FAYETTEVILLE — ESPN’s David M. Hale has rated 131 college football teams in tiers as we near the 2022 season.

Hale placed Arkansas in Tier 6 which is supposedly the under-the-radar gems. With Arkansas is BYU, Cincinnati, Iowa, Ole Miss and Pitt. Here’s what Hale wrote about this tier.

“This tier was a combined 63-18 last year. Cincinnati made the playoff. Pitt went to a New Year’s Six bowl. Iowa was ranked as high as No. 2. Arkansas, BYU and Ole Miss spent time in the top 10, too. And yet, none are getting much respect as real playoff contenders this year. True, each team lost some important players, but they all return their fair share of talent, too. So while teams like USC, Miami and Texas spent the offseason more popular than an inanimate carbon rod, it’s about time the teams in this tier earned some respect, too.”

In Tier 1 was Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State. Tier 2 has Oklahoma, Michigan, Notre Dame and Clemson. Tier 3 is composed of NC State, Texas A&M, Utah and Wisconsin. Tier 4 Miami, USC and Texas. Then Tier 5 includes Baylor, Houston, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Wake Forest.

So ESPN has four SEC schools ahead of the Hogs and another, Ole Miss, in the same tier. Arkansas also opens against Cincinnati on Sept. 3 and plays at BYU on Oct. 15.

In Tier 7 just behind Arkansas’ group Hale has Mississippi State, Tennessee, Oregon, Minnesota and Purdue. Auburn, Florida and LSU are in Tier 8. South Carolina is in Tier 12 and Missouri in Tier 14. Vanderbilt is the final SEC school and in Tier 20.