Arkansas and Kansas have not met on the gridiron in a long, long time. How long? Well, the last time the teams played each other, touchdowns were worth 5 points, and end zones were not yet in place. A forward pass caught beyond the goal line resulted in a loss of possession and a touchback.

Yeah, nobody remembers that. Nobody remembers the 2 games these teams have played, both won by Kansas. The Jayhawks won the initial tussle, 6-0, at Fayetteville way back in 1905. The following season, Kansas won again, this time 37-5 in Lawrence.

More than 100 years later, they meet again. The Razorbacks take on the Jayhawks at 4:30 p.m. CST Wednesday in Memphis at the 2022 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Both teams enter the contest with 6-6 records. Kansas will be trying to accomplish its 1st winning season since 2008.

Arkansas is a 3-point favorite to beat Kansas for the 1st time. A high-scoring game is anticipated; the over/under is 68.5.

The Razorbacks have qualified for bowl games in all 3 seasons under head coach Sam Pittman. He’s only the 4th coach in program history to start his tenure with 3 consecutive bowl berths, joining Lou Holtz (1977-82), Ken Hatfield (1984-89) and Houston Nutt (1998-2003).

Unfortunately, in today’s college game, a bowl examination begins with opt-outs and transfer portals. And Arkansas has been active in both. At last count, the Razorbacks will be without 16 players who are either in the transfer portal or have opted out.

The offense is hit hard at wide receiver, with leading receiver Jadon Haselwood opting out. Haselwood led the Razorbacks with 59 receptions after transferring from Oklahoma.

In addition, tight end Trey Knox (South Carolina), Arkansas’ 3rd-leading receiver (26 catches, 296 yards, 5 TDs), and WRs Ketron Jackson Jr. (Baylor) and Warren Thompson have all entered the transfer portal. Jackson and Thompson combined for 28 catches, 455 yards and 5 TDs.

That’s a lot of production that won’t be playing.

The Razorbacks’ offense will also be without All-SEC center Ricky Stromberg (opt-out) and backup quarterback Malik Hornsby (transfer portal). Hornsby threw for 268 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 172 yards, averaging 5.55 yards per carry.

The good news is starting quarterback KJ Jefferson’s announcement that he not only would participate in the bowl game, he will also return to Arkansas next season. If any 1 player can put a team on his back, it’s Jefferson.

Whom he will throw to is another question. Senior Matt Landers, who led the team with 780 receiving yards and 7 TDs, will not only be Jefferson’s main focus but the Kansas defense’s as well. Because after Landers, no Arkansas receiver has more than 8 receptions this season.

A heavy dose of Landers and RB Rocket Sanders out of the backfield can be expected.

Arkansas’ defense is in even more dire straits. Not only is defensive coordinator Barry Odom gone to UNLV to become its head coach, but 2 star linebackers — All-SEC junior Drew Sanders and Bumper Pool, the Razorbacks’ all-time leading tackler — have both opted out.

And that’s just the beginning. Starting DT Isaiah Nichols and safeties Myles Slusher (Louisville) and Khari Johnson (Boston College) sought the transfer portal, as did punter Reid Bauer.

Kansas has its share of injuries, opt-outs and transfers, but nothing like what Arkansas is experiencing.

Prediction: Arkansas 35, Kansas 33

The Razorbacks come into the game having lost 3 of their past 4. Kansas, following a 5-0 start, has dropped 6 of 7. Somebody has to win. It will come down to which team wants it more.

Kansas will score a lot of points. It’ll have to, because the defense is terrible — as in, ranking No. 119 in the nation in scoring defense terrible. And that, despite all of Arkansas’ opt-outs and transfers, will be the difference in the game.