Commentary

Summer Stock: Arkansas

With a tough schedule but a ton of talent, Arkansas could be in national title discussion

Originally Published: May 22, 2011
By Jeff Dooley | ESPN Insider
Knile DavisNelson Chenault/US PresswireThe Razorbacks return plenty of firepower on offense, including RB Knile Davis.

This article is part of our Summer Stock series, a three-week look at the programs generating the most buzz coming out of spring practice.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Razorbacks offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has a simple request.

"I just wanna see every game go down to the wire," McGee says. "I just want close games."

He's referring to the NBA playoffs, mind you, but it'd be hard to blame the coach if he was talking about his Razorbacks squad heading into the 2011 season, given the grueling gauntlet of a schedule laid out before them. Arkansas has a "home" game against the Texas A&M Aggies, which will actually be played in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, plus roadies against the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers and a handful of other SEC contests against the likes of Auburn and South Carolina that could cause Bobby Petrino's team trouble throughout the year.

Plus, the team knows a thing or two about close calls. Prior to their Sugar Bowl loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Razorbacks were leading in the fourth quarter of every one of their games, including their two SEC losses to Alabama and Auburn.

In other words: "If we play better in two quarters," says McGee, "then we're in the national title."

While this could at first seem discouraging to Arkansas fans, it's actually very encouraging in other ways, namely in that it proves the Razorbacks have built their program up to the level where they're able to hang with any team in the country.

And if that anecdotal evidence isn't enough for you, there's this: The numbers show that the Razorbacks have the makings of a legit national title contender heading into the 2011 season.