FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Zero conference games have been played in the SEC. Even if Arkansas has not met expectations through two games, it doesn’t mean they won’t. The reverse also holds. If Arkansas had blasted TCU in Week 2, it wouldn’t have meant the Razorbacks are on their way to great things.
What matters for a team like Arkansas is what is accomplished during league play. Those are the teams against which it will be compared. Right now, only two weeks into the season and with no head-to-head matchups, it’s impossible to tell how they rank against each other.
We can surmise, though.
This is where Arkansas stacks up, team-wise, against the rest of the SEC.
- Scoring offense: 28 points per game (10th in the SEC)
- Scoring defense: 17.5 ppg (8th in the SEC)
- Rushing offense: 182.5 yards per game (8th)
- Rushing defense: 137.5 ypg (10th)
- Passing offense: 158.5 ypg (10th)
- Passing defense: 130.5 ypg (5th)
Nothing stands out as awful. The passing defense is the biggest outlier on the board and it’s an outlier toward the positive. Yet the consternation about the state of the Razorbacks is at a boiling temperature.
As mentioned above, the numbers don’t mean anything. They may be reflective of a trend and a likelihood by season’s end, but they may not. Everything is dependent on the strength of your non-conference opponents.
For example, Arkansas has played one FCS team which should have skewed their offensive numbers higher and their defensive ones lower. After that came a top-25 Big 12 school, so one might have figured those rankings after Week 1 to take a bit of a dive. And that’s what happened.
But what of a team like Auburn, which played an easy Sun Belt opponent followed by the defending national champions? How about South Carolina and Missouri? They’re the only two SEC teams who have faced each other yet, so how do their numbers compare?
Individually, it’s tougher. One could look at Arkansas and say the Razorbacks have three rushers inside the top 21 in the league. Flip it on its head and it can be said the Razorbacks don’t have a single rusher inside the top 14 in the league, a league that is comprised of 14 teams.
Austin Allen is 10th in the SEC in passing yards. Just behind him are Jarrett Stidham of Auburn and Jalen Hurts of Alabama. Those two were largely expected to be the first- and second-team All-SEC quarterbacks this year. Allen was expected to be third. Yet they linger nearly the bottom of the conference (Hurts probably will all year).
The grander point is not to over estimate the importance of statistical rankings. Let every team in the league work through a couple conference games. Let things even out. Then, after that, six games or so, we can establish a trend.