Alabama Football: Toughest Regular Season Games of 2022, Part 3

Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

The SEC West is loaded as usual, and will be an absolute gauntlet even for Alabama football, the class of the league.

No. 3: Arkansas Razorbacks

The Arkansas Razorbacks have a lot of momentum coming off a 9-4 season in Sam Pittman’s second year at the helm. They return several key pieces and have been very active in the transfer portal as they hope to continue the program’s upward trajectory.

Arkansas, like LSU, played Alabama football close in Tuscaloosa last year. This year’s battle, which will be Alabama’s first SEC road test, should be a tough, physical game.

The Hogs should once again feature an imposing run game, with dual threat quarterback KJ Jefferson as the point man and a deep running back rotation. The burly Jefferson totaled over 3,300 yards and compiled 27 touchdowns a year ago.

Arkansas also welcomes in Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood at wide receiver to add a downfield element to the offense. Haselwood is the leading candidate to replace the production of Treylon Burks, a first round draft pick who single-handedly accounted for nearly half of the Razorbacks’ receiving production a year ago.

Burks had immense talent and physical gifts. Even playing through injury, he had his best game against the Crimson Tide, amassing 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

If Arkansas’ offensive structure is going to be similar in 2022, it is a huge ask to expect Haselwood to match Burks’ statistical output. In most cases, SEC defenses are too good to allow an offense to consistently move the ball with only one reliable receiver.

If the Hogs can’t develop some of their younger receivers to generate more contribution, opponents will begin to key on Haselwood and the Arkansas run game.

Former Alabama Football Linebacker Drew Sanders should shine

The Razorback defense should be one of the SEC’s best. It returns Bumper Pool at linebacker and Jalen Catalon in the secondary, and will be bolstered by the addition of former Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders. All three are capable of playing at an All-American level, and should be the leaders of a stingy unit.

Next. Big changes to come from SEC meeting?. dark

I imagine Arkansas will once again be one of the best teams in the SEC. Going to Fayetteville will be a good test for Alabama football early in the conference schedule.