FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas will open the season on Saturday, Aug. 31, in Reynolds Razorback Stadium hosting Portland State.
This is Chad Morris’ second season with the Razorbacks and improvement is expected after the 2-10 season in 2018. Morris and his staff recruited well and the players who weren’t buying into the new staff are no longer on the team.
Here’s three thoughts concerning the 2019 schedule.
Must Win Non-Conference Games
Last season Arkansas finished 2-2 against non-conference opponents. They can ill afford that type of scenario this fall. They played Colorado State on the road losing with a second-half collapse. The next week North Texas added to the pain with a convincing win in Razorback Stadium. Arkansas will get all four non-conference opponents at home this season and none will be as good as the North Texas team was last year. Portland State (4-7), Colorado State (3-9), San Jose State (1-11) and Western Kentucky (3-9) are games the Hogs have to win with all being in Fayetteville.
Win Some Road Games
Arkansas plays some SEC games on the road that appear to be winnable if things fall in place. They go to Ole Miss on Sept. 7 getting them in the second week. Ole Miss lost some key players from 2018 and getting them early in the season could be beneficial. The Hogs also go to Kentucky on Oct. 12 following a bye week on Oct. 5. Once again, Kentucky lost several key players off the very successful 2018 squad. Winning one or both of these games could define how Arkansas’ season plays out. Later in the season the Razorbacks go to Alabama and LSU for much tougher road contests.
Defend the Home Turf
Due to scheduling obligations Arkansas will only play two SEC games in Razorback Stadium this season. They get Auburn on Oct. 19 and then Mississippi State Nov. 2. Arkansas will close out the regular season at Little Rock hosting Missouri. Arkansas will be the designated home team this season against Texas A&M in AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Arkansas needs to try a couple of wins in those home games. Beating Texas A&M will be hard and Auburn could potentially be a very good team. Arkansas will be the underdog in all four of the home games, but gave the Aggies all they wanted last season. By the time the Hogs played Mississippi State and Missouri in the final two weeks of the season last fall many on the team appeared to have checked out. Arkansas lost those two games by a combined 90-6 score, but those teams are teams the Razorbacks can beat particularly if they still have bowl hopes alive late in the year.