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Arkansas' Schedule is Absolutely Brutal For Four Weeks. And Tough in Other Places | SEC 2013

Four conference title contenders in four weeks and a road non-conference game against another AQ team? This could get ugly


This is an overview. Predictions come later.

9.7.13 | SAMFORD (Little Rock)
9.21.13 | at RUTGERS
9.28.13 | TEXAS A&M

The season starts out easy and then ramps up rather quickly. Southern Miss probably won't be at Ellis Johnson-induced levels of incompetence forever, and might perk up a little bit, but should be a win. One major swing game for the Razorbacks will be Rutgers, which has few returning starters and almost as much coaching upheaval as Arkansas. It's worth remembering that the Scarlet Knights won in Fayetteville last year by nine and this year's game is in Piscataway. About every time I look at that one, I pick a different winner. Arkansas will either be 4-1 or 3-2 after September, but there's a big difference between the two.

10.5.13 | at FLORIDA
10.19.13 | at ALABAMA

No wonder the Razorbacks get a bye week after this stretch of the schedule. (And, remember, it comes on the heels of the trip to Rutgers and the game against A&M.) When this is over, Arkansas will face four legitimate conference title contenders in a home-road-home-road setup that will add back-and-forth travels to the physical wear and tear that come from facing what could be some of the top defenses in the country in rapid succession.

Both South Carolina and Alabama beat Arkansas by double digits in 2012, the Alabama game being the 52-point beatdown that removed any doubt about how long the season was going to be for the Hogs after the Louisiana-Monroe loss. South Carolina has still never defeated an Arkansas team that ended the season with a winning record, so there's that much hope for the Razorbacks. The flip side is that it's going to be hard for Arkansas to get to a winning record this year. It's really kind of hard to see an obvious win for Arkansas between mid- to late-September and early November.

11.2.13 | AUBURN
11.9.13 | at OLE MISS
11.23.13 | MISSISSIPPI STATE (Little Rock)
11.29.13 | at LSU

Here's where the difference between 4-1 and 3-2 in the first five games of the season comes into play. If the Hogs have four wins, they just need to beat Auburn and split the games against the Mississippi teams to get to a bowl. But if there are just three wins at that point, they have to either sweep Auburn and the two Mississippi teams or beat two of those three teams and then take down LSU in Baton Rouge. No problem, right?