This Arkansas (2-0, 0-0) team is still not the Razorbacks of 2012, but Bret Bielema and company have a lot of work to do before regaining the program’s status as a contender in the SEC West. Sure, the Hogs are now 2-0 and quarterback Brandon Allen was able to calmly take a knee at the end of a 31-21 victory over Samford (1-1) Saturday night. But Arkansas had to come back from a 21-17 deficit to avoid an early blemish on its record, and that’s cause for concern.
Bielema said after the Razorbacks’ Week 1 blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette (0-2, 0-0) that his young team wasn’t ready to beat SEC opponents. Well, it now appears Week 2 has validated that opinion. It was all Arkansas could do to beat Samford, a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Luckily, the Razorbacks don’t have to beat an SEC opponent – at least not for another two weeks. Dead-on-arrival Southern Miss (0-2, 0-0 and losers of 14-straight) come calling this weekend, followed by a trip to Rutgers (1-1, 0-0) Sept. 21. But then, on Sept. 28, it’s reality-check time in the form of No. 6 Texas A&M (2-0, 0-0).
What to look for in Week 3: What is the trajectory of this team – up or down? If Arkansas follows its less-than-stellar performance against Samford by struggling against Southern Miss – one of the most down-and-out programs in Football Bowl Subdivision – it could signal another long season in Fayetteville. But if the Razorbacks come out and win convincingly, there will be more reason to believe the Samford game was an anomaly and not a revelation.