SEC is football is back this weekend with a full slate of games! 7 conference games that span from early noon window all the way to primetime. Right smack in the middle of the day is the cross-divisional matchup between Arkansas and Georgia.
It would be hard to pick a game that features two teams with different goals for their seasons. Georgia is looking to take the next step and pair another SEC conference championship with the elusive college football playoff title. Kirby Smart hopes pairing new OC Todd Monken with either JT Daniels or D’Wan Mathis will result in a more explosive offense to pair with a defense that should be as stout as ever.
On the other side of the field is an Arkansas Razorbacks team that is just hoping to get off the ground with a new coach and a lot of promising young talent. Sam Pittman brought in Kendal Briles and Barry Odom, two high-level coordinators to help raise the Hogs out of the basement of the SEC West. Coming off of a tough 2-10 season that included a loss to San Jose State, it’s an unfortunate situation for Arkansas to lose their non-conference games and have to jump right in to the gauntlet that is SEC play.
The one advantage the Hogs might have heading into this matchup is a much clearer situation at the QB position. Florida transfer Felipe Franks is the clear top guy for Arkansas, and should provide a stability at the position they haven’t seen in years. The former Gator will need more than just stability, however, to keep this game close. Georgia returns 8 of the 11 starters from the #1 scoring defense in the country.
The key matchup here is the Georgia corners, namely Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes, against Arkansas’ up and coming receivers, Mike Woods, Treylon Burks, and Trey Knox. If the Hogs wideouts can’t make some plays in one-on-one coverage and force Georgia to respect the pass, it will be a very long first day on the job for Sam Pittman.
On the other side of the ball, Georgia fans wait in anticipation to see whether it will be JT Daniels or D’Wan Mathis that takes the field on Monday. Even though Jake Fromm had a stellar career at Georgia but it was hard to shake the feeling that Georgia fans felt left out watching players like Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow light it up in within their own conference. Daniels is more in the mold of Fromm, albeit with a bigger arm. He can make any throw on the field from the pocket, but he comes over from USC after seemingly losing his job to Kedon Slovis.
Mathis is much more of a dual-threat, and if he shows himself to be a capable passer, he could provide the extra edge that the offense has lacked. Whoever is taking the snaps, they will surrounded with playmakers ready to burst out. Zamir White and George Pickens are the key guys that should benefit from a more spread out scheme, as White could follow D’ Andre Swift in a long line of stud Dawgs running backs.
This really is unfortunate mismatch under these circumstances. It’s hard to see Arkansas being ready to compete with Georgia right off the bat with such a limited offseason. If the Razorbacks can hang for just a little bit though, it will inspire some confidence in one fan base, and probably a little angst in another.
How To Watch
Time: 4:00 EST
Network: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN