2009 SEC Predictions: Arkansas Razorbacks

Jesse MitchellCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 2:  A male fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks on wearing face paint and a hog hat during the game against the University of Southern California Trojans on September 2, 2006 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Southern California won 50-14.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

And now to continue our run down of the SEC. Sorry I missed posting yesterday, but had an unforeseen issue to deal with. Thanks for all who are following this series and for all the comments and feedback you have given.I read every one and consider all of your suggestions.

Just please try to remember I cannot pick every team as the winner, and am trying to be honest and unbiased in this. It is not a slight to your team if I pick them to lose a game.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, let's get down to business.

After coming out of a difficult and easy to forget season, Bobby Petrino hopes to have his team ready to compete in the most difficult conference to compete in in the country. But they will have their work cut out for them with one of the most difficult schedules I have seen in any conference.

The Razorbacks have to play at Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and LSU, and also face Texas A&M in Dallas. Missouri State and Eastern Michigan are not pushovers either, and Troy is returning a great team that nearly beat Florida and LSU last year.

In their favor, they have a top-ranked running back corps and a whole slew of potential playmakers on both offense and defense.

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The key to Arkansas winning will be how they answer this question: Can the offensive line that allowed 46 sacks last year step up and protect the quarterback? They looked to be much improved in the spring, but how will they hold up in a grueling schedule?

Key games to win in order to go bowling are Troy, Texas A&M, and Auburn. If they can win those three games, the Hogs will go 6-6 and return to the bowl scene. If not, it will be another dismal year.

I see the Razorbacks pulling out wins over Missouri State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Eastern Michigan, Troy and Mississippi State, with close games ending in losses from Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU, and a trouncing at both Florida and South Carolina.

Scoff if you want, but Arkansas will lay down for no team. They played all of their games close last year, and now that the coaching staff has settled in, they should go over the top and make it to a bowl.

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