It’s time to call a spade, a spade: Arkansas football is in a rut. In fact, it’s worse than that. They’re a borderline laughingstock in the SEC.
The Razorbacks have not only finished below .500 in each of the past three seasons, but they’re working off consecutive 2-10 campaigns. Their latest months-long egg ended up costing head coach Chad Morris his job. He left with two games remaining on the 2019 season’s schedule, both of which were helmed by Barry Lunney Jr., and both of which were losses.
Arkansas has since tabbed Sam Pittman to be Morris’ permanent successor. Pittman was most recently the associate head coach and offensive line coach at Georgia. Many around college football fancy him a top-shelf recruiter, as well as one of the best offensive line minds in the country.
The hope is that Pittman will be able to turn around Arkansas in something of a hurry. Schools target great recruiters so they can get back on track quickly. And with the Razorbacks having failed to make a Bowl Game in each of the past three seasons, you can bet that’s exactly what is happening here.
Unfortunately, though, a quick turnaround appears unlikely. Expedited rebuilds are possible, but Arkansas is working their way out from quite a deficit. They ranked 110th in points scored per game and 124th in points allowed per game last year. They can’t just climb their way out of that hole.
Experts aren’t looking to fondly upon the latest recruiting class, either. The folks over at 247 Sports have them checking in at 11th in the SEC, a conference that includes 14 teams.
It used to be that Arkansas was a semi-maintain. At the very least, you know they were going to finish above the Vanderbilts and the South Carolinas of the conference. That they’ve dipped below both universities in status is quite the gut punch.
Righting the ship now falls to Pittman, who worked on Arkansas’ staff between 2013 and 2015, before leaving to take his last post at Georgia. And there is an element of “Things cannot get any worse” at play, but the road back to contention or anything resembling it is rife with twists and turns.
To be honest, Arkansas’ biggest problem isn’t even one they can really reconcile. They’re in the nation’s most difficult conference, one that includes LSU, Alabama, and Auburn. Even the best recruiter ever would have a tough time outselling those powerhouses.
Maybe Pittman’s time with the program will be different. At the bottom, his era should go better than that of Morris, who left the school with an abysmal 4-18 record. So keep your eyes peeled in Arkansas. They’re fighting one of college football’s most uphill battles.