The college football season is on the horizon and teams are gearing up for the 2011 campaign. The Arkansas Razorbacks are projected to be one of the top 25 teams in the country and compete with the best teams in the country.
For that to happen, the Razorbacks will have to click on all cylinders and if something were to go wrong, the season could be in jeopardy.
Here are 10 potential worst case scenarios for 2011.
The biggest concern for the Razorbacks is replacing Ryan Mallett under center. The heir apparent is Tyler Wilson.
Wilson has looked good in practices and in limited playing time, but if he does not perform it could equal a long season for Arkansas. If Wilson is not able to get the job done, the entire offense could struggle and that could make for a long year.
The quarterback position is important, but the offensive line is being overlooked heading into the 2011 season.
Head coach Bobby Petrino is attempting to rebuild an offensive line, and true freshman Brey Cook may start the season up front.
If this line does not learn to play with each other, the weapons on the Arkansas offense would be rendered useless.
Dennis Johnson was lost for the majority of last season with a devastating injury. He returns to the field this year, and the Razorbacks will need him if they want to contend for the SEC Championship.
Although the Hogs have a stable of productive backs, Johnson is a leader on the field and an important cog on special teams.
The worst-case scenario for 2011 is that Johnson does not return to form on the football field.
Injuries are impossible to predict.
One bad break could end the year for a key player and essentially bring the team down with it. Fortunately for Arkansas, they are deep in many of the key positions, but it will be bad news for the Hogs if they are bitten by the injury bug this year.
The Razorbacks need to compete on defense if they want to play in the SEC. The SEC is too talented on both sides of the ball, and teams need to play defense to compete.
Arkansas ranked 10th in the SEC in rushing defense and if that does not improve, the Razorbacks could be in real trouble.
Football is about talent and luck.
The Razorbacks have the talent, but will need to get some luck. Last year if the ball had bounced their way on a blocked punt, the Razorbacks may have won the Sugar Bowl.
This year the Razorbacks will need some luck to get some tough wins. Worst case scenario is that lady luck sits on the opposing sidelines all season long.
When it comes to special teams, the worst-case scenario for the Razorbacks would be a repeat of 2010. The Razorbacks were ranked dead last in the SEC in kickoff returns.
This is a very important aspect of the game since it affects field position. The Razorbacks need an improvement in this area or the Hogs could be playing on their side of the field for the majority of the season.
The Razorbacks do not have an easy schedule this year, and things could get hectic on the road. The road games in the SEC could present a serious road block.
Alabama and LSU are two of the toughest places to play in the country, and loses at both venues could eliminate the Hogs from any chance at the SEC west.
The let-down game is when a team looks past an opponent after a big game, or leading up to a huge matchup.
The Razorbacks have a few landmines on the schedule that could explode and ruin their season. Arkansas cannot overlook a game at Vanderbilt with LSU looming on deck. Regardless of the record, SEC teams play tough at home, and the Commodores could surprise if the Razorbacks don’t take them seriously.
Another let-down game could turn into another worst-case scenario for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks will not look past a powerhouse like Texas A&M, but this game has the potential to be a nightmare.
The Razorbacks will be fresh off a game against Alabama and will most likely be emotionally drained. The following week the Razorbacks will host Auburn in a revenge game, and that could open the door for a brutal loss to the Aggies.
If all of these things happen the Arkansas Razorbacks will have a difficult 2011 campaign. Luckily, it is very unlikely that all of these things will occur.
The Razorbacks are deep in talent and ready to avoid the pitfalls that have haunted them in the past. If the Hogs can avoid these problems they could be sitting on top of the college football world at the end of the season.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist. Feel free to contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org.