Can Arkansas win SEC West?

Razorbacks will be improved enough to challenge LSU, Alabama

Updated: March 13, 2012, 1:24 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Cobi HamiltonJames D. Smith/Icon SMIArkansas will need Cobi Hamilton to step up and help replace the team's departed WRs.

A season that ends with 11 wins and a top-5 ranking in both of the major polls would be considered a terrific campaign for most teams.

That is exactly what the Arkansas Razorbacks accomplished in 2011, but even with those achievements the season had to be seen as something of a disappointment since the Hogs finished third in their division behind SEC West heavyweights Alabama and LSU.

At first glance, the odds don't look good for Arkansas to be able to pass Bama and LSU and claim a division and conference title. The Razorbacks lost nine starters, among them their two best wide receivers (Jarius Wright and Joe Adams), top pass-rusher (Jake Bequette) and a second-team All-SEC linebacker (Jerry Franklin).

As significant as those losses are, however, a closer examination of this situation shows that the Razorbacks' path to an SEC title game berth is not as far off as it might initially seem.