Arkansas athletics/courtesy
Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad is SEC Freshman of the Year and Carson Shaddy was first-team All-SEC at second base.

These numbers suggest Arkansas is best team in SEC, country

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.

Look, the Florida Gators are tops in college baseball. No one doubts that. They’re the defending national champions. They spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the land. Florida is the favorite for another college baseball postseason.

You know who else is right there? Your favorite team. Arkansas could lay claim to such a designation, too, if the Diamond Hogs really wanted. And, really, it isn’t a giant stretch.

Arkansas placed four players on the All-SEC first and second teams as released by the conference Monday. Only Florida had more. When one considers the All-SEC Freshman team and All-Defensive team, too, four more Arkansas players were recognized (though only two additional players).

The Diamond Hogs, playing the tougher division — the SEC West — led all SEC teams in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. They struck out the third fewest times and played small ball well, leading the league in sacrifice flies. Pitching-wise, they had the third-best earned run average in the conference and were top 6 in opponents’ batting average against, strikeouts and walks (meaning the fewest walks surrendered).

All the peripherals are there. Any good sports analytics person will tell you, too, those are the types of numbers they consider. Those numbers are a bigger indicator of success than anything else. That’s part of the reason why, on Monday, in this space, it was written it was silly to call Arkansas a terrible road team. Not a thing points in the direction of “terrible.” If anything, unlucky.

Now, though, the peripherals don’t matter. Only wins and losses do. Paper suggests Arkansas is one of the teams to beat, maybe only behind those Gators. Reality may or may not tell a different story.

Arkansas O-line loving Arkansas O-line

Quick. Name the best offensive lineman ever from Arkansas.

Odds are, to answer that, you thought of the best Razorbacks lineman. The thinking being “from Arkansas” means from the University of Arkansas. If so, fair enough. Shawn Andrews is probably the most common answer.

But if we are talking the whole state, they get no better than Willie Roaf. The NFL Hall of Fame member was born in Pine Bluff but played his college football at Louisiana Tech, which is a lot closer to Pine Bluff than Fayetteville. Anyway, Roaf had some good things to say about an ex-Arkansas offensive lineman on Monday.

Former Arkansas lineman Frank Ragnow, who was taken in the first round by the Lions in the draft this spring, can be a Pro Bowl player in a couple of years, Roaf said. What’s even more wild is Roaf didn’t even say at what position. He thinks that highly of Ragnow’s talent and versatility.

Does praise get much higher than that?

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ICYMI

  • The schedule was released for the Arkansas softball team’s trip to the Norman Super Regional this weekend. Arkansas will play Oklahoma a best two-of-three series starting on Friday at 4 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN2.
  • We talked about it last week, about coach Chad Morris’ inherited issues on Arkansas’ special teams. He has De’Vion Warren at kick returner, but that’s about it. Arkansas needs to recruit better for that area.

Tweets and the like

• Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. was off recruiting in the best possible area code Monday.

• Still has those eyes. Bobby Portis is the man.

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