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Arkansas' Schedule Could Be Worse // SEC 2011

Knile Davis and Arkansas have a relatively manageable schedule for an SEC West team.
Knile Davis and Arkansas have a relatively manageable schedule for an SEC West team.

This is an overview. Predictions come later. Home games in CAPS.

SEPTEMBER

9/3: MISSOURI STATE

9/10: NEW MEXICO

9/17: TROY

9/24: at Alabama

Arkansas is doing its bakery raids differently than most other SEC schools this year by lining them all up in September and not saving any for November. The Razorbacks truly ease their way into the season too. They begin with a mediocre I-AA team, followed by a bad I-A team, followed by a mediocre I-A team. The degree of difficulty spikes in the fourth week though, with a trip to Tuscaloosa. The Pigs had the Tide on the ropes last year in Fayetteville, but a series of unfortunate fourth quarter events interceptions allowed Bama to escape with a win. It will be a tougher task to win on the road this coming season, obviously, but at least Tyler Wilson's one stint of extended action also came on the road.

OCTOBER

10/1: vs. Texas A&M

10/8: AUBURN

10/15: BYE

10/22: at Ole Miss

10/29: at Vanderbilt

At last, we have a team that really can't complain about its October slate. The game against A&M at Jerryworld in Arlington won't be an easy one, as the Aggies are a trendy team this fall. Auburn is going to be down from last season though, and Wilson tore them up last year. A week off comes next before two road trips. The visit to Oxford doesn't scare much given that the Rebels' defense is in a rebuilding phase, and Vanderbilt is still Vanderbilt for now. All in all, this is about as manageable as college football's middle month gets for anyone down this way.

NOVEMBER

11/5: SOUTH CAROLINA

11/12: TENNESSEE

11/19: MISSISSIPPI STATE

11/25: at LSU

The catch with having an easy September and October is that it means November is going to be nasty. SEC East favorite (or at least co-favorite) South Carolina comes for a visit, followed by the rebuilding Vols. We'll see how those two go, but the first one may not actually be that bad. Arkansas blew out the Gamecocks last year, and South Carolina has never beaten an Arkansas team that finished over .500 on the season. Mississippi State is next, and those Bulldogs took Arkansas to double overtime last year. It's a different situation with Manny Diaz gone, though. The season finishes up with the always unpredictable matchup with LSU on the Friday after Thanksgiving. If Alabama's quarterback issues hobble the team, that game could be for the division title.

OVERALL

Arkansas is in the SEC West, which these days guarantees a high level of schedule difficulty. Texas A&M is a tough headlining non-conference opponent, and division co-favorites Alabama and LSU are road games for Arkansas. That said, the rest is not all that daunting. The rest of the non-conference is a joke, and the Pigs get Tennessee and Vandy from the East (plus South Carolina at home). As a bonus, Arkansas gets to skip playing dark horse SEC West contender Arkansas. With only four true road games, and two of them being Ole Miss and Vandy, this slate sets up the Hogs well for 2011.