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Scott Loftis

From the Editor

Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

Hogs’ SEC skid likely to continue

Friday, August 28, 2020

I’m skeptical about a lot of things as high school and college teams prepare to kick off the 2020 football season.

I’m skeptical about the chances for a complete season at either level. Don’t misconstrue that: I hope that both the high school and college seasons go off without a hitch, but I believe the odds are strongly against that.

I’m skeptical, too, that if there is a “full” college football season, the Arkansas Razorbacks will find a way to snap their 19-game Southeastern Conference losing streak.

Of course, all of the Razorbacks’ games this fall will be conference games, since all the nonconference games were canceled and the schedule was reworked because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arkansas always faces a rugged schedule every year in the SEC West with opponents like Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The 2020 lineup only got more difficult when the SEC added Georgia and Florida to the Hogs’ list of opponents.

Both of those games, of course, will have interesting storylines. First-year Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is fresh from a four-year stint coaching the offensive line at Georgia, and senior quarterback Feleipe Franks is a transfer from Florida.

Pittman might eventually be a successful coach at Arkansas, but his Hogs won’t beat Georgia this season. Likewise, Franks may prove to be a productive quarterback, but he won’t be productive enough to lead Arkansas to a win on Florida’s home field.

The Razorbacks’ best chances to win a game this fall, in my estimation, are against Ole Miss and Missouri. Ole Miss is scheduled to visit Razorback Stadium on Oct. 17, and Arkansas is scheduled to visit Missouri on Nov. 28.

Ole Miss has averaged just five wins a season over the past four years, but the Rebels have beaten Arkansas each of the past two seasons and could be much improved offensively under new head coach Lane Kiffin.

Missouri has a four-game winning streak against the Razorbacks. The Tigers also have a new head coach this season in Eli Drinkwitz. This may be the most winnable game on Arkansas’ schedule.

Moving on from Chad Morris was the right move for Arkansas’ football program, and Pittman’s former players all sing his praises. He coached Arkansas’ offensive lines under Bret Bielema, and he seems committed to bringing in bigger, stronger linemen. You can’t win in the SEC without that kind of size and strength up front, and Pittman might eventually make Arkansas a competitive SEC team.

Just don’t expect it to happen this year.