Can Arkansas return to a double-digit win season for the first time since 2011? Or will Sam Pittman’s team continue to be overshadowed in the SEC?
Last season, the Razorbacks’ 9-4 season was overshadowed by another rematch with Georgia and Alabama, the collapse of LSU and so much more. Head coach Sam Pittman has this program going in the right direction. Three of their four total losses in 2021 were to Ole Miss, Alabama, and Georgia, which is respectable in any way you look at it.
Pittman now has the task of finding production without Treylon Burks catching passes. However, KJ Jefferson is a bonafide superstar for the Razorbacks. Pittman managed to bring in Jadon Haselwood from OU to try and replace Burks’s production at wide receiver. However, the Arkansas offense works best when their offensive line is able to control the game and bash away. The Arkansas rushing attack was the best part of their offense when they got into open space.
The Razorbacks have a tough non-conference schedule and they play in the SEC West. Pittman’s squad is going to be good but they have to win those tough games to prove they are legit. With so many chances to prove themselves, I see the potential for this team to make some noise in the SEC West in 2022. That being said, let’s check out the Arkansas Razorbacks 2022 schedule.
Week One, Home Game vs Cincinnati
I am baffled by the Razorback’s non-conference schedule for 2022. Opening the year against Cincy is a tough draw. However, the Bearcats do not have Desmond Ridder, Sauce Gardener, or Jerome Ford. But this is also not going to be a “rebuild year” for the Bearcats either. They come in ranked 23rd in the country in preseason rankings compared to Arkansas at number 19. Cincinnati will give Arkansas fits to start the year, but I think Pittman and the Razorbacks pick up a huge win and show that they’re for real with a win over the Group of Five’s best team.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 34, Cincinnati 27
Week Two, Home Game vs South Carolina
The Razorbacks then get to open conference play in week two but it is against an SEC East opponent in South Carolina. We will get a KJ Jefferson versus Spencer Rattler matchup and I have this game circled to watch for sure. While the Gamecocks won’t be blown out by any means, the Arkansas offense will be too dynamic for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks aren’t as talented as the Razorbacks on the line of scrimmage offensively and will not be able to move the football on the ground to counter Barry Odom’s defensive scheme.
Week Three, Home Game vs Missouri State
Non-conference play will be back in week three with Missouri State coming to town. There is no reason to waste your time here, KJ Jefferson and the starters will be done by halftime. After a four or five touchdown lead, the starters will need their rest with a neutral site game against A&M looming in week four. Look for Jefferson to put up video game numbers and lead the Razorbacks to a blowout win.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 48, Missouri State 7
Week Four, Neutral Site vs Texas A&M
Here is where the Arkansas schedule gets a bit more difficult, first up is a neutral site game at AT&T Stadium against Texas A&M. Last year the Razorbacks pulled off a huge shocker winning 20-10. The 2022 version of this annual game at AT&T will be yet another thriller.
However, Jimbo Fisher has assembled probably his best team to date. A&M is primed for an SEC title run and maybe even a national title run. That is bad news for Arkansas but the Razorbacks will make this game competitive but ultimately fall short. Give me the Aggies to win a close one and give the Razorbacks their first loss.
Score Prediction: Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 24
Week Five, Home Game vs Alabama
The tough stretch gets worse as the Razorbacks return home to host Alabama in week five. The Razorbacks made this a close one last year and that was against an Alabama roster better than this year’s roster. The Razorbacks will defend their home field well and hang around until the very end. This is an upset watch game but I think Bryce Young gets it done and proves why he is worthy of a second Heisman trophy for the Crimson Tide.
Week Six, Away Game vs Mississippi State
Pittman and company then head back on the road in week six for a matchup with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The key here will be the Razorback defense stepping up and containing Will Rogers and the Bulldog’s passing attack. This will be another game on KJ Jeffersons NFL scouting resume that will help him move up those draft boards. This will be a gritty and ugly game where it comes down to who controls the ball last. Give me the Razorbacks to win this close one and get back in the win column.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 35, Mississippi State 31
Arkansas vs Mississippi State (USA Today)
Week Seven, Away Game vs BYU
Remember that weird non-conference schedule I mentioned earlier? Arkansas gets to visit BYU in week seven for a mid-season non-conference clash. BYU is joining the Big 12 next season so they will want to make one last splash as an independent school. BYU will likely enter this game ranked in the top 25 and coming off a loss to Notre Dame the week before. A beaten-up BYU team is the best thing for Arkansas to have in week seven. I think the Razorbacks win this game by a couple of touchdowns and show why SEC teams are better than future Big 12 schools.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 38, BYU 24
Week Eight, Away Game vs Auburn
The road trip continues in week eight with a matchup against Auburn. Bo Nix and company made Arkansas look bad on their home turf last year upsetting the Razorbacks 38-23. Fast forward to now, Bo Nix and many more are no longer with the program after transferring out. The 2022 Auburn Tigers are going to have a rough season. That being said, Sam Pittman will want his revenge and they will do just that in week eight. Give me Arkansas by a late touchdown and field goal in this one.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 31, Auburn 21
Week Nine, Home Game vs Liberty
The final non-conference game of the 2022 season does not come until week nine for Arkansas. This is a Liberty team coming off an 8-5 season in 2021 and a 26-11 record since 2019. However, they no longer have Malik Willis at quarterback thanks to the NFL Draft. I think Liberty will make this an uncomfortable game until about the third quarter. In the end, KJ Jefferson and Ketron Jackson will have career days and lead the Razorbacks to a win.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 34, Liberty 14
Week Ten, Home Game vs LSU
Conference play begins again in week ten with LSU coming to town. LSU has a new look now that Brian Kelly is the head coach. Kelly’s first big move was bringing in Jayden Daniels via the transfer portal to play quarterback. LSU might not be at the Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase level but they will be catching their stride by week ten. Arkansas cannot step off the gas late in the year but LSU is going to be far better than last year even with this game being in Fayetteville. But I have a weird amount of faith in the Razorbacks to defeat the Tigers and continue their win streak.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 38, LSU 31
Week Eleven, Home Game vs Ole Miss
The final big test of the 2022 season is a home game against the Rebels of Ole Miss. The Razorbacks and Rebels are similar because they lost a few of their big-impact players. However, the Razorbacks defend their home turf well especially if this game is the one that decides their fate in the postseason. As bad as I want to pick Ole Miss, I like Arkansas to defend their home turf here. This will be a close one that breaks Ole Miss’s heart but boosts Arkansas to their sixth consecutive win.
Week Twelve, Away Game vs Missouri
The final game of the 2022 season is one final road trip to Columbia MO to take on Mizzou. The last time these two met up in Columbia it was a shootout for the ages with Mizzou winning 50-47. In last year’s game in Fayetteville, Arkansas dominated winning 34-17. At this point, the Razorbacks will be so battle-tested that nothing stops them in this game. Give me the Razorbacks to win this one comfortably and retain the Battle Line trophy once again.
Final Record For Arkansas Football In 2022-23: 10-2 (6-2)
Call me crazy but I think Pittman has found the perfect recipe for getting the program’s first double-digit win season since 2011. The craziest part about a ten-win season for Arkansas? It still won’t be enough in the SEC West. The harsh reality of this conference is you can have one of the most productive seasons in recent memory and it means nothing if three teams in your conference go undefeated or lose one game. The Razorbacks will get a solid bowl game and put their name on the map in the SEC West in 2022 but no CFP appearance or national title runs just yet.
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