2013 Results: 3-9 overall 0-8 in the SEC; no bowl berth
2013 Highlight: Proven winner Bret Beilema took over a fledgling program.
2013 Lowlight: Winless in the SEC and 9 straight losses to end the season.
2014 Outlook: Coach Beilema enters season number two knowing full well what the rigors of the SEC are like. He must find a way to get a conference win this season and get the Hogs to a bowl game. It won’t be easy though as his team will face a very difficult schedule. Of the 8 conference opponents the Hogs face this season, 7 of them are ranked in the AP Preseason Poll (Mississippi St. is the only exception). It should be tough sledding for the Razorbacks.
Biggest Issue to Solve: Quarterback. You wouldn’t think a team with a second year starter wouldn’t have questions at the QB spot, however, Brandon Allen leaves much to be desired when it come to his play. Allen completed just 49% of his passes in the 11 games in which he played and accounted for just 13 passing TDs while throwing 11 INTs. Beilema has indicated that Allen is “much improved” not just from last season, but from the spring game as well. If the Hogs want to compete Allen must play better.
Key Players: QB Brandon Allen, RB Johnathan Williams, RB Alex Collins, TE Hunter Henry, S Alan Turner and DE Trey Flowers.
Most Important Game: (tie) @Auburn Aug. 30th and vs. Texas A&M Sept. 27th in Arlington, TX. If the Hogs can somehow upset the Tigers, that could send their season into a completely different trajectory. They have defeated the Aggies 3 straight times in Jerry World from 2009-2011. This year’s game gives them a legit shot at getting the first conference win of the Bielema era.
Media Prediction (SEC finish): 7th SEC West
My Prediction (SEC finish): 5th SEC West (3-5)
My Overall Record Prediction: 6-6
Why?: I truly believe Bret Bielema is a good coach, although I don’t always think his tactics/antics are the best. His first year in the SEC had to have been a culture shock. I expect the team to show some marginal improvements this year and win a few league games. They have some good talent on offense that should be much improved by the end of the season. I don’t expect Brando Allen to finish the season as the starting quarterback.