Arkansas athletics/Courtesy
Jaylen Barford was off for Arkansas on Tuesday night.

Arkansas lost to Kentucky and it’s no big deal so don’t freak out

Eric Bolin

Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.

Don’t freak out. Arkansas is not as good as Kentucky. Arkansas was supposed to lose to Kentucky. On paper.

Well, don’t freak out much. The Wildcats’ 15-point win against the Razorbacks was a little wider than the talent gap between the two teams. Kentucky also entered Tuesday a game behind the Hogs in the SEC standings, so that’s not so good, either. Also, um, Arkansas has some kind of mental block against Kentucky.

The win was Kentucky’s sixth straight win in the series. The last time Arkansas beat the Wildcats, the one and only Bobby Portis was a freshman. It’s been a while.

Truthfully, though, Kentucky played more like it’s capable of less like how it had been playing lately. Arkansas did the same. The Razorbacks were riding high after four straight wins entering the game. Mike Anderson had reached the predicted Hogs win total with four regular-season contests remaining. That in and of itself is impressive. Anything on top of it is gravy.

But it’s hard for fans to think that way. Losses live in the brain longer than wins do. For better or worse, this one is going to linger. What’s perhaps more troubling for Hogs is two of their final three are on the road. Next up is Alabama. In Tuscaloosa.

Arkansas is good. Kentucky is better.

Wideouts about to show out

Color me optimistic about Arkansas football.

Trust me, it was as weird for me to type that as it was for you to read it. Me, Mr. Cynic. But, honestly, I really dig what the Razorbacks have at wide receiver this coming season.

Are there better units in the SEC? Definitely. Is there a ton of top-end talent here? Not especially. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a unit as deep as what Arkansas will be rocking in 2018. Former wide receivers coach Michael Smith — who is now at Kentucky — was arguably the best position coach Bret Bielema had. The group rarely underachieved.

Now it’s time to see what Justin Stepp can do with them. Odds are, good things, as our Trent Shadid wrote Tuesday.

Arkansas baseball gets real this week

The Diamond Hogs thrashed Bucknell last weekend. Now comes a real test.

Arkansas heads on the road for four games this week. Not a short trip. Second week of the season. It’s a test. Consider the opponents, too — Arizona, Cal Poly, San Diego, San Diego State. It isn’t quite LSU, Kentucky, Florida, Texas A&M — but for a February slate of nonconference games, it’s one of the more difficult stretches.

A 2-2 week would be just fine. Arkansas is, on paper, better than all four teams. All four, though, play out West, where it’s never cold enough on campus to force them indoors. Fayetteville, not so much. As such, they could pull a win here or there.

Either way, it will be fun. First game is Wednesday against the Wildcats. Arizona Wildcats, in case you’re tired of hearing about Kentucky.

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  • It isn’t bizarre per se, but it’s unusual for Arkansas. Chad Morris’ plan to have a helicopter to assist in recruiting of football players is certainly … unique.
  • Arkansas baseball actually a fell a spot in one of the six big national polls after the weekend’s performance. Moved up overall, though. Andrew Hutchinson over at 247Sports has a composite.
  • Arkansas women’s track freshman Janeek Brown was named SEC Freshman of the Week after her 8.20-second run in the 60-meter hurdles last weekend. That’s 14th-best in the NCAA and was good enough to win the event at Arkansas’ indoor season finale.

Tweets and the like

More and more Burt Reynolds, man. Or, more specifically this time, Ricky Bobby. If you ain’t first…

If you’re the type to celebrate animal birthdays, here’s a good one for you.

Dave Van Horn and the baseball bunch have a commit.

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.