Coming into the 2020 college football season, there was no hope for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The team returned a few players with valuable playing experience and we hired a coach, Sam Pittman, that was given a C- ranking by CBS Sports.

Things didn’t look very optimistic for the program.

The Razorbacks were looking for a head coach, but so was Ole Miss, Mississippi State and then Missouri.

Arkansas had courted Lane Kiffin and Hog Nation thought it was a done deal. Kiffin would be a Razorback.

Kiffin sized up the situation in Fayetteville and then bolted to Oxford and Mississippi.

Mississippi State hired Mike Leach. Leach is the king of one-liners in the coaching world. He probably writes dad jokes on the side.

Missouri hired Eli Drinkwitz, who is a graduate of Alma High School.

All of the football experts stated that Arkansas had the fourth best hire in the group.

Each team just completed a season and where do we stand?

Leach and Mississippi State opened the season with a win over the defending national champions in LSU.

Arkansas then defeats Mississippi State the next week.

Ole Miss just came off a loss to Alabama before playing Arkansas. The Rebels had 647 yards of offense against the team that is playing for the national championship on Monday — provided Ohio State will play.

Arkansas beats Ole Miss after making the Rebels look silly.

Of course, we losing to Missouri after a last second field goal after leading most of the day. We also did this with a backup quarterback.

So, on the field of play, Arkansas won the coaching search from last year.

Let’s look at finishing in the league race.

Missouri finished 5-5, Ole Miss 4-5 and Mississippi State and Arkansas 3-7.

Misery plays in the East and had an easy schedule.

The other three teams play in the West. Ole Miss had South Carolina and Vanderbilt as well as Kentucky on the schedule.

Mississippi State got Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Georgia while Arkansas played Florida, Georgia, Tennessee.

The schedule did not favor Arkansas. It was one of the top 10 toughest schedules in college football. The officiating did not favor Arkansas in two contests this year. One to the point of taking a win away from the Hogs and one may have effected the outcome.

So I guess that Missouri wins the conference finish portion of the pageant.

Now, who recruited better?

Recruiting is not an exact science, but the four schools are ranking from 7-10 by sources in the SEC.

Arkansas’ recruiting placement was hurt some by the fact that the Hogs signed linemen. Offensive linemen are very, very important in the game, but they are not the glamour positions in recruiting. Quarterbacks, receivers, running backs are the glory positions that elevate recruiting rankings.

247 Sports ranked Ole Miss as the seventh best recruiting 2021 class in the SEC. Arkansas was eighth; Missouri ninth; and Mississippi State 10th.

Nationally, the 247 group ranked Mississippi State 35th; Missouri 27th; Arkansas 20th; and Ole Miss 18th.

Rivals had the same four schools ranked 7-10 in the SEC with Arkansas and Missouri changing places. All four schools were top 25 in the nation.

Overall, I feel that Arkansas did the best job recruiting of the four schools.

Who cares about my rankings? No one.

Am I a homer? Probably.

But when you throw both Tennessee schools (Vandy and UT), both Mississippi schools, Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina together, the Hogs can technically be considered one of the schools in the top half of the SEC.

I may be grasping at straws, but I so want Arkansas to be important in the SEC.

Jeff Brasel is the sports editor of the Newton County Times. E-mail him at sports@newtoncountytimes.com or follow him at twitter.com/jeffbrasel.

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