The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Monday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 20 is Arkansas.
By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
Bobby Petrino's third year at Louisville saw the Cardinals rack up more than 60 points in three of their first four wins in 2005. Quarterback Brian Brohm led one of the nation's most explosive offenses en route to a 9-3 record in the Derby City.
Petrino now begins his third season in Fayetteville, and he'll have another stud signalcaller in Ryan Mallett, back for his junior season, as well as a friendlier schedule than last year's ledger that included road games at Florida, Alabama, and LSU.
In 2010 the SEC schedule knocks Florida out of the rotation and will send both Alabama and LSU to Arkansas. The Tigers will be very beatable in the annual Battle for the Golden Boot on Nov. 27.
Mallett will enjoy great depth at the skill positions around him, with four strong wideouts returning from last year's best-ever passing attack. Although there's no star feature back in the mix, four steady ballcarriers will handle the rushing load.
Skeptics will point to last year's weak defense, and that certainly will be Arkansas' Achilles' heel again this year, but Louisville won five games in 2005 when it allowed 20 points or more. It wouldn't be ridiculous to see Arkansas yield plenty of points in victories in 2010. The Razorbacks will simply outslug some of their opponents. Arkansas does have some decent run-stoppers returning, but its pass defense will be a large concern.
Who's back? QB Ryan Mallett, WR Greg Childs, WR Jarius Wright, WR Joe Adams, RB Broderick Green, DE Jake Bequette
Who's gone? OG Mitch Petrus
Why it'll win: The offense will dominate teams, even in many of its SEC games.
Why it'll lose: If the defense doesn't improve upon last year's SEC-worst unit.
Get your tickets: vs. Alabama (Sept. 25), at Auburn (Oct. 16), vs. LSU (Nov. 27)
Prediction: 9-3 (5-3, third place SEC West)