Bobby Petrino has turned the Arkansas Razorbacks into contenders in the SEC. Every year, the offense is the at the top of the league, and Arkansas has finished near the top every year. The Razorbacks recently went to the Sugar Bowl in 2010 where they faced Ohio State, and they defeated Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl last year.
Although that is great success in the SEC, Arkansas fans are dying for their team overcome Alabama and LSU so they can have another shot at a BCS game and maybe the BCS title game. With the offense Petrino puts on the field they can compete with any team, but to win the big games the defense will have to step up.
Here are my three reasons Arkansas will make it back to a BCS Bowl Game:
New Defensive Coordinator
The Razorbacks need their defense to step up if they want to be considered elite in the SEC. You can not win if you do not have a defense. Auburn had a mediocre defense in 2010, but they always flexed their muscles in the fourth quarter and came up clutch.
That is what I think new defensive coordinator Paul Haynes will bring to the table. Haynes helped with the defense at Ohio State for the last seven seasons, and the Buckeyes have had some pretty good defenses during that time period. Haynes called plays for Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl and they held Kansas State to 14 points and 260 yards.
There is no doubt Haynes will take this defense to the next level, and that is exactly what the Razorbacks need.
Balance on Offense
Tyler Wilson will be one of the best quarterbacks next year, and Knile Davis is returning from a severe ankle injury. Wilson will have Chris Gragg and Cobi Hamilton to throw to, and he will also turn around and hand the ball off to Davis, Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo Jr.
Defense are going to have tough task of stopping Wilson and then having to stop Davis. People forget that Davis was the SEC rushing leader in 2010, so this offense will be one of the best in the nation.
Just Take One from Alabama or LSU
Alabama and LSU are Arkansas' toughest opponents each year. Since the SEC has made a habit of sending a team to the title game, the second-place team usually gets an invite to the Sugar Bowl.
Arkansas will be the favorite in every game of the year except for games against Alabama and LSU. However, they get both of those teams at home this year. If Arkansas can pull out a victory against one of those teams, then they will be in the driver's seat to go to a BCS game.
Alabama lost a lot of talent, but Nick Saban has enough talent on that team, so it will be a very good game. LSU lost their quarterback and many key stars, and Arkansas always plays LSU tough at home. So Arkansas has a good chance of pulling off a victory against one of these teams.
This is the best chance for Arkansas to make a push for the BCS, because they are losing many seniors next year, including Wilson and Davis. They will need to step up in the big games, but I am sure Petrino will have this team ready.