FAYETTEVILLE — ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has released his Way-Too-Early Top 25 for the 2020 college football season.
The list includes six schools the Razorbacks will face in the fall. The schedule for 2020 is expected to be much more difficult than the one Arkansas has played the past two years.
Arkansas’ second game of the season will be on Saturday, Sept. 12, when they go on road to face Notre Dame. According to Schlabach, Notre Dame returns seven starters on offense, five on defense and two from special teams off an 11-2 squad. They are ranked No. 10 in the Top 25.
Texas A&M will provide Arkansas’ opponent on Saturday, Sept. 26, in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies were 8-5 in 2019. They return eight starters on offense, nine on defense and one on special teams according to Schlabach. The Aggies have just narrowly defeated Arkansas the past few seasons. They are No. 11 in the Top 25.
Alabama comes to Fayetteville on Saturday, Oct. 10. They are the highest-ranked team the Hogs will face on Schlabach’s list. The Tide comes in at No. 3 behind just Clemson and Ohio State. Alabama was 11-2 in 2019 and missed the playoffs. They return 14 starters in 2020.
One week after hosting Alabama, the Hogs will have LSU come to Reynolds Razorback Stadium. LSU fresh off winning the national championship on Monday night is ranked No. 4 by ESPN. They finished a perfect 15-0 season with a victory over Clemson. Schlabach has LSU returning eight starters on offense, nine on defense and two with special teams. LSU does lose Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow.
Arkansas will host Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 31. The bye comes after the LSU game and prior to the Vols in Fayetteville. Tennessee is coming off an 8-5 season that saw them finish very strong. They appeared headed for a dismal season in 2019, but then turned it around winning the final six games. They return 19 starters and are ranked No. 25.
The other ranked team Arkansas will play is No. 12 Auburn on Saturday, Nov. 7. That means other than the bye week on Oct. 24 the Hogs will face four teams ESPN has ranked in a row. Auburn was 9-4 in 2019 and returns four starters on offense, five on defense and one with special teams. Quarterback Bo Nix will be back. This game will be played in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Arkansas’ opponents not ranked by ESPN are Nevada (Sept. 5, Fayetteville), Mississippi State (Sept. 19, Starkville), Charleston Southern (Oct. 3, Fayetteville), Ole Miss (Nov. 14, Fayetteville), Louisiana-Monroe (Nov. 21, Fayetteville) and Missouri (Nov. 27 or 28, Kansas City).