2023-2024 cbhsports Arkansas College Football Preview: Florida, Auburn, Missouri

Image Courtesy: ESPN

November 4
at.Florida (TBA, TBA)
In season one of the Billy Napier era, Florida went (5-7) with a loss to SEC bottom dweller Vanderbilt. This has everyone doubting the Gators in the pre-season with QB Anthony Richardson out the door to the Indianapolis Colts and without a talented defense, which is the normal in Gainesville. Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz is expected to fill the void of Richardson after a so-so career in Madison. The most talented part of the Gator offense, however, is the same position group on the Razorbacks, the stable of running backs in Gainesville. Trevor Etienne, the younger brother of former Clemson star tailback Travis Etienne, and Montrell Johnson will pace the Gators in 2023. Arkansas’ defense will have to deal with Etienne, known for bouncing off tacklers, and Johnson, known for being a bruiser and finishing off runs in the end zone. Unless Graham Mertz impresses, Arkansas’ defense should manage this game okay with Mertz’ lack of ability to throw the ball down the field in the past. This is a game that has to be won by the Arkansas offense if the defense is doing their job. KJ Jefferson has to connect with new receivers Isaac TeSlaa, Tyrone Broden, Andrew Armstrong, and Isaiah Sategna in a tough road environment like “The Swamp”, where the two programs have played five of their last nine match ups. Projected Score: Arkansas 21, Florida 17

November 11
Auburn (TBA, TBA)
Since Sam Pittman took over Arkansas in 2020, Auburn has been a pain in the side of the Razorbacks. The Bo Nix fumble not called a fumble in 2020 was a game Arkansas believed they deserved to win on “The Plains” so much that they came back two seasons later and won by three touchdowns. With Arkansas losing the match up against the Tigers in Fayetteville two seasons ago, they will want to protect home field against a familiar face in new Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze, who previously coached at Ole Miss. Freeze’s battles with the Razorbacks were absolutely fantastic games but Razorback fans have a salty taste in their mouth after losing to his Liberty team by two points in Fayetteville with QB KJ Jefferson sidelined due to injury. His offensive scheme haunted Arkansas’ defense similar to how Bobby Petrino did with Missouri State last season. The Razorbacks will see both SEC West rivals this season in the final season of the division format. The QB competition will be important for Auburn in the fall, with incumbent starter Robby Ashford battling Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne. The winner of this battle will have the reins alongside new starting running back Jarquez Hunter, who will be indefinitely suspended for the start of the season but would make a great impact on the team. With former Auburn linebacker Travis Williams taking over the Arkansas defensive coordinator position, he would sure like to stymie the Tiger offense with his pass rush, led by Landon Jackson and Trajan Jeffcoat. The final Arkansas-Auburn game in the SEC West should come down to who can get that key stop in the second half. Projected Score: Arkansas 35, Auburn 31

November 24
Missouri (4 PM ET, CBS)
To put in point blank, Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks have to beat Missouri in year four of his tenure. Pittman is 1-2 against the Razorbacks’ assigned SEC rival, given the name the “The Battle Line Rivalry”, that most Arkansas fans don’t care about. Whoever starts at quarterback for Missouri (Brady Cook, Jake Garcia, or Brady Cook) should not be as good as KJ Jefferson. For that reason alone, Arkansas should win this game at home. However, Missouri signal-caller Brady Cook torched the Razorbacks on the ground and through the air on Black Friday following a subpar season before that in 2022. With Tigers star receiver Dominic Lovett out the door to reigning champion Georgia, Luther Burden must continue his great play as a sophomore to make whoever is throwing the ball to him have an easier time against an Arkansas secondary that is full of new faces. Arkansas’ younger offensive line must get downhill to pave the way for Rocket Sanders to get downhill and protect a talented Missouri defensive line including defensive ends Darius Robinson and Joe Moore. Arkansas’ home Thanksgiving environment will also have to play a huge factor in Pittman evening his record against the tigers this upcoming season. Projected Score: Arkansas 31, Missouri 27

Final Projected Record: 8-4 (4-4) SEC

By Carter Huff

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One reply on “2023-2024 cbhsports Arkansas College Football Preview: Florida, Auburn, Missouri”

You finally gave the Hogs winning some games!!! WPS!!🐗🐗🐗ðŸĪŠ

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