One game can have a significant impact on a season. It can turn a team’s fortunes for better or worse.
This week, we’re taking a look at what we think is each SEC team’s must-win game in 2016.
Must-win game: Sept. 24 vs. Texas A&M
The last two seasons, the Razorbacks have been in position to win this game, leading the Aggies in the fourth quarter of the annual neutral-site clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In 2014, the Hogs led in the second half by two touchdowns; last season they led 21-13. Both times, the Aggies came back to force overtime and eventually win.
Why is this a must-win game for Arkansas? If the Razorbacks plan to take another step forward in the win column -- and in the SEC West standings -- they’ll need to start off on the right foot, as this serves as the opener of Arkansas’ SEC schedule in 2016.
It only gets tougher after the matchup with the Aggies: Arkansas hosts Alabama on Oct. 8 and Ole Miss on Oct. 15 before traveling to Auburn on Oct. 22. Florida and LSU visit Fayetteville, Arkansas on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, respectively, so that five-game SEC stretch will largely define the Razorbacks’ 2016 fate. Going into that stretch with a win is important, rather than being behind the eight ball by debuting their conference schedule with a loss. Considering how closely contested this game has been the last two seasons, the Razorbacks need to find a way to close it out this time around.