FAYETTEVILLE — Wondering what kind of job Sam Pittman is doing as head coach of the Razorbacks?

Well, getting ready to start his third season as head coach, Pittman has elevated the Hogs from laughing stock of the SEC to being mentioned by ESPN as a sleeper team to get into the four-team College Football Playoff. No one could have predicted what Pittman would be able to do in two seasons. When one considers the obstacles with COVID he had to overcome his first season makes it even more incredible.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich named seven teams not called Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State that could make a run at the College Football Playoff grouped by each conference. Dinich close Arkansas from the SEC and listed Mississippi State as another school she considered.

Dinich listed Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 1, as the statement game for the Hogs this season. Alabama defeated Arkansas 42-35 in Tuscaloosa last season. Dinich pointed out that was a lot different than the five previous Arkansas games against the Tide.

“The Razorbacks clearly played better than they did in the past five games in the series, which Alabama had won by an average of 34.4 points.”

She listed quarterback KJ Jefferson as a reason to take the Razorbacks seriously. She noted how Jefferson actually elevates his game against the better teams.

As far as the biggest hurdle the Hogs face to make the College Football Playoffs, Dinich listed the No. 13 schedule in the country. Dinich pointed out not only do the Hogs face Alabama and Texas A&M, but also Cincinnati and BYU in addition to Auburn, Mississippi State and the remaining SEC schools.

From the Pac-12 Utah and USC were chosen. Oregon was listed as the team also considered. Baylor got selected in the Big 12 with Oklahoma State also considered. Michigan State was picked in the Big Ten with Wisconsin and Iowa schools also considered. In the ACC, NC State was chosen as a sleeper team to make the playoff with Pitt also considered. Of the Non-Power 5 schools BYU was chosen the sleeper. Cincinnati, UCF and Houston were also considered.

Arkansas hosts Cincinnati on Saturday, Sept. 3, to open the 2022 season. Arkansas will face BYU on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Provo, Utah. The October schedule for Arkansas is brutal. They host Alabama then go to Mississippi State, BYU and Auburn. Arkansas does get a bye week after BYU before heading to Auburn.