Arkansas is fifth best in SEC? The argument can be made

arkansas-arkansas football-devwah whaley

Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.

Arkansas could be the fifth-best team in the SEC

Or not. Who knows at this point. The SEC is such a cluster right now in the middle.

The Week 5 SEC Country Power Poll came out Sunday and Arkansas was pegged as the No. 9 team. The Razorbacks moved up three spots.

That’s not quite top half of the conference, but, honestly, if you look at the teams slotted just ahead of them — South Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Florida — no one on that list is terribly scary.

Certainly the Razorbacks fell to Texas A&M, but let’s not pretend it was some sort of blowout. The Aggies are ranked fifth. Does anyone believe in Florida’s offense? How about Kentucky? Not exactly a long history of success that leads one to believe the Wildcats are going to keep it up (never mind a one-score win against Eastern Michigan, of all teams, on Saturday). Mississippi State has some punch. Then, there is South Carolina.

Arkansas travels to South Carolina this week for a mid-afternoon game against the Gamecocks. It’s going to go a long way in clarifying lines of demarcation in SEC rankings.

If you hate Bret Bielema, you’re not comfortable right now

Related to the above, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has the Razorbacks trending upward.

Yes, we know it was a win against New Mexico State. Nothing to get too rah-rah about. But let’s be real. This league is bad. Not just mediocre. It’s bad.

So, why not Arkansas?

Bielema is still one of the best four coaches in the league. Austin Allen is the best passer in the league. The three-headed tailbacks are solid. Frank Ragnow is the best center in the country. Plenty of reasons to feel like the Razorbacks can make a move.

Now, it might not be the nine-win, 10-win move some of the most venomous of Bielema detractors want. But you know what? Tough. A fourth straight bowl season is fine and dandy.

Arkansas defense had a good day, not a bad one, against New Mexico State

If you’re expecting the Razorbacks defense to be top 20 again, well, you’re in for some disappointment. If you think it had a bad day, as a whole, against New Mexico State on Saturday, well, you’re just plain wrong.

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads does not have the personnel to turn the Robb Smith-coached defense from a season ago into a world-beater in less than a calendar year. What the players on Rhoads’ defense can do, however, is force the issue.

Arkansas made New Mexico State one-dimensional Saturday and the Aggies could not overcome it. The Razorbacks held a 4,000-yard rusher to less than 50.

New Mexico State isn’t Alabama or Auburn or even LSU (OK, maybe it is as good as LSU this season), but it’s a testament to what the Arkansas defense is, at least, capable of.

ICYMI

Tweets and the like

So… good day for ex-Arkansas tight ends. Both Hunter Henry and A.J. Derby had one-handed touchdown grabs on Sunday. Wild.

Former Arkansas baseball player Jalen Beeks will be in Major League Baseball next season. Maybe not right out of spring training, but after winning Boston Red Sox’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year while in Triple-A ball, it’s going to be hard to keep him out of The Show.

Why are so many high on the 2018 Diamond Hogs? The battery, for starters. Arkansas pitcher Blaine Knight and catcher Grant Koch both cracked the top 100 college prospects list. Knight is in the top 20.

Alex Collins might have found himself a home in Baltimore. Decent day for him — if not his Ravens — on Sunday, it appears.

It isn’t going to be this season, but smart money says Arkansas women’s basketball will be a quality team within three years of the Mike Neighbors era. He inherited a mess, but the Razorbacks will be fun to watch already.

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.

The post Arkansas is fifth best in SEC? The argument can be made appeared first on SEC Country.

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