Razorbacks 2020 Week One Preview
After a horrid 2-10 (0-8 conference play) ending to the 2019 football season, the Arkansas Razorbacks will start their new season against the number four ranked Georgia Bulldogs at home.
So far, Razorback fans are excited about the start of the season on the 26th of September. However, I do feel that some Hogs fans will immediately shut it down after this game. That’s just how they are. But I think it will take time. The Razorbacks are not supposed to beat the number four ranked team in the nation. The Hogs will be facing an extremely disciplined offensive team. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Arkansas has an 8.9 percent chance to win this game. If they want to beat those odds, they will have to do a couple of things right from the kick-off.
Felipe Franks will need to play at a starting QB level.
In the past few years, the Hogs have had some trouble at the quarterback position. Having five players at the position last year, and all five getting some playing time. Coming into the season, we have heard praise from new head coach Sam Pittman saying Felipe has “really come Into his own as a leader.”
Felipe Franks started 13 games at Florida in 2018, and four games before he was injured last year. Felipe Franks has something that the past ten quarterbacks at Arkansas don’t, and that’s being a winner. In 27 career games, Franks has won 17. Bringing a winning mentality quarterback like Franks to this team is huge. We will see an immediate change in how an offense is run from what it looked like last year. If it does not, don’t be upset. The Razorbacks have not had much time to prepare for Georgia. If Arkansas comes out and scores at least 14 points, I think it will be a testament to the quarterback, who has played in high level games his whole college career.
The Offensive Line will be much better, but Georgia’s Defense May shut it down.
Sam Pittman is known for having great offensive lines over the years. He had a great line when he was here at Arkansas for his first stint as the offensive line coach. Then going to Georgia and consistently producing NFL talent lineman. Last year the line was terrible, and Rakeem Boyd still had 1,133 rushing yards along with eight touchdowns. This year the yard’s number might not be as high because the Hogs aren’t playing as many games. I feel that Boyd’s yards per carry will be higher than last year (6.2). I also believe Franks will have more time to get the ball out to his stud receivers in Trey Knox and Treylon Burks. This line isn’t going to be the best that Hog fans have ever seen, but it will be an improvement over last year. If the offense comes out looking bad, don’t panic Hog fans. The opposing defense is outstanding.
The Razorback Defense WILL be improved.
The last three years of Arkansas football have been terrible defensively, and that’s putting it kindly. In 2019, Arkansas finished 14th (last) in the SEC and 124th overall in team defense. The Hogs allowed 37 points per game, along with nearly 500 total yards to their opponents. It’s safe to say, and they have been awful the last few years on the defensive side of the ball. New Defensive Coordinator Barry Odom may have something to say about that. Barry Odom was formerly a head coach at Missouri, where they were the 5th best defense in the SEC last year, and 15th overall. Missouri only allowed 19 points per game last year, which isn’t bad at all. I believe Barry Odom will bring a strong defensive mindset to this team. Hog fans don’t expect the defense to start creating havoc and turnovers immediately, but as the season goes on, there will be a significant improvement from the last few years.
Please, Razorbacks fans, do not raise your expectations for this year. The Razorbacks are noted as having one of the most rigid schedules in college football history. The Hogs that we all love will not be very good, although they will compete. This team will fight, unlike teams we have seen in the past. I think we will gradually see improvement as the season goes on. Now for predictions, and this is the challenging part.
Let’s start with week one. I believe the Razorbacks will lose to Georgia on Saturday. Georgia is ranked very high coming into this season for a reason. They had one of the best defenses last year and are returning quite a few players. I think Georgia wins this game 35-17.
As for the whole season, I am optimistic the Razorbacks will win two games. In my opinion, Arkansas will beat Ole Miss in week four, and Missouri in the last game. As fans, this team has to be a bright spot, considering they didn’t win a single conference game last year. So, with that being said, hang with the Hogs. It won’t be a fantastic year, but it will be more fun than the last two.