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Schedule analysis: Arkansas Razorbacks

As we inch closer to the start of the season, it’s time to review the schedules of every SEC team.

Whether it’s home vs. road, nonconference matchups or potential trap games, there’s a lot to discuss.

We continue the series with the Arkansas Razorbacks:

Nonconference opponents (with 2015 record)

Sept. 3: vs. Louisiana Tech (9-4)

Sept. 10: at TCU (11-2)

Sept. 17: vs. Texas State (3-9)

Oct. 1: vs. Alcorn State (9-4)

SEC home games

Oct. 8: Alabama (14-1)

Oct. 15: Ole Miss (10-3)

Nov. 5: Florida (10-4)

Nov. 12: LSU (9-3)

SEC road games

Oct. 22: at Auburn (7-6)

Nov. 19: at Mississippi State (9-4)

Nov. 25: at Missouri (5-7)

SEC neutral site games

Sept. 24: vs. Texas A&M (8-5) (at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)

Gut-check time: The Razorbacks have a pair of stiff challenges in back-to-back October weeks when they host Alabama and Ole Miss. The defending national champion Crimson Tide is likely to be the preseason favorite to win the SEC again and the Hogs had a wild overtime win last season over Ole Miss, a program that is consistently putting itself in the conversation for the SEC West title race -- a place Arkansas is trying to reach -- so this two-game stretch will be telling for the Hogs.

Trap game: It could be the road game at Auburn on Oct. 22. It’s wedged between home games vs. Ole Miss and Florida, the reigning SEC East champion, and of the five-game SEC stretch that starts with Alabama on Oct. 8 and ends with LSU on Nov. 12, it’s the least intimidating on paper. But it’s still an SEC road game. The Tigers aren’t a popular preseason pick, but they too are a team the Razorbacks fought tooth-and-nail with in overtime last season before the Hogs eventually pulled out a win.

Final analysis: If the Hogs are hoping to climb another rung on the SEC West ladder and into division title contention, this schedule certainly makes it a tough challenge. They have the seventh-toughest strength of schedule in the country according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that their toughest SEC opponents on the slate must go to Fayetteville, Arkansas, while their road games are against teams that aren’t expected to be at the top of their divisions. The nonconference schedule is pretty respectable also; the Hogs travel to TCU, a team that will challenge for the Big 12 title and host Louisiana Tech, who won nine games last season.