Big Ten Opponent Gets Biggest Share of Votes from Pundits Predicting Arkansas’ Bowl Game Future

Experts see Hogs bowling in Nashville but there is a path to Gatorville

Sam Pittman, Arkansas football, Arkansas bowl game
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

Well, Hogs fans, the national media has undersold your team … again. It’s nothing new. You’re used to it by now. As we count the days down to kickoff of the Arkansas football season, the consensus of the major sites that make bowl projections is that the Razorbacks will head to the Music City Bowl to take on a Maryland Terrapins squad for the first time in program history.

Sure, there is a little intrigue from Dan Enos’ Maryland tie, but this is definitely not the kind of Big Ten opponent that moves the needle. Maryland football is like the Kansas of the Big Ten.

So, it seems like the pundits largely see the Hogs repeating last year – going 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC or something similar. The Music City Bowl isn’t the bottom of the pecking order of SEC bowls (it’s ahead of the Liberty Bowl, which Arkansas won this past winter), but it’s close. And while Nashville, Tenn., is a nice city, Arkansans aren’t going to get too excited with that trip.

A More Optimistic Projection

But, I’m here to give you hope. I’m going to go out on a limb and put a couple quarters in Sam Pittman’s jukebox banking on two things. One, that this season Arkansas breezes though non-conference games with blowouts (no Missouri State nail-biting like last year), and Pittman will pull off a win in the SEC that most don’t expect. That almost happened in 2021 at Alabama. 

I don’t think I know any more than what the pundits know (or maybe I do), but I’m projecting a 9-3 record overall and 5-3 in the SEC and a trip to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. 

Here is how I come to that number. Arkansas will lose the SEC opener at LSU, who I think will challenge for the SEC West crown, but then beat Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the second time in three years. I’m very certain that by that point, Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher and offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino, the former Hogs head coach, will be at each other’s throats and will start the ship to sinking.

That also fits the bill of winning a game most don’t expect barring something stunning happening between the two coaches before Arkansas plays them that spooks the experts. 

The next week, Arkansas rides the momentum to a road win at Ole Miss – probably another game for which they won’t be picked to win. I like the Hogs after beating Lane Kiffin and the Rebels last season and Mississippi native KJ Jefferson showing out at QB for Arkansas. 

Arkansas will play Bama tough again on Oct. 14, but won’t be able to shake off bad officiating again. However, they will rebound to roll to a five-game winning streak to finish off the season including a home game the next week against Mississippi State.

A November to Remember for Arkansas Football

The November to remember begins with a road win over Florida and a home victory the next week against Auburn. The Tigers might scare Arkansas (remember the Liberty loss last season), but new coach Hugh Freeze doesn’t have talent in place yet to do the damage he’ll do next year. For now, Arkansas wins a close one. 

Arkansas beats Florida International for a tune-up to end the season with a home win against Missouri. It is fitting that Pittman gets Arkansas to nine wins against a Missouri team that Arkansas has struggled with. Some tide changes this season with wins over both the troublesome Aggies and Tigers for the second time in three years.

I’m banking on a healthy Jefferson, a more talented receiving corps and Rocket Sanders to continue his dominance on the ground with new OC Dan Enos pulling the strings better than Kendal Briles did. 

The Hogs’ defense may not be dominant, but it will be better and good enough to get some key stops against the likes of Texas A&M, Auburn and Mizzou. They may be the difference down the stretch in those games. 

The path is there no matter what the pundits say, so don’t book a hotel room in Nashville just yet and look for November to be one of the more exciting runs in a while for the Hogs. 

Arkansas Football Bowl Game Predictions

CBS Sports: Music City Bowl (Arkansas vs Maryland)

Athlon Sports Music City Bowl (Arkansas vs Minnesota)

College Football News: Music City Bowl (Arkansas vs Maryland)

247 Sports: Music City Bowl (Arkansas vs. Maryland)

Sporting News: Arkansas not bowl eligible 

Hatch rankings: Arkansas not bowl eligible 


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