Game time: 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Razorback Sports Network
How to watch online: WatchESPN
Spread (via OddsShark): Arkansas opened as 54-point favorites. The line went down to 47.5.
O/U: The total opened at 57.5. It has since bumped up to 61 or 61.5, location pending.
The Arkansas Razorbacks have had eight months to ponder how their 2016 season ended. In the regular season finale against Missouri and the Belk Bowl against Virginia Tech, the Hogs outscored their opponents 48-7 in the first half — and got outscored 56-0 in the second half. They lost both games to finish the season 7-6.
Now, the Razorbacks are tasked with trying to replace leading rusher Rawleigh Williams III, who retired from football after suffering a neck injury. They’re also switching from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator (and former Iowa State head coach) Paul Rhoads.
The good news is that the Razorbacks should be set at quarterback with Austin Allen back after throwing for 3,430 yards last season.
Arkansas will open the 2017 season on Thursday night at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, where they’ll meet the Florida A&M Rattlers. FAMU is already 1-0 this season after beating Texas Southern 29-7 on Saturday. But the Rattlers went 4-7 last season — and got obliterated in their only game against a Power 5 opponent, a 70-3 loss to Miami.
In other words, this is going to be little more than a tuneup for the Razorbacks before they deal with TCU on September 9.
This is the first SEC football game of the year
There is one reason for you to watch this game, and one reason only: This marks the first SEC game of the year. When you’ve gone nearly eight months without football, you will take what you can get, and that’s what this game is. It is football. Glorious, glorious football.
This game will probably not be competitive for more than a quarter or so (if it is, that should sound alarm bells for Razorback fans.) But it is a football game, still.