FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman has been consistent with the fact he thinks Arkansas deserves a bowl game despite having only three games this season.

Pittman once again said that a few times on Saturday following the loss to Alabama.

“Absolutely, I know I’ve said it before,” Pittman said. “We beat three teams that were on our previous schedule in Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee. And I’d like to think we could have won three out of four at least of our preseason games. I don’t know that but I think we could have. I  like we could have and that’s a six-win season. I know our record is 3-7. But in the regular season you win three conference games most of the time you get an opportunity to go to a bowl game and I want to.  I want to  get the practice that we can get out of it. And  I  don’t want the kids to really end the season on this note because we’ve been in every game we’ve played except for today.”

Once COVID hit in the spring many doubted there would be a college football season. In an effort to get through a season, the SEC voted to play an SEC-only schedule. So, Arkansas drew the eight teams they would have played plus Georgia and Florida.

Pittman inherited a program that had won one SEC game in three years. They were coming off 4-8, 2-10 and 2-10 seasons that led to both Bret Bielema and Chad Morris being fired.

Safety Jalen Catalon feels the Hogs deserve a bowl.

“I think we saw a lot of progress this whole season,” Catalon said. “There were a couple games I thought we could have pulled out and won, but it is what it is. We’ve just got to learn from that and keep going. The way  Coach Pittman has talked to us, I think we’ll have a bowl game and we’ll get ready for that.”

Under Pittman, the Hogs won three SEC games in the first year. Some fans critical of Arkansas getting a bowl bid may have forgotten Nevada, Notre Dame, Charleston Southern and Louisiana-Monroe were replaced by Georgia and Florida.

Yes Notre Dame (10-0) is undefeated and would have been a longshot for Hogs to win. But the Hogs would have been favored over Nevada (6-2), Charleston Southern (Will play in spring ) and ULM (0-10). If they had beaten Nevada, ULM and Charleston Southern along with Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee they would be 6-6 and bowl eligible after back-to-back 2-10 seasons.

In addition, the Hogs played three other SEC teams extremely close. They lost to Missouri 50-48, LSU 27-24 and Auburn 30-28. Against Auburn the Hogs were the victim of a very controversial call, Missouri beat them on the last play of the game and against LSU the Hogs were extremely short on numbers particularly on the defensive line due to COVID and contact tracing.

Sources indicate the Hogs will either go to Tennessee or Texas for a bowl game. The TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville is Dec. 30. It is 3:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN. On Dec. 31, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl is played in Memphis with a 4 p.m. kickoff on ESPN. The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is Dec. 31 at noon in Fort Worth on ESPN. The Texas Bowl is also on Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. in Houston on ESPN.

Both of ESPN’s predictions for the bowl are the Hogs going to Texas. One has the Hogs facing the Texas Longhorns in Houston while the other has them taking on Oklahoma State also in Houston.