Ask around and you’ll find Arkansas and LSU still may be the biggest rivalry to the fan base in the Natural State.
The Razorbacks and Tigers have played some classics since Arkansas joined the SEC 25 years ago. And even with LSU the better team most years, Arkansas beat the Bayou Bengals in back-to-back years before the 38-10 beating last season.
The Battle for the Boot is no longer the day after Thanksgiving, so it isn’t the must-see game it used to be. But it’s still awfully important for Arkansas. That’s especially true this season, as the Hogs could be hovering close to bowl-berth territory when they head to Baton Rouge on Nov. 11.
This is how the Tigers and Hogs match up:
Coach: Ed Orgeron (first full season)
Last season: 8-4 (tied for 2nd in SEC West, 5-3)
Plays Arkansas: Nov. 11 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge
2016 by the numbers
- Scoring offense: 28.3 points per game (68th out of 128 FBS teams)
- Passing offense: 190.1 yards per game (101st)
- Rushing offense: 233 yards per game (21st)
- Scoring defense: 15.8 points per game (5th)
- Passing defense: 197.2 yards allowed per game (23rd)
- Rushing defense: 117.3 yards allowed per game (13th)
Remember a couple years ago when some people bandied about that Leonard Fournette might be the best running back in college football in the last 20 years? Then, last year, he was seemingly cast aside by some of those same people who saw Derrius Guice. “Guice is a beast, better than Fournette” they’d say. Well, who knows? People are prone to hyperbole. Truth is, though, at least part of that sentence is true. Guice is a beast. He’s the best running back in the SEC. Running behind one of the best offensive lines in the SEC — nay, nation — will help, too.
LSU’s season will hinge on whether or not it can complete a forward pass. Pretty much since Zach Mettenberger left, the Tigers have been incompetent throwing the ball. As of right now, mid-July, LSU still doesn’t have a quarterback picked out. Could end up being a problem.
If Guice is the best offensive player in the SEC — which he likely is — then Arden Key could very well be the best defensive player. The linebacker is a pass-rushing monster and likely first-round pick come next summer. Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson at cornerback are both potential All-SEC picks, too.
The catch is, LSU lost almost the entire rest of its front seven besides Key. The Tigers are breaking in new bodies all over the place. How quickly they adjust to major SEC roles will determine, ultimately, how far LSU goes this year.
LSU vs. Arkansas positional edges
- Quarterback — Arkansas
- Running back — LSU
- Receivers — Arkansas
- Offensive line — LSU
- Defensive line — LSU
- Linebackers — LSU
- Secondary — LSU
- Special teams — LSU
What SEC Country says about LSU vs. Arkansas
Eric Bolin: LSU’s defense is stout. Again. No shocker there. But, really, it isn’t the Tigers defense that’s been harmful against Arkansas in recent seasons. In fact, the Razorbacks have won two of the last three. Of course, last year it was LSU’s and it was an easy win as Guice and Fournette had their way with a terrible Arkansas front line. Guice is back and better, but LSU is down on the offensive line and out wide, too. Mark me down for better showing than last year, but no W yet.
Prediction: LSU 28, Arkansas 13
Jason Kersey: LSU holds the talent edge and gets the Razorbacks in Baton Rouge. That hasn’t necessarily been a problem for Arkansas in recent years, but at this point — with so many questions about so many position groups — it’s a little tough for me to predict an Arkansas victory. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Prediction: LSU 27, Arkansas 17
Trent Shadid: Expect the blueprint for success at LSU to remain the same in Orgeron’s first full season as head coach. That means a defense filled with NFL talent and a running game (See: Guice) capable of taking over a game. The latter is going to be a major issue for the Hogs unless their run defense is drastically improved from 2016. No post-Alabama hangover for the Tigers this time around, expect a big game from Guice.
Prediction: LSU 21, Arkansas 10
Projected average final score of LSU vs. Arkansas
LSU 25, Arkansas 13
Arkansas’ projected record so far
SEC Country: 5.3-4.6