2018 SEASON PREVIEW/PREDICTION:
Looking at the schedule for Coach Morris and the Hogs, fans notice right off the bat that the degree of difficulty is down a notch compared to season’s past. The question is how many wins will this easier than usual schedule lead to? My answer is FIVE, and here’s why:
- Instability at the QB position
- Defensive worries
- First year Head Coach
Cole Kelley and Ty Storey seem to be the front runners for the QB job. With his little experience, expect Cole to be the guy to start week one, but don’t be surprised if Ty is the starter by the end of the year. My biggest issue with Cole is in a fast-paced offense, he is not the ideal guy you want under center. His physique is better suited for a Bret Bielema type system. Being a true freshman in the SEC last year he certainly held his own, so there is a chance he makes a big jump to his sophomore year. My second reason the Hogs are on track for five wins lies on the defense, specifically the constant failure to stop the run. I do believe they will improve upon their brutal numbers from last year (13/14 in YPG/SEC), but don’t expect drastic changes in year one from The Chief. The pieces are there, but molding them together and utilizing each player’s strengths are the key. My third point is head coaches typically don’t make a bowl game in their first year, especially ones that are thrown into the toughest division in football. According to Andrew Hutchinson of Hawg Beat, “FBS coaches inheriting a program that failed to reach bowl eligibility the year before have won six games only 31.2 percent of the time.” I would even give Arkansas a 31.2 percent chance to go bowling this winter. Keep in mind, Bobby Petrino only won five games in his first year in Fayetteville. Just like Petrino, Bear Bryant was held to five wins in his debut year at Tuscaloosa. It is important to remember that year one does not determine future success.
I’ve broken the Hogs 12 opponents into four categories.
Definite WIN: Eastern Illinois, North Texas, Tulsa
Probable WIN: @Colorado State, Vandy
Probable LOSS: Texas A&M*, Ole Miss*, LSU, @Mississippi State, @Missouri
Definite LOSS: @Auburn, Alabama
Five wins is not bad at all considering the circumstances the Razorbacks have been put into. A bowl game would be HUGE for the University of Arkansas and the state. I love where this program is headed and I have no doubt that Coach Morris is the best option for this team moving forward. I just scratch my head when people are expecting 8-9 wins this fall. A new coach with a new system on either sides of the ball, combined with a 4 win team from the previous year is no easy chore.
My final prediction: (5-7) (1-7)