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Arkansas Razorbacks 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

Arkansas Razorbacks 2016 Preview

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The Arkansas Razorbacks have improved their win total in each of the three seasons under head coach Bret Bielema and the next step would be double-digit wins for the first time since 2011. Arkansas is clearly a team on the rise in the SEC.

Can Arkansas take that next step and seriously compete in the SEC West?

Arkansas Razorbacks 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Here is your 2016 Arkansas Razorbacks college football preview.

Offense: Austin Allen was named the starting quarterback during the spring, and he’s a junior who has just 19 career pass attempts. Arkansas was 32nd last season in passing offense, so he’ll certainly have big shoes to fill in terms of replacing Brandon Allen. Kody Walker and Rawleigh Williams III both averaged more than four yards per carry last season which is a sign they can replace the production of Alex Collins. The problem is both players are injury prone and that could lead to 4-star recruit Devwah Whaley getting a workload as well. The wide receiving corps return a lot of key guys in Drew Morgan, Dominique Reed and Keon Hatcher, a trio that combined for 18 touchdown receptions last season. Arkansas also has a massive and experienced offensive line led by Dan Skipper that will take a lot of pressure off and allow guys to make plays.

Defense: Arkansas is only missing two starters from a defense that ranked a solid 58th in the country last season. Deatrich Wise Jr. has proven himself as one of the better defensive lineman in the SEC with 10 sacks the last two seasons and 4-star recruit McTelvin Agim is going to make a name for himself this season. The Razorbacks secondary has a lot of playmakers and experience with D.J. Dean, Josh Liddell, Kevin Richardson and Jared Collins all anchoring a unit that ranked 117th in the country in passing defense. Certainly those numbers have to improve if the Razorbacks are going to be successful. Arkansas does return its top-two tacklers in Brooks Ellis and Dre Greenlaw but there has to be more help at linebacker, as those guys can’t do everything at the second line.  

Special Teams: Toby Baker returns at punter after averaging 41.2 yards per attempt on 43 punts. Cole Hedlund returns at kicker after making nine of 15 field goal attempts and all 58 extra points.

Outlook: Arkansas has the potential to be a sneaky team in the SEC again if the secondary can limit big plays. We’re talking about a defense that allowed 74 passing plays of at 15 yards last season. The Razorbacks have the offensive playmakers and a terrific offensive line to where they can put points up. A lot of the success will be determined on the improvement of the defense. Arkansas can win anywhere from six to nine games this season.

Schedule:

Date Opponent Location
Sept. 3 Louisiana Tech Fayetteville
Sept. 10 TCU Fort Worth, Tex
Sept. 17 Texas State Fayetteville
Sept. 24 Texas A&M* Arlington, Tex
Oct. 1 Alcorn State Little Rock
Oct. 8 Alabama Fayetteville
Oct. 15 Ole Miss Fayetteville
Oct. 22 Auburn Auburn, Ala.
Nov. 5 Florida Fayetteville
Nov. 12 LSU Fayetteville
Nov. 19 Mississippi State Starkville, Miss.
Nov. 26 Missouri Columbia, Mo.
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