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Arkansas Razorbacks Football: 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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2013 Arkansas Game Predictions

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

There's no better show in the state of Arkansas than Razorback Football at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium to kickoff yet another season. The entire state of Arkansas is wrapped around one team and entrusts their whole support into every Saturday for this special university. This 2013 season should continue that growth with a dawn of a new era. Hog faithful have been relentlessly supportive in their new head hog Bret Bielema. Since arriving in Fayetteville, the dreams of the school's first SEC championship has been magically appearing in every hog lover's mind, due to the very credible resume that Bielema had shoveled out at his last stop, Wisconsin. Three straight Rose Bowls later, Bielema will get his stiffest coaching challenge this year with his new All-Star studded staff.

Arkansas is leaps and bounds away from winning a national championship like hog legend Frank Broyles endured in the 1964 Cotton Bowl over Nebraska. The team has a punishing smash mouth offense, followed by a bend but don't break mentality on defense from fellow partner for the last three years at Wisconsin, defensive coordinator Chris Ash. The only question left for hog followers will be: can the new Arkansas ringleader get Arkansas back to the 2010 & 2011 regular seasons that Bobby Petrino helped polish?

Nevertheless, who really knows what to expect, but you might as well expect the unexpected. Bret Bielema's first season as Wisconsin's head coach was supposed to be lame with no real expectations. The Badgers were suppose to finish in the lower half of the Big Ten. What did they do? They finished the 2006-07 season 12-1, with a win in the Capital One Bowl against you guessed it... Arkansas.

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Aug. 31- Arkansas 23, Louisiana 14

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Arkansas shouldn't blow their nose at this Louisiana team, especially after back-to-back nine win seasons, resulting in two New Orleans Bowl victories for ULL. This game will mirror Bobby Petrino's first game against Western Illinois in 2008, which came down to the Hogs winning at the last minute. The game will come down to whether the Hogs offensive line can bully their way through a very salty Cajuns defensive line. Brandon Allen is the man in Fayetteville now, but the offense won't have to lean on him for all the answers, that massive line will pack the punch in the 90 plus degree heat.

Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway will be more assertive in the passing game, but that doesn't signal a good thing, the Razorbacks secondary are an easy answer to the most improved group from last year. The Hogs were 113th nationally in defensive pass efficiency, much to do with that secondary. Talent is talent and Arkansas has enough to get Bielema's first win as the Hogs skipper.

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Sept.7- Arkansas 52, Samford 9

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas will be by far Samford's best opponent on their schedule, with the second best being Georgia Southern. Arkansas should expect more than 200 rushing yards from Jonathan Williams and his sidekick freshman phenom Alex Collins. Samford will not be able to clear space on that intriguing top three SEC defensive line. Chris Smith and Trey Flowers will pad their stats from last season in this particular contest, both combined for 15.5 sacks in Arkansas' turmoil 2012 season.

Bret Bielema will get a masterful performance from his redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen. Expect Allen to throw for more touchdowns here than at any point in 2013--a career high yardage sum from Allen and a season high rushing figure from that bruising offense. Arkansas should be able to carve up the Bulldogs from start to finish. Samford head coach and 1972 Heisman trophy winner Pat Sullivan will be shutout until early in the fourth quarter. The Hogs score 50 or more points for the first time since the 2011 New Mexico game, which was also in Little Rock.

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Sept. 14- Arkansas 38, Southern Miss 13

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Arkansas faces more than enough wide open spread offenses during the season, which is less fortunate for their defense. Hogs defensive coordinator Chris Ash's reputation as a great in-game adjuster should minimize quarterback Cole Weeks ability to execute plays in Todd Monken's wide open attack. Linebackers Jarrett Lake and Austin Jones may claim one of their better performances of the year, Eagles running back Kendrick Hardy won't be elusive enough to get tough yardage against a much improved defense from Week 1.

Arkansas insists on clock management and ball security, we will see if that will equate them to protect leads like the one they will be playing with in this contest. Hunter Henry might break the freshman record in catches in a game during this one. Allen has to expect a heavy cushion given to the Little Rock freshman. The game will certainly be mop up duty for quarterback A.J. Derby and the rest of the second teamers. The Hogs could be playing a ravaged Eagles bunch, that's railing over 14 straight defeats coming into the game.

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Sept.21- Arkansas 30, Rutgers 24

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Scarlet Knights went down to the wire against another very veteran oriented Fresno State team this week. It doesn't matter how experienced you are, if you are Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, Arkansas' offense will begin to really gel after this even bigger statement game in Jersey. Expect placekicker Zach Hocker to boot three field goals and the defense to force takeaways on the ground and through the air.

Conservative play calling by Jim Chaney will wear down this Rutgers defense with continuous pounding of the rock. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova isn't going to see green pastures, he'll have to do it with his arm, allowing for Ash to blitz him from field side. The Scarlet Knights will have no answer from their defensive front in this game, as Razorback runners will scramble for over 200 yards once again. The Hogs will be 4-0 for the first time since 2003 and prepare for Johnny Football's circus coming to Fayetteville the next week.

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Sept.28- Texas A&M 30, Arkansas 17

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Aggies will spoil a possible top 25 seeding for Arkansas with a win here at a hostile Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Hogs will see the bright spot of their future, with a tremendous showing by the young secondary. Safety Rohan Gaines will begin a major coming out party, diagnosing and drawing out Manziel's ability to maneuver on the outside. Come the offseason, folks in Arkansas will be calling Gaines by Rohan.

Arkansas starts murderers row with a souring conclusion. The difference will be A&M's ability to turn it on with their trio of running backs Trey Williams, Ben Malina and Tra Carson. Offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney will have fun picking apart the Hogs linebackers with screens and draws in the running game. Manziel will not get it out on a swivel to his best playmaker receiver Mike Evans. Arkansas has such an advantage slashing up the middle with the Aggies' holes, remember A&M is replacing Damontre Moore and Sean Porter.

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Oct.5- Florida 19, Arkansas 10

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Head hog Bret Bielema will get this team back to work with much better focus, coming off a hard fought A&M home game the week before. Arkansas will stay in this game based on just being turnover free, the Razorbacks last season handed over the ball 31 times to their opponents 12. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel only threw five picks all of 2012. With not a lot of superb targets on his side, look for Arkansas to get opportunities for takeaways based on the Florida quarterback forcing the issue.

The potential night game on the first of October has a lot of buzz, because it's Florida's so called tuneup for their next appearance at LSU. Arkansas will not be able to make enough plays to sting the most overrated of the SEC giants.

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Oct.12- Arkansas 28, South Carolina 24

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

This is the easiest upset to forecast in the whole SEC league schedule. This will be the last year that both teams play as crossover rivals. Arkansas and old Cocky has played in every season since both joining the league in 1992. Steve Spurrier's two quarterback operation will struggle mightily towards the passing game due to the Hogs' ruckus environment. Just like the season opener against Louisiana, there will not be an empty seat to be had during this crucial game.

Arkansas will offset Jadeveon Clowney with their running game, and he will for sure take plays off like what we saw in the UNC game. Arkansas' style allows for them to stub someone's toe that's a high velocity scorer. Arkansas goes on a 14-0 run to squeak by this well coached team. This will make four straight in Fayetteville for Arkansas against Carolina.

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Oct.19- Alabama 31, Arkansas 14

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas, being the only team in the SEC coming into this season to replace their top passer, rusher and receiver, will definitely show some flaws when they meet the defending national champions. Nick Saban will not let Arkansas do what they do best when push comes to shove. Starting fullback Kiero Small will get extensive carries at running back. Arkansas, no mistaking will push the envelope, forcing defensive backs in the box. Arkansas will get more than 200 yards of total offense, but getting to 172 rushing yards like the 2006 meeting is too tall of a task for the first year staff. We will see a 65 yard score from the legs of freshman sensation Alex Collins.

The defense will be up to the challenge, and will scratch the surface containing running back T.J. Yeldon. Alabama separates from Arkansas in the later quarters and gets another W in the win column for their undefeated regular season.

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Nov.2- Arkansas 35, Auburn 20

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Everybody will want to talk about the dispute between Bielema and Auburn's Gus Malzahn about their views on the up-tempo spread offenses around college football, which they should. Needless to say, a bowl spot will be on the line taking the storyline off both coaches. Trey Flowers will again explode off the edges, he could go for 3.5 sacks on Nick Wallace like he did against the Tigers last season.

Arkansas has won the last four out of the last five meetings between the two. Brandon Allen, if patient, can rock the boat downfield to Julian Horton and company in the passing game. The win will leave Hog goers with a mild celebration, being bowl eligible after a daunting 2012 for the program. Old school beats the new school, and this game will give us a lot to talk about over the summer. Arkansas travels to Jordan Hare for Week 1 of the 2014 college football schedule.

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Nov.9- Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 17

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss will jump on top right out of the gate and never relinquish their lead. Ole Miss' pace in their hurry up offense will be a nightmare waiting to happen for the Hogs defense. Ole Miss' main production offensively will come from shifty receivers Laquan Treadwell and Donte Moncrief. Bo Wallace will basically go window shopping, trading blows with the Hogs secondary for three touchdown connections.

I think if these teams played 10 times, each one of them would win five each. That's how even both will be compared to others in the West. Both programs are going in right directions, and this game could decide which quarterback between Wallace and Brandon Allen gets selected first team All-SEC by the media and coaches. The SEC will lose more than half their starting quarterbacks to graduation after this season. Allen, with an injury prone receiving corps, will need a solid running game to set up the play action pass in 2013.

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Nov.23- Arkansas 28, Mississippi State 17

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The Hogs didn't win a single game at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock in 2012. Arkansas will accomplish the norm here sweeping two games in the capital city. Arkansas will already be bowl eligible, but with this win Arkansas would see even more momentum for the program, after winning every home game but that circus with Johnny Football. Arkansas will baffle this new look secondary that the Bulldogs present. Former Hogs Jarius Wright and Joe Adams' understudies, Javontee Herndon and Julian Horton will put the Dogs' back four on their heels from the word go. Horton and Herndon will be the recipients of 50 plus yard touchdown strikes.

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Nov.29- LSU 24, Arkansas 17

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

The Razorbacks will go into Baton Rouge after an impressive win the week before against Mississippi State. Bret Bielema's power running game will work throughout the season, but not on this day after Thanksgiving. The Tigers will knock the stuffing out of Jim Chaney's attempts to run the ball early. Brandon Allen will throw a 40-yard strike to Javontee Herndon as he beats the tight man-to-man coverage against Jalen Mills. Alfred Blue will scamper for a seven-yard touchdown to tie it at seven. Mettenberger will then hook up Ordell Beckham for a nine yard strike going into half.

Collins, who starts to run with authority in the second half, will bolt for a 33-yard touchdown to tie the game. The Tigers will become the hammer in the third quarter capping off a 17 play drive with a QB sneak by Mettenberger from the two. The Razorbacks lose in a back and forth affair late, which writes them their fifth loss of the season.

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Dec.30 (Music City Bowl) Arkansas 24, North Carolina 21

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas will have a Christmas Day feast five days late, with that brilliant rushing duo of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins bolstering a great rushing attack against a solid defensive effort made by UNC. Williams and Collins will cruise for 100 yards behind their senior captain and first All-SEC center Travis Swanson. Arkansas will feed their bell cow Kiero Small at the goal line twice. Brandon Allen will hit tight end Alex Voelzke in stride to tie the game at 21 with two minutes and a half to go.

Arkansas will get a key stop from a vastly improved secondary and linebacker group on North Carolina's final drive. All-SEC defensive end Chris Smith, the North Carolina native, will create havoc for one of the best tackles in the game, James Hurst, during that series. Smith sacks Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner on a third down and four attempt to get the ball back in the hands of Brandon Allen. Allen and the offense march it down to the North Carolina 27 yard line, and a 44 yard field goal goes right down the pipe from senior kicker Zach Hocker.