Arkansas’ 2020 Football Schedule Will Present Challenges for New Coach

Pig Trail Nation

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas hasn’t had a Power 5 non-conference game since TCU in 2017, but that will change in 2020.

The fact Arkansas hasn’t had such opponent isn’t its fault. Michigan canceled a two-game series with the Hogs and it caused them to scramble to fill the spots on the schedule.

Next fall, Arkansas will be at Notre Dame on Saturday, Sept. 12. It will mark the first time the two schools have ever met in football. Notre Dame (8-2) is currently ranked No. 16 in the College Football Rankings. Notre Dame will return the game and come to Fayetteville in 2025.

The new coach and the Razorbacks will open 2020 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium when they host Nevada on Sept. 5. Nevada is currently 6-4 and has games remaining against Fresno State and UNLV. Nevada is a dangerous opponent. They opened the 2019 season with a 34-31 win over Purdue. They beat San Jose State 41-38. The losses have been to Oregon (77-6), Hawai’i (54-3), Utah State (36-10) and Wyoming (31-3).

Arkansas will open SEC play on Sept 19 when they travel to Starkville to face Mississippi State in Davis Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs are 4-6 and defeated the Hogs 54-24 on Nov. 2. Mississippi State owns a three-game winning streak over the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ last win in the series came in 2016 when they blasted the Bulldogs 58-42 in Davis Wade Stadium. Arkansas’ last two wins in the SEC have come in Mississippi. The Hogs beat Ole Miss in 2017 for their lone win in the SEC that season.

The following Saturday Arkansas and Texas A&M will battle once again in AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas A&M is 7-3 on the season, but faces battles the next two weekends when they go to Georgia and then at LSU. That is the two teams at the top of the current standings in the SEC. A&M is on a nice streak against the Hogs winning the past eight games. Arkansas hasn’t won since Bobby Petrino and his Hogs had a great second-half comeback and escaped with a 42-38 victory in 2011. But most of the games have been very close with Arkansas having a chance to win some of them, but the Aggies finding a way to hang on and escape.

The old good news, bad news applies to Arkansas’ 2020 schedule. The good news is all the game are in Fayetteville. The bad news is Alabama, LSU and Tennessee are among the teams they play.

Before that three-game stretch, the Hogs will host Charleston Southern on Oct. 3. They are currently 5-6 this season. Among their losses was a 72-10 one to South Carolina in the second week of the season. They started the season 0-4, but have rebounded and now won the past three games. They will host Campbell on Saturday to end the regular season.

Alabama heads to Razorback Stadium on Oct. 10. The Hogs lost to the Tide 48-7 this season. Arkansas hasn’t won in this series since 2006 when Houston Nutt’s team won 24-23 in two overtimes. Alabama is 9-1 this season and has Western Carolina this week before heading to Auburn on Nov. 30.

LSU then comes into Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Oct. 17. The Tigers are currently the No. 1 team in the nation sporting a 10-0 mark. The Hogs will face them on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Arkansas’ last win in this series was 2015 in Baton Rouge when Bret Bielema’s Hogs handed the Tigers a 31-14 defeat. It was one of the more impressive performances for Arkansas under Bielema. They dominated LSU from start to finish in a night game there which is a rarity. LSU always has a good crowd, but they are known for their rowdy ones at night providing a great homefield advantage for the Tigers.

Following a bye week on Oct. 24, Arkansas will then host Tennessee on Oct. 31 to finish out the month. The Vols replace Kentucky on Arkansas’ schedule . Tennessee started the 2019 season looking as if Jeremy Pruitt might be doomed as coach. However, they have turned it around and won three games in a row to get to 5-5. They face a challenge on Saturday when they play at Missouri and then will end the regular season on Nov. 30 by hosting Vanderbilt. Tennessee needs to win one of those games to be bowl eligible, but they are very capable of winning both. The last time these two teams played was in 2015 when the Hogs won 24-20 in Knoxville.

Arkansas will head to Auburn on Nov. 7 to take on Gus Malzahn’s squad in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn has won the past four games in this series. Arkansas’ last win came in 2015 when they took a thrilling 54-46 four-overtime battle in Razorback Stadium. Auburn is 7-3 on the season with home games remaining against Samford and Alabama. Auburn defeated Arkansas 51-10 on Oct. 19.

On Nov. 14, Arkansas will play host to Ole Miss. The Rebels are currently 4-7 with the Egg Bowl left against Mississippi State on Thursday, Nov. 28, in Starkville. They beat the Razorbacks 31-17 on Sept. 7 in Oxford. Arkansas’ last win in SEC play came in Oxford on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, when Connor Limpert kicked a field goal on the last play of the game for a 38-37 victory.

Louisiana-Monroe will then be in Fayetteville on Nov. 21 for a non-conference game. The Hogs are 9-1 against ULM, but everyone remembers the lone loss. It came in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock when ULM stunned No. 8 Arkansas and John L. Smith 34-31 in overtime on Sept. 8, 2012. That was the last time the two teams have played. The Warhawks are currently 4-6 with games remaining against Coastal Carolina and Louisiana. In most of their losses, they have been competitive. They fell to Florida State 45-44 in overtime and Arkansas State escaped with a 48-41 victory over them. Iowa State (72-20), Memphis (52-33) and Appalachian State (52-7) have handed them one-sided losses.

Arkansas and Missouri will end the regular season on, for now, Saturday, Nov. 28 (likely moved to Nov. 27) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Hogs and Missouri will battle on Black Friday in War Memorial Stadium. It will be nationally televised by CBS with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m. Missouri started 2019 on a roll at 5-1. However, they now are 5-5 with Tennessee coming to Columbia on Saturday and then facing the Hogs in Little Rock. Arkansas’ last win in this series 28-3 came in 2015 on a cold, rainy day in Razorback Stadium.

This will be a challenging schedule for the new coach, but any coach who signs up to be in the SEC probably isn’t afraid of a tough slate of games.

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