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NCAA Football Arkansas RazorbacksSEC Football

Arkansas Razorbacks: Bret Bielema Faces Brutal Schedule in First Year

Beth Hall, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Arkansas Razorbacks hope the 2013 campaign is a season of change in Fayetteville. New head coach Bret Bielema takes over a program that struggled mightily last season, posting a disappointing 4-8 record after being picked in the Top 10 nationally in most preseason polls.

The Razorbacks will also be replacing record-setting quarterback Tyler Wilson in 2013. Brandon Allen appears to be the man that will be behind center this season, and much will be expected from him.

Arkansas also must replace several key cogs on offense, including running backs Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson.

Bielema faces a very tough schedule in his first season in the Southeastern Conference. Arkansas opens its campaign with home games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Samford and Southern Miss. The Razorbacks then hit the road to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

The SEC opener against the Texas A&M Aggies is next on the slate, followed by an October 5 trip to the Swamp to face the Florida Gators. The brutal stretch of games continues the next week with a home contest against the South Carolina Gamecocks. That game is followed by a trip to Tuscaloosa to face the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.

After what will be a much-needed week off, Arkansas hosts the Auburn Tigers, visits the Ole Miss Rebels, hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs and visits the LSU Tigers.

If Bielema and his new team can win all four of the non-conference games on the schedule, they would only need to come up with two more wins to get to the postseason. The most likely wins are the home game against Auburn and one of the two Mississippi schools.

The schedule is especially tough in 2013 because the SEC East opponents, Florida and South Carolina, will be two of the three best teams in that division. If Bielema can get his team to the postseason, he will have done an outstanding job in his inaugural season in the South.