A More Sane 2024 Arkansas Football Schedule Means Only One Thing as Far as Expectations Go

Arkansas football, 2024 schedule
photo credit: Nick Wenger / Arkansas Athletics

BREAKING: Irrefutable evidence has proven that God not only exists, but it turns out she’s from Arkansas.

Mark it down. For the first time in SEC history, conference decision-makers did NOT shove a red-hot poker up the backside of Big Red. The Hogs will not play Georgia and they won’t play Alabama. For the first time in recent memory, someone other than Arkansas will have the toughest schedule in college football.

It’s just silly to predict the outcome of games two years out, but to be clear, if the Hogs find a way to barely get bowl eligible in 2024, fans will be calling for Sam Pittman’s head.  

However, the first thing to know is that the non-conference schedule still stands the same. It includes three rent-a-wins and Oklahoma State. If the Hogs win in Stillwater, they’ll be two games away from bowl eligibility.

Let’s break it down.

The Lone Neutral Site SEC Game

No dates were provided by the SEC, so we’ll start with Texas A&M because that game normally kicks off the SEC slate and, mercifully, the Arlington element of this series appears to be going away.

The Hogs have lost this one so many times it leaves many wondering one thing: Who in the athletic department has been acting like an Aggie and refusing to disrupt this snake-bitten series by not breaking the contract?

The most interesting thing to watch between now and then is whether Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Petrino will come to blows and who will have thrown the first punch.

SEC Road Games for Arkansas Football in 2024

The Hogs always play Auburn and it’s always a crapshoot, but it’s always better to play Auburn than that other school in Alabama. It’s impossible to know whether Hugh Freeze, free from the moral constraints of Liberty University, will revert to his old, ethically questionable ways and still be the coach. He’s a good coach, but the pressure’s on for him. The question is whether he’ll crack before then.

The Hogs play Mississippi State in Starkville and that’s never fun because even though the Hogs have had a fairly good run of winning there, last year’s slaughter aside, Starkville is……well…..Starkville. Mike Leach was always a question mark for the Hogs before his sad passing at the end of last season. Whether they can recover from the loss of his brilliance is as big of a mystery to college football as Big Foot’s existence was to Leach himself

Moving on to Missouri, let’s get one thing straight, and this is important, so internalize it:  Nobody gives a rat’s ass about this game. Yes, there’s a trophy involved and only one team gets to take it home, but Arkansas simply doesn’t care about this manufactured rivalry.

Granted, there’s no good reason for losing to them. Like Donald Trump for some and Joe Biden for others, most Arkansas football fans wish this one would just go away. They can’t hold a candle to the Hogs in any way except that they beat us ALL…THE…TIME. Sadly, this game is not going away, so it’s time to start caring.    

SEC Home Games for Arkansas Football in 2024

Scheduling Texas made so much sense that even the SEC couldn’t screw it up. Look for the Hogs and Horns to play every year when the real schedule comes out, assuming it’s a nine-game format.

This is an important David vs. Goliath matchup for Arkansas football fans and lately David’s been getting his way. The Hogs have won the last two meetings and four of the last six.  

Plus, my son, a new Arkansas grad, is moving to Dallas. He needs to be able to rub this win into the faces of his Texas friends. No doubt, said boasting was a strong factor in the SEC’s decision-making.

At one point, the Ole Miss rivalry was as big as Texas. It was so big that their booger-eating refs called a bad field goal “good” and the Hogs vowed to never play them again. That was in the 1960s and today’s technology won’t allow that to happen again. However, technology still has a difficult time deciphering penalties like “unsportsmanlike cramping.”

But, a lot of our friends have kids who inexplicably lower themselves to go there for their – ahem – education, and this will be a good opportunity for parents to punish their kids for treason. However, the main reason this makes sense is that the Hogs have won 14 of their last 23 games against the Rebels.

Even though the Hogs and Vols of Tennessee should come out of their respective hills and play in Memphis every year, this will be great for Hog fans. Are the Vols truly on the rebound, or did they just have a phenomenal quarterback last year? Time will tell and we’ll know the answer to that in 2024, if not before.

The bigger question is whether special toothbrushes will be sold on Dickson Street designed to accommodate just one tooth.

Finally, it wouldn’t seem right to play a football season without LSU slithering out of the bayou and up to the Hill. So 2024 will feel normal…except that the always talented and usually under-achieving Bayou Bengals arguably have the best coach they’ve had since Nick Saban left.

While Hog fans are right to fear an arse whoopin’ in this game in what will be Brian Kelly’s third year, they should also remember that they’ve sent overrated Tiger teams back to Cajun country with their tails between their legs on more than a few occasions.

Yes, after years of injustice dispensed from the offices of the SEC, the Hogs will open the season with a fighting chance to do something more than get pummeled by teams who could hold their own against some NFL teams. Nobody’s talking about the national championship, but without Georgia and Alabama on the schedule, Arkansas football has every opportunity to play the last game of the 2024 season in 2025. 

It’s great news for Hog fans, but this less-insane-than-normal schedule puts big pressure on Sam Pittman. If he can’t do big things with the most favorable SEC schedule in years, maybe he can’t do it. However, if he can make hay while the sun’s shining, he’ll be as secure as any SEC football coach can be in the 21st century.


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