy at home. Arkansas actually gets to try out their new offensive plan against mediocre competition and McFadden probably reannounces his presence with a 170 yard game.
Sept 23 bama L: Shula went from being an offensive coordinator in the pros to being a head coach in the SEC and seemed overwhelmed for a the first couple of season. Malzahn is trying to make the transition from high school ball to the SEC. Theoretically he has the steadying hand of Nutt to fall back on, but his experience isn't exactly with a spread offense. These two teams have played it close the last few years but I just see bama pulling it out. Though I'm not the least bit confident in this decision.
Oct 7 @ Auburn L: Arkansas has played Auburn surprising well over the last 5 years, and having a weak off will certainly help. Although Auburn plays USC on a Thursday the week before so they will have a 9 day break as well. If Arkansas decides to run the ball they could use their lineman and quality backs to attack a smallish Auburn defense. But eventually talent takes over and the home crowd pushese Auburn on to victory.
Oct 14 Southeast Missouri State W: Wasn't even aware that this was a college. From my elementary understanding of geography, this should be a bit of a regional matchup. Either way, Arkansas wins.
Oct 21 Ole Miss W: It's a damn good thing that this game is in Fayetteville. Ole Miss will be much improved this year but I don't see them winning much on the road, and they should have lost in Tuscaloosa the weak before. Also the Arkansas offense should begin to take shape by this point.
Oct 28 Lousiana Monroe (played in Little Rock): W This is the type of game you should play in Little Rock. Extremely easy game, that the students don't mind missing, plus you're not going to sell many tickets for this game in Fayetteville. So you make the most of your attendance and make it easier for the bulk of your fanbase to see the game. Kudos.
Nov 4 @ South Carolina L: The Razorbacks should perform better against this USC than the one they met in the opener. However that's a long trip, and USC was too much for them to handle last year. It's getting late in the season and I have a feeling that the Mitchel/Rice connection will be grooving pretty well by now. Of course if the Cocks have just beaten UT at home, it could be a let down game that causes it to stay close way too late in the game.
Nov 11 Tennessee L: Here is Arkansas and Houston Nutt's shot for a saving grace game. Though UT should be improved this year, I wouldn't expect them to be dominant. The Vols also will have played bama the weak before. But once again, I just don't see it happening. It could, I'm just not going to predict it in June.
Nov 18 @ Mississippi State W: Thank god for the door mat cellar dwellar bulldogs of Starkville. Now that Jerious Norwood is with the Falcons I think that leaves MSU with exactly zero offensive weapons. Quick story, in the wonderful mountain towne that is Helen, GA, a whole city designed to look like a swiss villa but came out like a section of Six Flags, there is a liquor store called Helen's Cellar. I don't care who you are, that's funny.
Nov 25 LSU (in Little Rock) L: Maybe the biggest scheduling blunder in the history of the SEC. What the hell are they thinking? I think they have some sort of contract where they have to play a certain amount of games in Little Rock, but how the hell do you not choose Ole Miss? They are essentially giving up an opportunity to knock off one of the SEC heavyweights by forfeiting their home field advantage. Unless the athletic department did this on purpose so they could fire Nutt I see absolutely no explanation.
So that brings the Arkansas season to 6-6. Which is an improvement over last year sadly. Phil Steele apparently has Arkansas finishing #13 in the nation and 2nd in the West. Which is theoretically possible, but there is no proven reason to believe that. Let's say that othern than SoCal, they somehow manage to win every home game including Little Rock, which would be quite incredible for them to beat UT, bama, and LSU at home, and that's giving them a win against Ole Miss. They have to go on the road to Auburn, South Carolina, Vandy, and Miss State. So let's say they lose the Auburn and USC games, which would put them at 9-3. I guess it's possible if you think LSU is going to collapse this year, UT will still be mediocre, and bama is beatable. But it's still an absolutely best case scenario and not a most likely. Their goal should probably be to finish at least 3rd in the West and make a bowl game. You gotta take baby steps. "...baby steps get on the elevator... baby steps get on the elevator... Ah, I'm on the elevator. " They went 4-7 last year and I'm sure they will show improvement, but it's a gradual rise to the top for most teams unless you're suddenly loaded with seniors. Last August I called them a "sleeping giant", that term will probably be more accurate for the 2007 season.