Arkansas released its full 2022 football schedule on Tuesday, and to the surprise of no one east of Tulsa, west of Memphis or employed by the SEC office in Birmingham, the Razorbacks once again face what almost certainly will be the nation’s toughest slate.
But, the Hogs do get seven home games in Fayetteville, the most in program history, and for once the open date comes at a potentially strategic time. The Hogs will face six teams currently ranked in the top 20, while two other 2022 opponents currently are receiving votes in the AP poll. SEC home games are Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina, and the Hogs will travel to Starkville, Auburn and Missouri. The season opens on Labor Day weekend with soon-to-be Big 12 member and current top 10 Cincinnati making its first trip to Fayetteville.
The remaining non-con slate is a doozy — the Hogs begin a home-and-home with No. 15 BYU on Oct. 15 in Provo, the program’s first venture to Utah; current FBS independent Liberty, coached by former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and receiving votes in the AP poll, is in Fayetteville on Nov. 5; and perhaps most tantalizing of all, Bobby Petrino brings his high-powered FCS Missouri State Bears to town on Sept. 17.
The term “back story” doesn’t even begin to cover that boiling kettle of soap operatic intrigue.
To summarize, in addition to the usual SEC gauntlet, the Razorbacks will take on two “Power 5” programs currently on an upswing, another dangerous team in Liberty that spent much of last season ranked, and an anything-but-normal “cupcake” in Missouri State. Even though Jeff Long is, ahem, long gone, there’s a good chance Petrino will be a little extra juiced for this one.
In other words, it’s a good thing Sam Pittman has the program’s rebuild ahead of schedule because next season, there are no breathers. None. The Hogs likely will face the nation’s toughest schedule for a third straight year. And I say, bring it.
At least the SEC didn’t find a way to sneak Georgia back onto the schedule, and the open date doesn’t come in week three. So, we’ve got that going for us…
2022 Arkansas Razorback Football Schedule
(home games in caps; start times TBA)
Sept. 3 CINCINNATI
Sept. 10 SOUTH CAROLINA
Sept. 17 MISSOURI STATE
Sept. 24 vs. Texas A&M (Arlington)
Oct. 1 ALABAMA
Oct. 8 at Mississippi State
Oct. 15 at BYU
Oct. 22 open date
Oct. 29 at Auburn
Nov. 5 LIBERTY
Nov. 12 LSU
Nov. 19 OLE MISS
Nov. 26 at Missouri (expected to be moved to Nov. 25)