2017 Alabama football opponents from worst to best: Arkansas

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FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 3: Head Coach Bret Bielema of the Arkansas Razorbacks greets fans during the walk into the stadium before a game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Razorback Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Each Monday leading up to the 2017 Alabama football season we focus on a Tide opponent from the projected worst team to the best. No. 6 is Arkansas

The rundown of the 2017 Alabama football season started with this report on the Mercer Bears. Then we covered Fresno State, Colorado State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State. and last week Tennessee.

2017 Alabama Football Opponents from Worst to Best

No. 12 – Mercer Bears

No. 11 – Fresno State Bulldogs

No. 10 – Colorado State Rams

No. 9 – Vanderbilt Commodores

No. 8 – Mississippi State Bulldogs

No. 7 – Tennessee Volunteers

No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks – October 14, Tuscaloosa

The 2017 season is important for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. It has been ten seasons since the Hogs have beaten an Alabama football team. Bielema’s success at Wisconsin has not come close to being replicated at Arkansas. His best Arkansas team lost five games in 2015.

Bielema’s Wisconsin teams were known for physical toughness. The 2016 Hogs’ defense did not meet Bielema’s toughness standards.

In 2016, Arkansas gave up an average of 6.75 yards-per-play, last in the SEC. After blowing halftime leads in the last two 2016 games, defensive coordinator Robb Smith was fired. Particularly vexing to Hogs’ fans was the Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech when Arkansas surrendered 56 second half points after a 24-0 halftime lead.

2017 Arkansas Outlook

Normally starter attrition is a problem. The Hogs lost almost the entire front seven from 2016. New and less experienced players will need to step up for the 2017 Paul Rhoades’ defense to improve.

The brightest spots for Arkansas are on offense. The Hogs lost most of the top receivers from 2016 but returning QB, Austin Allen is one of the best in the SEC. Center Frank Ragnow is one of the top offensive linemen in the nation.

Transfer running back, David Williams should fill the void left by Rawleigh Williams giving up football due to injury issues. If the Hogs can give Allen better pass protection than 2016, the 2017 offense could be good.

Overall, there are just too many ‘ifs’ to suggest Arkansas will much better in 2017 than it was in 2016. This fall, Alabama football will make it 11 straight against the Razorbacks.

Check back with us next Monday. From worst to best moves to No. 5 next week. As always, RTR Forever!