What’s not to love about supreme optimism?

It’s the best time of the year for college football fans, especially those favoring the SEC. Dreams of a national championship aren’t yet crushed and homers abound can all take a stab at guessing wins and losses on their respective team’s schedule.

‘Best Case Scenario’ Series

  • Aug. 12: Vanderbilt
  • Aug. 13: Mississippi St.
  • Aug. 14: Tennessee


2013 record: 3-9, 0-8
2014 best case: 7-6, 3-5
Closer look: No one’s claiming the schedule’s favorable in the stacked SEC West, but glancing at the Razorbacks’ non-conference slate, there’s two matchups that should equal double-digit wins. Getting five more victories to equal the projected seven would feature a couple upsets along the way and a lower-tier bowl win. A best case 3-5 mark in the SEC means the Razorbacks would have to take three out of four from Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi St. and Mizzou. Is that manageable? It would take some luck. Bret Bielema’s a proven winner and has said throughout the offseason that he’s confident Arkansas will have a better football team this fall. Whether or not that reveals itself as wins remains to be seen.
Silver lining: If you take into consideration what Arkansas will do well this season — running the football and commanding respect along the defensive front four — then the Razorbacks could be a formidable threat with a few breaks. Those are both key elements in winning football games in the SEC. The ultimate wildcard however is Brandon Allen and whether or not he has developed into a reliable starting quarterback. He was unable to get the Razorbacks out of binds last season and when early deficits in games mounted, the offense spiraled out of control. Allen’s improvement is vital to this team’s success.