Get your celebrating in before September 22, boys.
If you're anything like me, you check out the ESPN.com SEC blog every day just to see what Chris Low and Edward Aschoff are writing about the Hogs. During this preseason, their opinions have been rather favorable toward the Arkansas Razorbacks. They've currently ranked the hogs #3 in their SEC Power Poll, they predict Tyler Wilson to be the SEC offensive player of the year, and they picked Knile Davis to be one of three 1,200 yard rushers in the SEC this season.
The NCAA Football blogs tend to do similar stories at the same time, and recently they did "2012 games to watch" on the Big East Blog, and "Biggest SEC games to watch in 2012" on the SEC blog. Arkansas had two games selected by the SEC bloggers and even made it on to a very short Big East List.
Alabama at Arkansas, Sept. 15: Nick Saban is 5-0 against Arkansas since taking over as Alabama’s coach in 2007. But the last time the Crimson Tide visited Razorback Stadium, they had to stage a second-half rally to escape 24-20 in 2010. This is a game the Hogs have been pointing to ever since that bitter loss. If they’re going to finally break through in the Western Division, they have to figure out a way to stem the Tide.
This isn't a big surprise as the game in Fayetteville 2 years ago was a huge one for the Hogs,the Crimson Tide, DJ Kahled (if you were watching the Student Section), and College Football as a whole. Bobby Petrino's offense got off to a quick start the last time these two met in Fayetteville, but were slowed down in the 2nd half and allowed Alabama to rally to the 24-20 victory.
LSU at Arkansas, Nov. 23: This one had a playoff feel to it last season and could have that feel again this fall with a shot at the SEC championship game possibly on the line. The Tigers' vaunted defense shut down Arkansas' high-powered offense last season, but the Razorbacks will have the pleasure of playing at home this time. Like last year, everyone will be watching this one.
This one is a no brainer. It's been one of the most interesting games on Thanksgiving weekend every year since 2006. With it moving to Fayetteville for the first time in 20 years and the implications that LSU may be wanting to trade out the annual day after Thanksgiving Tussle with the Hogs for a game with the Texas A&M Aggies, this could be a game for the ages.
3. Rutgers at Arkansas, Sept. 22: The Razorbacks were poised to contend for the national title before the Bobby Petrino mess this offseason. Can they still? They will be coming off a home tilt with defending champion Alabama, and Rutgers, like USF, could do the conference a huge favor by pulling off the upset, especially with this game coming in SEC territory.
Arkansas makes it on the short list of the most important Big East games according to Big East blogger Matt Fortuna. While the worry from Razorback Nation is that this game could be a trap game following the biggest game of the 2012 season, Rutgers and the Big East look for this game as their best chance at taking down a team from another BCS Conference ranked in the top 10. This game doesn't quite have the heat that an SEC contest might hold, but it certainly can't be overlooked following the Alabama game.
Other than Alabama and LSU, what are the Arkansas games you're looking forward to?