By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — ESPN has released its preseason power rankings and Arkansas comes in at No. 17.

That places Arkansas No. 4 in the SEC. Alabama (1), Georgia (3) and Texas A&M (7) are ahead of the Hogs. Ole Miss comes in at No. 20.

Arkansas is coming off a 9-4 season. ESPN picks the Auburn game on Oct. 19 as the most important game of the season for the Hogs.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about the Hogs.

X-Factor: The SEC is loaded with big-name quarterbacks whether it’s last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young, or a pair of potential first-round picks in Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. But a name gets overlooked too often in the great QB debate: Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson. All he did as a sophomore last season was throw for 2,676 yards and 21 touchdowns, and rush for 664 yards and six scores. As coach Sam Pittman said, “He makes us go. He sets the tone for our football team.”

Biggest Question Mark This Season: How do you replace Treylon Burks? He was Arkansas’ go-to target last season, racking up 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns receiving, and running the ball 14 times for 112 yards and one score. The Razorbacks went into the transfer portal and found two receivers they hope can fill his shoes: Matt Landers, who caught five touchdowns at Toledo last season, and Jadon Haselwood, a former No. 1-ranked receiver in the 2019 class who caught six touchdowns at Oklahoma last year. 

The Arkansas opponents rankings in the Top 25 are Alabama (1), Texas A&M (7), Ole Miss (20), Cincinnati (21) and BYU (25).