Edward Aschoff asks the question that I’ve struggled with more than once in the last two years as a voter in the SEC Power Poll Team Speed Kills hosts: Is Arkansas overrated?
The Hogs proved better last year than I thought they’d be, no question about it. They get both LSU and Alabama at home this season, which can’t hurt (they split those two games in 2010). Aschoff thinks they deserve their top ten ranking, but I’m not so sure. As good as a lot of the skill position talent is on offense, there are question marks on both lines. And as for the new defensive coordinator “bringing a more aggressive style to Fayetteville”, isn’t that what they say about all new DCs? Besides, a lack of aggressiveness wasn’t really Willy Robinson’s big problem last year.
The biggest question, of course, is how they adjust to Bobby Petrino’s departure. That Petrino was able to grab big time head coaching jobs in spite of the massive amount of personal baggage he toted with him should be seen as a tribute to his coaching ability. He was as good a playcaller in college football last season as there was. Maybe there’s enough talent on the staff to make up for him no longer being there, but that’s something we’ll have to wait and see.
The schedule’s favorable, with only four true road games, a non-conference slate with Rutgers as the toughest opponent and Kentucky as the other draw from the East. Eight wins seem to be the floor. Can Arkansas split the four remaining games with Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M? That’s what the Hogs will need to do to finish in the top ten. Stay tuned.