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In the big three team sports, the Razorbacks have produced only two national champions: the 1964 national football championship squad and Nolan Richardson‘s 1994 basketball team.
Both of those teams were great, and forever beloved in the annals of Razorback sports — but neither of them came close to being the greatest team in college football or college basketball.
Frank Broyles’ 1964 Arkansas football team went undefeated, but one reason it’s out of contention for “greatest ever” is that it played in a pre-integration era. The level of competition in those segregated times doesn’t compare to what it would become in the following decades when both blacks and whites could compete with each other.
Then, while Richardson’s 1994 Hogs are usually well-respected nationally, they never crack the Top 5 all-time teams lists. For good reason, too, given they weren’t end-to-end dominant in the way the very best all-time teams were.
This 2021 Arkansas baseball team is a different story, however.
They have played a murderer’s row of a schedule, filled with top 20 teams like Nebraska, whom they knocked off Monday night in a thrilling elimination game that perhaps cemented ace reliever Kevin Kopps as the greatest Razorback baseball player of all time.
Arkansas beat Nebraska at home to advance to the Super Regional in Fayetteville this weekend against NC State.
But the biggest reason the Hogs are putting together a historically unprecedented run is their success on the road or in a neutral setting while playing in the toughest conference in the nation.
Here are some of the team’s most impressive stats:
As if those stats weren’t impressive enough, here are some more humdingers provided by the NCAA itself:
A strong current contender for the best team ever is the 2019 Vanderbilt squad that went 23-7 in the SEC regular season and 52-10 through the Regional round in the NCAA Tournament before going on to win the College World Series.
Arkansas, meanwhile, is 49-11 overall and 22-8 in the conference at the same juncture in the postseason.
However, those Commodores went only 3-2 in games versus Top 10 teams through the same point in the season. This Arkansas team has 17 such Top 10 wins if you’re looking at the ranking at the time of the game — or 13 if considering the opponents’ current rankings.
That’s a 15-2 or 12-1 record in those games.
That kind of strength of schedule will also hold true when compared to pretty much any past champion.
Arkansas needs to win seven more games to secure the national championship. If the Hogs do that, there shouldn’t even be an argument about which team is the greatest in the history of the college game.
Photos courtesy of Razorback Communications
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