Arkansas Football: Razorbacks Don't Deserve to Be Ranked in Top 25

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 10, 2012

Raise your hand if you expected one of the two teams in this weekend's showdown between Arkansas and Alabama to be unranked at game time.

Put your hand you didn't.

Regardless, that's the situation Arkansas finds itself in after Saturday night's 34-31 overtime debacle in Little Rock against Louisiana-Monroe.

The Hogs are ranked No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll but find themselves unranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

So which service is right? Does Arkansas deserve to be ranked?

After blowing a 28-7 third-quarter lead, of course it doesn't.

Not until that defense proves it can play at an FBS level.

New defensive coordinator Paul Haynes was supposed to be the cure for the Willy Robinson blues, but so far in 2012, his defense has allowed Jacksonville State and ULM to combine for 872 yards in Arkansas' first two games.

That won't cut it.

A lot of the focus following Arkansas' loss will go to the lack of running plays called after quarterback Tyler Wilson was knocked out of the game. Those are valid criticisms, but Wilson's injury and Arkansas' inability to slow down Warhawk quarterback Kolton Browning were the primary reasons the Hogs lost this one.

Having said that, Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino's play-calling certainly didn't help.

Since ULM was a 30.5-point underdog and Arkansas still hasn't solved its biggest problem from last season (defense), it doesn't deserve to be ranked in the Top 25 right now.

That's not to say that the Hogs aren't a Top 25 team in reality.

Any time you lose your quarterback during a game, the entire game plan has to be adjusted on the fly. Plus, Arkansas gets a chance this weekend to make its case against No. 1 Alabama.

Early-season rankings, at least in theory, should be fluid. Arkansas hasn't looked like a Top 25 team in 2012.

This squad will get a chance to change that on one of the biggest stages of the weekend this Saturday vs. the Crimson Tide.