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ATLANTA — The Arkansas Razorbacks won more games last season at 9-4 than they had in the previous three years combined by two games.
But Coach Sam Pittman is not sitting on his laurels or on that Hog statue outside his vacation home on Lake Hamilton.
“No,” he said flatly when asked if Arkansas has arrived. “No, no, no. Arkansas is just trying to compete, get better, fight hard.”
The Razorbacks beat Penn State, 24-10, in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 for their first traditional New Year’s Day bowl win since a 29-16 win over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 6, 2012, four coaches ago under John L. Smith. Arkansas also had wins over ranked teams Texas and Mississippi State and finished 4-4 in the SEC West – their best league mark since 5-3 in 2015.
“We’re underdogs,” said Pittman, who enters his third season on Sept. 3 against Cincinnati. “No, no, no, we’re far from that (an arrival). Not that.”
Pittman said yes to another question – if he would like incoming SEC teams Oklahoma and Texas to be permanent opponents when they arrive in the league in 2024 or ’25. The state of Arkansas borders both, and the Razorbacks and Texas used to be in the former Southwest Conference.
“Yes,” he said. “That would be pretty cool. Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri (another border state) would be really neat. Playing Oklahoma, that would be a really cool deal, growing up in the state of Oklahoma.”
Pittman, 60, was born in El Reno, Oklahoma.
One of the future schedule models with Oklahoma and Texas that the SEC is considering is three permanent opponents and five or six rotating in an eight- or nine-game format.
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