FAYETTEVILLE - Over the summer Arkansas News Bureau wrote a game-by-game prediction of how the Arkansas football season would shake out.
At that point, loads of newcomers had yet to make it campus. Gains from the spring had yet to be seen. Other schools had yet to have roster shakeups. Things have changed. And now, a week out from the Razorbacks' season opener, we take another look.
This glance is not the deep blow-by-blow from the summer, but it is a re-look with all the new factors in play. Consider it ANB's official stance on how the year will go.
September 3 vs Louisiana Tech
Down a starting quarterback - though it's to-be-determined for how much of the game - Louisiana Tech a three-touchdown underdog in first weekend of the season. There is talent at wide receiver, but a defense completely revamped. If there is a Toledo-type team on the schedule, it's Louisiana Tech. Make no mistake, though, Louisiana Tech isn't as talented as last year's Rockets team.
Score: Arkansas 38, Louisiana Tech 14
September 10 at Texas Christian
TCU will push, push, push the tempo against an Arkansas defense that will excel best when teams take their time. First-year starter Kenny Hill is only a first-year starter at TCU. He beat Arkansas as the quarterback at Texas A&M two years ago. He can be erratic at times. He can also be excellent. TCU's defense is aggressive and experienced, though not big. The Horned Frogs are a top 15 team in the country for a reason.
Score: TCU 31, Arkansas 21 (previously - TCU 24, Arkansas 17)
September 17 vs Texas State
Let's not waste too much time here. Texas State might be the worst team in Football Bowl Subdivision. There is a Football Championship Subdivision team on the Arkansas schedule this year, and the Bobcats may not be better than that team, even.
Score: Arkansas 55, Texas State 7 (previously - Arkansas 52, Texas State 10)
September 24 vs Texas A&M (at AT&T Stadium)
Name a team with a worse offseason than Texas A&M. Actually, don't. That's a little easier than it first seemed. Truth is, though, the Aggies trying to avoid crashing into the rocks. From an outsider perspective, it's kind of too bad, because you wonder how good the team could be without all the mess that surrounds the program. Texas A&M has the best wide receiving corps in the conference and probably the best, or second-best, pass rush in the league, too. They've owned Arkansas the last couple years, albeit in two overtime games. Do the more talented Aggies win? Or can Arkansas, with its depth and stability, snap the streak?
Score: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 28 (previously - Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 21)
October 1 vs Alcorn State (at War Memorial Stadium)
The tailgating in Little Rock will be better than the game. Figure a two-thirds full stadium. Maybe three-quarters.
Score: Arkansas 58, Alcorn State 7 (previously - Arkansas 58, Alcorn State 7)
October 8 vs Alabama
Waves were made locally when three SEC Network personalities picked Arkansas to beat Alabama as part of their team-by-team previews earlier this week. It's a real possibility, too. The Razorbacks should have won two years ago at Donald W. Reynolds and were close for a good chunk of last year's game in Tuscaloosa before Alabama broke away late. The Crimson Tide are down, theoretically, and Arkansas is more talented than last year. Throw in the game in northwest Arkansas and stranger things could happen than a Hogs win. Still...
Score: Alabama 31, Arkansas 21 (previously - Alabama 28, Arkansas 17)
October 15 vs Ole Miss
Look at the Ole Miss roster. Outside Chad Kelly and Tony Conner, there are not a lot of immediately scary names that jump off the page. Of course, some people would say the same thing about Arkansas' roster. If you're close to either program, you believe otherwise. These two teams feel a lot alike, save the Rebels' off-the-field troubles. Two of the worst pass defenses in the SEC last year shouldn't be 14th and 13th again this year, but expect another offensive show.
Score: Arkansas 37, Ole Miss 28 (previously - Arkansas 37, Ole Miss 31)
October 22 at Auburn
Auburn named Sean White its starter at quarterback earlier this week. So, good news, rest of SEC. White had one touchdown pass and four interceptions in seven games last year as the starter half the season. Auburn also kicked off Jovon Robinson earlier this summer, its best running back. Auburn has a good front four defensively and a bit of experience at linebacker, but a secondary that hasn't been good in years. This went from a potentially close game to what should be an easy Arkansas win (considering the road environment).
Score: Arkansas 34, Auburn 14 (previously - Arkansas 28, Auburn 17)
November 5 vs Florida
Things are simple in Gainesville. If Florida gets good quarterback play, the Gators will win the SEC East. The defense is that good. If its competent quarterback play, they'll be a top three, pending Tennessee and Georgia. Bad play? This is a .500 team. Luke Del Rio is the starter after transferring from Oregon State and he has an offensive line and a receiving group to throw to. It doesn't appear he'll have much in the backfield behind him. Thing is, Arkansas is better at stopping the run than the pass, though by this point of the season, a lot of different things could have unfolded. Really a toss-up.
Score: Arkansas 21, Florida 17 (previously - Florida 21, Arkansas 17)
November 12 vs LSU
The Hogs have had LSU's number for a couple years now. The biggest reason why? Tigers quarterbacking. Everyone keeps waiting on Brandon Harris to take that next step. We've been waiting two years and it hasn't happened. He was moderately better last year than in 2014 (when he didn't see all that much time), but a step of the same size into 2016 and the improvement with the team won't be all that much. Leonard Fournette is still an animal, but Arkansas slowed him enough last year to win easily in Baton Rouge. Trick is that Tigers defense. If it's like the one of the 00s, LSU won't have much trouble. If it isn't, a Hogs team on a roll could surprise again.
Score: LSU 28, Arkansas 17 (previously - LSU 21, Arkansas 14)
November 19 at Mississippi State
This is the game that jumped out to most readers the first time. Mississippi State lost a lot on offense, obviously, especially with Dak Prescott out of the picture at quarterback. But the most unheralded team in the SEC West has talent and a loud, scary stadium. Plus, coach Dan Mullen hasn't lost to Bret Bielema yet. If Arkansas wins this and the rest of the season falls the way we've predicted thus far, Hogs might be looking at bowl game in Florida come January.
Score: Mississippi State 27, Arkansas 24 (previously - Mississippi State 24, Arkansas 21)
November 25 at Missouri
Missouri looks like a bad football team. That school, there's just something bad in the water there. The entire administration has been a disaster for a good year now. The football could be the worst in the entire SEC. There are a couple good players and given how poor the SEC East is, Mizzou could be in the hunt for a bowl berth this game. But Arkansas is clearly the better team, even if the Tigers defense is expected to be a top five in the SEC.
Score: Arkansas 24, Missouri 10 (previously - Arkansas 21, Missouri 14)
Arkansas' projected record: 7-5 overall, 4-4 in SEC
Projected bowl destination: Music City Bowl in Nashville