A solid Power 5 non-conference win is a boost every college coach in the country dreams of for their team’s resume.

Two programs, Arkansas and TCU, will have a chance to bolster their records and respect among voters Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville. These old Southwest Conference foes battle during Week 2 of the college football season, alongside other great games like Auburn vs. Clemson, Oklahoma vs. Ohio State, Stanford vs. USC and others.

Arkansas-TCU might not steal the majority of the headlines but it should be a tight game, with important implications moving forward. Last season’s matchup didn’t get the credit it deserved for being one of the craziest, most thrilling games of 2016.

Once again, the Razorbacks enter the game unranked. TCU also steps into Razorback Stadium outside the Associated Press Top 25. On Monday afternoon, TCU was listed as a three-point favorite over Arkansas on Bovada.

At this time last season, TCU was No. 15, while Arkansas didn’t crack the AP Top 25. But the Razorbacks pulled off the upset over the Horned Frogs 41-38 in overtime.

Arkansas and TCU each played FCS cupcake teams in Week 1 of 2017. The Horned Frogs smashed Jackson State 63-0, while the Razorbacks blasted Florida A&M 49-7. Now, the teams will face stiffer competition against each other.

The loss vitally affected the Horned Frogs last season. TCU spiraled out of control and finished 6-7, their lowest win total under coach Gary Patterson since 2013.

For Arkansas, this game is an opportunity to beat a quality opponent again and inch closer to cracking the rankings. For TCU, it’s a shot at revenge on the road, plus a win over a SEC opponent to boast of come bowl selection time.

Media members were asked about where this game ranked in importance to both teams. There responses differed in a number of ways, but one thing remained the same. The game isn’t the most significant on either team’s schedule.

Here is what they had to say.


Scottie Bordelon

“I think it’s definitely in the top 2-3 games on Arkansas’ schedule. Grabbing an early-season home win against a quality team is always important. To me, it’s doubly so because Arkansas then heads into a bye week before facing Texas A&M. If Arkansas loses to TCU, then drops another game to the Aggies in Arlington the season could go into a downward spiral. A win vs. TCU just boosts optimism, and that’s what Arkansas needs.”

Otis Kirk

“This will be the first real test for either team following easy wins in openers and important for both teams. It will be a game similar to last year where it may go down to last play to decide who wins. I will go with the Hogs 38-35 in wild one.”

Danny West

“The TCU game is definitely a big one for momentum and perception purposes, but I still point to the A&M game as the biggest one on Arkansas’ schedule. It’s a conference game and the Aggies have won five straight. With Arkansas coming off a bye and A&M so inexperienced in so many places, this year’s game gives the Hogs their best opportunity to finally end the streak and start 1-0 in league play for the first time since 2010.”

My take

The Razorbacks would love to get this win, but it is not the most cruical game on the schedule. I agree with Danny. Texas A&M has to be the game Arkansas coaches, players and fans circled in the offseason.

Unranked TCU also doesn’t hold a candle to a home matchup against Auburn and road trip to LSU, leaving the Horned Frogs as the fourth-most important game on Arkansas’ schedule. Conference games just mean more.


Jeremy Clark

“This game is important for a couple of reasons; first, the Frogs need to prove that they can go on the road and beat a quality opponent. A win at Arkansas could give the team enough confidence to do greater things as the season progresses. Last season in Fort Worth it was a demoralizing loss for the Frogs because they were so close to pulling off a win. Many feel that loss hurt them the rest of the season. Setting the tone early is important. Yes, TCU did have a great first ball game but even Gary Patterson says his team is somewhere in between; he will get a true barometer at Arkansas on Saturday.”

Last season's Arkansas-TCU meeting was the first between the former SWC rivals since 1991.

Billy Wessels

“The simple reason why this game is important for the Horned Frogs is because it’s their best non-conference game and if they can go on a run in the Big 12, it’s their key to finally making the playoff. It’s also a chance to get some revenge for last season. TCU lost three games last season thanks to six missed kicks, the first being a blocked field goal at the hands of the Razorbacks. It’s a good measuring stick for Kenny Hill as well. He looked fine against Jackson State, but so should any Big 12 quarterback. If he doesn’t play well here, fans will clamor for true freshman Shawn Robinson.”

My take

While Patterson and TCU would love to steal a victory from the Razorbacks after last season’s barn burner, there are other more meaningful games they need to win. TCU has a tough schedule, traveling to Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Oklahoma. Even on the road, a win over Arkansas is not more imperative than beating those conference foes.

The Horned Frogs also host West Virginia. A win over the Mountaineers should be more coveted than one over the Razorbacks. Arkansas is about the fifth-most important game on TCU’s schedule.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 ET on CBS.