2017 Arkansas Razorbacks Football: Will the Hogs be Contenders or Pretenders?

The college football season is right around the corner and all of the teams are getting ready to start the new year off on the right foot. This includes the 2017 version of Arkansas Razorbacks football. The Razorbacks play in one of the toughest conferences in college football in the SEC and will have to face some of the toughest teams in college football. Will the 2017 Football team be pretenders or contenders?

Arkansas Odds Outlook

According to the college football betting futures on MyBookie.ag, things don’t look good for the Razorbacks. They are not even listed on the odds board when it comes to winning the National Championship. They are projected to win 7 games according to the college football win totals and they are 50 to 1 to win the SEC. There are seven other teams in the SEC that have better odds than Arkansas to win the SEC. The odds makers may not like Arkansas but will they be a surprise team?

Buying Into Brett

Head coach Brett Bielema is known for his charismatic attitude and his ability to put together incredible offensive lines. Unfortunately since coming to Arkansas he has not been known for big winning seasons. Last year the Razorbacks could have easily won a few more games but were the victim of late collapses. The Hogs still believe in the process and Bielema still has support. “Bret is the leader of our program,” Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long told SEC Country during an interview this week at SEC spring meetings.

Watching Allen

The hogs expect big things from quarterback Austin Allen. He was named to the watch list for the 81st Maxwell Award and could put up some big numbers this season. Currently he is not listed on the odds to win the Heisman award, but that could change in an instant. Last year he led the SEC in passing yards and was cool under pressure. This year the Razorbacks have put a huge emphasis on protecting the quarterback and that will lead to a big year for Allen under center.

2017 Arkansas Razorbacks Football: Will the Hogs be Contenders or Pretenders?

2017 Arkansas Razorbacks Football: Will the Hogs be Contenders or Pretenders?

Drawing the Line

The Razorbacks offensive line looks ready to go and they are expecting a big season up front.  Bielema has mentioned how good he feels about the line and they will come into this season with consistency. This is the heartbeat of a team and improvement in running the rock and protecting the quarterback can change the outcome of games that they lost a season ago.

Defense Needs to Deliver

The offense looks good to go, but the Hogs defense will need to improve. As wholehogsports.com points out, this unit was a disaster a year ago. Arkansas finished 76th in the nation in total defense and 85th in scoring defense. Those numbers have to improve. Things will change in the first game of the season as the hogs now employ a 3-4 scheme. The coaches will be different as the Razorbacks replaced defensive coordinator Robb Smith with Paul Rhoads and added new defensive line coach John Scott Jr. and outside linebackers coach Chad Walker. The defense will be the one unit to watch this season.

2017 Arkansas Razorbacks Football Schedule

The schedule for the Razorbacks is brutal. It is never easy when you play in the SEC, but the Razorbacks got hit hard. The toughest teams they play this season include Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss. All of those games will be played on the road. Alabama is once again predicted to be the best team in the SEC and although the Hogs are capable of pulling off an upset, it is highly unlikely.

2017 Arkansas Razorbacks Football Predictions

Arkansas is still not ready to compete for the SEC crown. They will improve on defense and at times look unstoppable on offense. However the schedule does not set up well for Arkansas. The NCAA Football win totals that are posted at online sportsbooks for every team show that the Hogs are expected to win 7 games this season. The Hogs should eclipse that number, but it will be close. Look for the Hogs to get eight wins on the season.

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