FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Looking back on it, Arkansas Razorbacks senior center Frank Ragnow now believes the Belk Bowl was a blessing.
Yes, that Belk Bowl.
“I think overall it was a blessing to us,” Ragnow said Tuesday following the Hogs’ first 2017 spring practice. “If we had won that game, we would have been all happy high-tailed about it.
“In the end, our goal is to win an SEC championship, not win the Belk Bowl, no offense to that.”
After last season, an SEC championship seems like a pretty distant goal. The Hogs finished 7-6 and 3-5 in SEC play. Their final two games of the season included second-half meltdowns that ended with devastating losses.
Arkansas led Missouri 24-7 at halftime and lost 28-24 in the regular-season finale. Then the Razorbacks blew a 24-0 halftime lead in a 35-24 Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech.
Ragnow had an excellent junior season individually and considered skipping his senior season to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
On offense, Arkansas returns quarterback Austin Allen; running backs Rawleigh Williams III and Devwah Whaley; and several offensive linemen with starting experience.
“I think losing (the Belk Bowl) really opened some eyes to some players who haven’t really bought into the process,” Ragnow said. “So I think it’s been great to see this offseason how much of a step forward we’ve already taken.”