Arkansas’ second game, however, has a little more riding on it. And the outcome isn’t as certain.
Part II of SEC Country’s summertime predictions continues Tuesday with TCU. For the next two-plus weeks, Monday through Friday, we will preview each opponent on the Arkansas schedule. Each piece will include opponent previews and predictions from each of our writers.
Without further ado:
Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Conference: Big 12
Coach: Gary Patterson (17th season, 149-54 overall)
Last season: 6-7, 4-5 in Big 12 (fifth), lost to Georgia in Liberty Bowl
Plays Arkansas: Sept. 9, 2:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. ET, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville
2016 By the Numbers
- Scoring offense: 31 points per game (52nd out of 128 teams in FBS)
- Passing offense: 268.2 yards per game (29th)
- Rushing offense: 195 yards per game (t-46th)
- Scoring defense: 28 points per game (64th)
- Passing defense: 238.9 yards allowed per game (77th)
- Rushing defense: 185.8 yards allowed per game (73rd)
Two years ago Kenny Hill was the reason the Razorbacks lost. Last year Kenny Hill was the reason the Razorbacks won. The Texas A&M-come-TCU quarterback had an absolutely stellar game against the Bret Bielema’s bunch last year numbers-wise. But an ill-timed taunting penalty set up an Arkansas score and ultimately the Hogs won 41-38 in overtime to jump into the top 20. Hill can sling it, though he’s prone to poor decisions. What’s more difficult for Arkansas to contend with will be Hill’s feet as he is always a running threat.
Making matters more difficult is Kyle Hicks. A weapon on the ground and in the air, Hicks scored two touchdowns on the ground and caught another 8 balls for 92 yards against Arkansas last season. Hicks is a legitimate second-team All-Big 12-type back. KaVontae Turpin is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound slot guy who would have led TCU in catches last season had he not only played in eight games. Starting wideouts Taj Williams and John Diarse are also back. Throw in a TCU offensive line that returns four starters and the Horned Frogs are stacked offensively.
The beginning of Patterson’s tenure at TCU was all about defense. The last four or five years, however, that’s changed. Offense has become the calling card of the Big 12 and TCU is no different. That said, on paper, this appears to be the Horned Frogs’ best since those stalwart days.
The Frogs are loaded at linebacker and in the secondary. Travin Howard (first-team All-Big 12) and Ty Summers (second-team All-Big 12) lead the linebacking corps, while all five starters are back in the defensive backfield. Up front is a bit of a different story as the dangerous Aaron Curry is gone. Everyone else is back, though, and Arkansas had real problems keeping quarterback Austin Allen upright last season.
TCU vs. Arkansas positional Edges
- Quarterback — Arkansas
- Running back — TCU
- Receivers — TCU
- Offensive line — TCU
- Defensive line — Arkansas
- Linebackers — TCU
- Secondary — Arkansas
- Special teams — TCU
What SEC Country says about TCU vs. Arkansas
Eric Bolin: TCU is picked anywhere between second and seventh in the Big 12. Arkansas has a similarly nebulous projected outcome. Two teams that deserve each other, certainly. Should be a joy to watch again. Just think it goes the other way this tome as the Frogs have too much firepower.
Prediction: TCU 31, Razorbacks 27
Jason Kersey: This will be a major test for [Arkansas defensive coordinator] Paul Rhoads’ new defense. I expect the game will be high scoring and close like last year. I’ll go with the Hogs.
Prediction: Razorbacks 42, TCU 35
Trent Shadid: This matchup surely can’t replicate the excitement it generated last season, can it? I doubt it, but there shouldn’t be much to separate these teams once again. I’ll give Arkansas a touchdown edge because I think TCU’s defense will have significant holes again this season and I’ve never trusted Hill.
Prediction: Razorbacks 35, TCU 28
Projected average final score of TCU vs. Arkansas
Arkansas’ projected record so far
SEC Country: 2-0