1. Difficult Division: The SEC West continues to cement its title as the most difficult division in college football with six teams ranked in this week’s Associated Press top 25 poll.

1. Difficult Division: The SEC West continues to cement its title as the most difficult division in college football with six teams ranked in this week’s Associated Press top 25 poll.


The impressive feat didn’t surprise Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on Monday. But the second-year coach admitted he was bothered by something: Arkansas is the only program in the seven-team division without a ranking.


"I don’t like being the one that is not," Bielema said. "I’m not a big rankings guys. But I kind of want our place in that history or nostalgia."


Arkansas (3-1, 0-1 in SEC) will get its shot to change that Saturday, when the Razorbacks play No. 6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 in the SEC) in Arlington, Texas.


The Aggies are the second ranked opponent on Arkansas’ loaded 2014 schedule. A fourth-straight win — which also would be the Hogs’ first against a ranked team since knocking off No. 11 Kansas State in the 2012 Cotton Bowl — would most likely push the Razorbacks into the polls for the first time since Sept. 8, 2012.


For now, Arkansas has to settle for simply being part of a division that boasts four top 10 teams in Alabama (No. 3), Auburn (No. 5), Texas A&M (No. 6), Ole Miss (No. 10). Mississippi State jumped into the polls at No. 14 after last Saturday’s upset win at LSU, while the Tigers fell to No. 17.


"You look at Mississippi State and LSU, that probably shocked a lot of people," Bielema said. "LSU is a very good team, but Mississippi State is a very good football team. There is a respect in this league that you don’t really understand until you are involved in it and I truly understand it a lot more this year than I did last year."


Arkansas and LSU are the only SEC West teams to suffer losses after four weeks. Both of them came in games between divisional opponents. Auburn beat Arkansas 45-21 in the season opener on Aug. 30.


So SEC West teams are 24-2 entering the weekend. Arkansas-Texas A&M is the only divisional game on tap this weekend, which means that mark can improve to 27-3.


"I think it is safe to say that it might blow someone’s minds that aren’t involved in it," Bielema said. "But for those that see it on a daily basis, it’s not that amazing.


"What’s fun for me is that you really grow fond of that stuff."


2. Hollister Comes Through: Arkansas needed production at wide receiver with Demetrius Wilson sidelined because of an ankle injury Saturday. Junior Keon Hatcher enjoyed a big night, catching six passes for 107 yards and a score. So did sophomore Cody Hollister.


Hollister filled in for Wilson and caught three passes for 34 yards. He was especially effective on third down, catching two passes that helped the Razorbacks move the chains. It included a 16-yard reception on a third-and-10 play in the third quarter.


Hollister enters Texas A&M week tied for second on the team with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Wilson is expected to return this week, but Bielema said Hollister has developed good chemistry with quarterback Brandon Allen.


"He takes coaching very well. He’s very aggressive. He catches the ball naturally, very, very well," Bielema said. "He made a nice adjustment on that third and extra long that, you know, you really just have to hope that he adjusts and corrects when he’s out there on the field, and that’ exactly what he did.


"So, I think some good relationship there with him and BA is critical."


3. Injury Updates: Bielema said Arkansas is still waiting for word that linebacker Brooks Ellis can return after suffering a head injury against NIU, but is confident the sophomore will play Saturday. Ellis was injured during a collision with teammate Martrell Spaight.


"You know he experienced certain things, but we didn’t think it was severe," Bielema said about the injury. "He had to go through a series of tests (Monday) morning. I’ll probably throw him in some green, just to keep him out of contact until Thursday. But he should be good to go."


Bielema also is confident safety Rohan Gaines will be available after leaving Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. He said Gaines "shouldn’t miss a beat."


Arkansas also will have receiver Demetrius Wilson back for practice this week. The senior missed Saturday’s game because of an ankle injury.


4. Extra Points


• Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers was named the SEC’s defensive lineman of the week after his performance against NIU. Flowers had 9 tackles, 2 tackles for losses, one sack and one forced fumble in Arkansas’ 52-14 win.


• Bielema said he sent a congratulatory text message to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn after the fifth-ranked Tigers’ 20-14 win at Kansas State last Thursday. "Some of you may faint, but I shot Gus a congrats text and just said ‘Hey, I know how tough that place is – congrats,’" said Bielema, who worked at Kansas State in 2002-03.


• Bielema recognized Flowers (defense), wide receiver Keon Hatcher (offense) and running back Korliss Marshall and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle (special teams) as Arkansas’ most valuable players in the NIU win.


• Arkansas safety Davyon McKinney hasn’t played this season because of a heel injury. But Bielema indicated McKinney should practice this week with a chance to play against Texas A&M. "He’s gotten better over the last 10 days because we’ve moved him more," Bielema said. "I think he’s very excited to practice (Tuesday)."


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau