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Arkansas Razorbacks 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (SEC) – Razorbacks

It kind of sucks to be Arkansas starting QB Brandon Allen. His gradual ascendance to the starting job in Fayetteville coincided with the receiver talent evaporating at the program and the run-first philosophy of coach Bret Bielema. Allen also battled a shoulder ailment for a good chunk of the 2013 season.

As a result, he completed only 49.6% of his passes, which was the worst among SEC starters. He – and Hogs Nation – will hope that good health and a year in the system will boost both his stats and confidence.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Head Coach: Bret Bielema
2013 Record: 3-9
Odds for Arkansas to win 2014 BCS Championship: 300/1 (+8500)
Futures from sportsbook.ag

A 3-9 record didn’t acquit Bielema too well, especially after all the vitriol he received in the Midwest after bolting from the Wisconsin Badgers program. To be fair, the Razorbacks find themselves in the murderous SEC West division, constantly doing battle with the Alabamas, Auburns and LSUs of the world.

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Arkansas has some nice elements to its team this year, but going winless in the conference – again – is still on the table. Bielema will need a couple of seasons to build up some continuity, although pigskin patrons in Madison are probably smirking smugly as we speak.

Let’s have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the 2014 Arkansas Razorbacks.

Team Strengths

There are some members of this roster that will make an impact playing professional football. The Hogs have a great running game, which is a three-headed monster. Junior Jonathan Williams is the de facto starter, who had 900 yards last year and averaged six yards per carry.

Williams’s “backup” is sophomore Alex Collins, who led all freshman in the nation last year with 1,026 yards. The only other Arkansas freshman to amass 1,000 yards rushing was Darren McFadden. The third stringer is the fastest, most electric of the bunch, Korliss Marshall. Beefy FB Kody Walker can certainly blaze a trail.

There are other offensive weapons. Sophomore TE Hunter Henry is the real deal, he earned second team All-SEC honors last season. The offensive line is also impressive, powered by stubby LT Dan Skipper (a 6″0 offensive tackle is very peculiar), massive guard (6″5, 348 lbs) Denver Kirkland and veteran RT Brey Cook.
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Finally, the Razorbacks have a punter who has a rocket launcher for a leg in Sam Irwin-Hill. Impressively, the ambidextrous Australian senior can also employ some touch with the ball, vital for coffin kicks and controlling the field-position game.

Team Weaknesses

However much empathy you want to feel for Allen, he must be better this year. If he can’t crack a 50% completion rate this season, the offense will be far too one-dimensional. His receivers were lousy last year, so they also must show improvement; freshman WR Jared Cornelius will get a long look because the incumbents were so hopeless.

The defense is a work in progress. There are a couple of strong players on the “D” (namely on the D-line) but the unit as a whole is uninspiring. The linebacker corps was especially underwhelming and a lot of the same personnel is back. Senior Braylon Mitchell, for one, must be entirely better.

Bielema has a track record of building effective defenses, so he may simply need time to work. Still, it’s not an overnight solution and the Hogs’ defense will likely allow hordes of points in 2014.

Freshman kicker Cole Hedlund was a decorated high-school player in Texas, but he hasn’t proved anything yet in the SEC.

2014-15 Arkansas Football Prediction: 5-7

The Razorbacks will be a bit better, mainly because a slightly improved passing game will do wonders for the offensive potency. Still, the Hogs play a difficult schedule and Bielema was tasked with a daunting rebuild.

Optimists might think Arkansas could challenge for a bowl berth this season, but I see 2015 as a more realistic goal for this scorched-Earth rebuild after the tarnished Bobby Petrino era.

2014 Razorbacks Schedule

  • 8/30/14 @ AUBURN
  • 9/6/14 NICHOLLS ST. (FCS)
  • 9/13/14 @ TEXAS TECH
  • 9/20/14 N. ILLINOIS
  • 9/27/14 TEX. A&M (in Arlington, TX)
  • 10/11/14 BAMA
  • 10/18/14 UGA (in Little Rock, AR)
  • 10/25/14 UAB
  • 11/1/14 @ MISS. ST.
  • 11/15/14 LSU
  • 11/22/14 OLE MISS
  • 11/29/14 @ MIZZOU

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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