Hogs head to Dallas for next week’s SEC Media Days

Sam Pittman (UA Athletics photo)

The University of Arkansas announced the contingent that will be representing the Razorbacks next week at the Omni Hotel in Dallas for the 2024 SEC Football Media Days, which runs July 15-18.

Joining fifth year Razorback head coach Sam Pittman will be senior defensive end Landon Jackson for his second appearance at SEC Media Days, junior starting quarterback Taylan Green, and second-year senior, starting wide receiver Andrew Armstrong.

The Razorbacks will appear on Thursday’s final day, however, the exact time when the Hogs and the other squads will appear on stage has not yet been announced.

The SEC Network will be providing daily coverage of the event beginning Monday, July 15.

Jackson (6-7, 262) is an imposing force on the Hogs’ defensive line and is projected to have an All-American type season. He’s the Razorback with the best shot of garnering preseason All-SEC honors next week. The Texarkana native leads returning Razorbacks in tackles for loss (13.5), sacks (6.5), and tackles (44).

Armstrong (6-4, 199) led the Hogs in receptions (56), receiving yards (764), receiving yards per game (63.7) and receiving touchdowns (5) last year. The senior developed into a leader in the spring and is poised perhaps to have an even better season this year with Arkansas offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino calling the plays.

Of course much of Armstrong’s success will depend on the arm of Green (6-6, 223), a transfer from Boise State, whom Petrino hand-picked to recruit to be his quarterback upon his return to the Razorbacks. Armstrong started 22 of 28 games he played for the Broncos and passed for 3,794 yards and 25 touchdowns. He led Boise State to their first Mountain West Conference title since 2019, and he looked impressive at times this spring.

While the Big 12 is having its media days this week in Las Vegas, the SEC shifts its event to the Lone Star State to celebrate Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC.

With Texas and Oklahoma added to the docket, the event expands from three to four days. On Monday, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina will be on the podium. Tuesday will feature Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri and Georgia. On Wednesday, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas will be on tap. The event closes out Thursday with the aforementioned Razorbacks, Texas A&M, Auburn, and Kentucky.

Arkansas Razorbacks 2024 football schedule

Countdown to Kickoff: 51 Days

Aug. 29 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Little Rock
Sept. 7 – at Oklahoma State
Sept. 14 – Alabama-Birmingham
Sept. 21 – at Auburn
Sept. 28 – Texas A&M at Arlington
Oct. 5 – Tennessee
Oct. 12 – Open Date
Oct. 19 – LSU
Oct. 26 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 2 – Ole Miss
Nov. 9 – Open Date
Nov. 16 – Texas
Nov. 23 – Louisiana Tech
Nov. 30 – at Missouri

Adding the Sooners and the Steers to the SEC is a financial boon to the already wealthy league, and we see the sway that the two will have on the conference from the get go.

When Arkansas and South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992, and when Texas A&M and Missouri made the leap in 2012, there was no thought of moving SEC Media Days to Arkansas or South Carolina in 1992 or Houston, Kansas City or St. Louis in 2012 to welcome those teams to the league.

It would have been good PR, but of course SEC Media Days is a much grander circus today than it was when the Gamecocks and Hogs and later Aggies and Tigers joined. The SEC affiliation with ESPN through the SEC Network has lifted the profile of the league, making it an even more profitable venture than it was just a decade ago.

But, while I hate to admit it, it’s a bigger deal for the SEC to lure the Longhorns and the Sooners into the fold. Both have grand football histories that are really only surpassed by Alabama among SEC members.

Unlike Southern Cal and UCLA joining the Big 10, it makes sense for Texas and Oklahoma to join the SEC with both bordering a number of SEC states.

I’m not wise enough to know exactly what adding the two schools will mean to the SEC other than more money and stiffer competition across the board, and unless there are some drastic changes to the way NIL money is flowing from boosters, corporation to programs and to athletes, the Sooners and particularly the Longhorns only stand to be better and better on the field.

Some are already picking Texas to win the SEC this year as well as the national title. Of course, there is a lot of football to be played between now and January, but based on what we know of Texas from last year and what they return, I wouldn’t bet against them making the 12-team playoff or winning the SEC outright.

I imagine when the vote is taken at SEC Media Days that Georgia or Alabama might be media’s pick; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if every every media outlet in Texas didn’t at least try to garner a pass to SEC Media Days, and a portion of them will be allowed to vote in the poll.

Of course, media polls are ultimately meaningless. Games are won through practice and preparation and then play on the field,

No doubt, there will be surprises once the games begin to be played. Some teams will be better than predicted and some will be worse.

I’m not smart enough to tell you which ones. Most believe the SEC will place three to four teams in the 12-team playoff this season. The favorites seem to be Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Ole Miss for those three to four spots.

The good news for Hog fans is that the Razorbacks only play two of these four teams — Ole Miss and Texas. Both games are in November at Razorback Stadium, which means the games could be incredibly meaningful or just another contest to endure before basketball season gets underway.

I hope both are meaningful in what turns out to be a doozy of a season for all Hog fans. After last year’s debacle, Razorbackers are due a rebound season.