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Red Cup Quick Hits: Arkansas and Vanderbilt

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Whistling and woo’ing is really going to be at a minimum.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The first and only team in our hearts is the Ole Miss Rebels, but we have to always look around the conference to see what everyone else is cooking. Red Cup Quick Hits will take fans through the SEC leading up to season kick-off, so fans will know enough just to survive in the office every day with that other team’s fan that annoys them.

Alphabetical order was my original intent, but the Hogs aren’t deserving of a day all to themselves. Vanderbilt, you can join this group most likely to be dumpster fires this season.

Both of these teams are bad. Vegas has these two squads combined over/under wins at 2.5 and even that seems a little high at first glance. The venerable Bill Connelly at ESPN has both teams as more than a touchdown underdog in every game, and Vanderbilt isn’t projected to come within 12 points of any of its opponents.

They’re projected to be bad, and they’re going to be bad. Arkansas hired a career offensive line coach (albeit a good one), and Vanderbilt’s coach is on the hot seat (though his vest game is fire).

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), these two teams don’t face either other this season. What a sight that would be. The Hogs received perhaps the toughest crossover draw possible—Georgia and Tennessee come to Fayetteville, and then road trips to Florida and Missouri.

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt travels to Texas A&M and Mississippi State and hosts Ole Miss and LSU. Not a bad draw all things considered for the ‘Dores but a tall task nonetheless. The ‘Dores return exactly zero quarterbacks that threw a pass last season, they lose their workhorse Ke’Shawn Vaughn, five of its top eight pass catchers, and six of its nine lineman who started a game in 2019.

It very well could be the worst offense in the Power 5 and that group still features Kansas (who lost at home to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers).

Players to watch

Vanderbilt

DE Dayo Odeyingbo, 6-foot-6, 280-pounds

The edge rusher led the team in tackles for loss last season with 12 to go along with 14 run stuffs. He headlines a group that returns over 99% of its snaps last season. For Vandy to beat its projected one Vegas win, they will need this group to be lights out.

ILB Dimitri Moore, 6-foot-3, 229-pounds

A versatile linebacker—he broke up three passes, had six TFL, and stuffed 12 runs, Moore anchors (heh) the middle of the Commodore defense. Vandy doesn’t really have a strength, but if they did it’s in the linebacker corps. They feature six players that average 6’3.5”, 243 lbs.

Arkansas

QB Feleipe Franks, 6-foot-6, 228-pounds

The Florida transfer had a 24-6 TD-INT ratio in 2018 before a season-ending injury just three games into his 2019 season. He will lead an offense that returns its leading rusher (Rakeem Boyd), top three receivers (Mike Woods, Trey Knox, Treylon Burks), and four starters along the offensive line. The problem won’t be Franks or the offense—they lose 50% of their snaps in the front seven defenders.

ILB Bumper Pool, 6-foot-2, 229-pounds

I know—I just got through saying how bad the Hog defense is, but with a name like Bumper Pool, I had to bring his name to your attention. Pool was second on the team in tackles, second in TFLs, third on the team in run stuffs, and led the team in passes defensed. The defense will still get torched on a weekly basis, but Pool should be a bright spot.

Games they could maybe, possibly win

Arkansas

10/3 at MSU

10/17 Ole Miss

11/28 at Missouri

Vanderbilt

10/10 USC

10/31 Ole Miss

11/14 at Kentucky