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What to expect following winless SEC record
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN --2/7/2013-- New Razorback football coach Brett Bielema meets media before a fund raising program highlighting new recruits Thursday night at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas is coming off one of its worst seasons ever, going 3-9 overall and 0-8 in SEC play in 2013.
It was the first time the Razorbacks went winless in conference play since 1942, when they went 0-6 in the Southwest Conference.
Kentucky also went 0-8 in the SEC last year. The pair of winless conference slates marked the 15th and 16th times an SEC team went winless in conference play since the conference expanded to include Arkansas and South Carolina in 1992.
So what can fans reasonably expect from Arkansas in 2014?
The previous 14 teams to go 0-8 in SEC play improved their conference wins by an average 1.9 games and their overall wins by 2.2 games. This would mean the Razorbacks would go 5-7 with a 2-6 SEC record.
Of those 14 teams, however, only four played in the SEC West. Those teams improved their conference wins by an average of four games and their overall wins by 4.8 games. This would mean the Razorbacks would go 8-4 with a 4-4 SEC record.
While four teams have followed their 0-8 SEC season with another winless conference record (Vanderbilt: 1996-97, South Carolina: 1998-99, Vanderbilt: 2001-02 and Kentucky: 2012-13), there have been a few successful turnarounds.
Obviously, the most well-known turnaround came last season, when Auburn won the SEC Championship, went 12-2 and fell in the BCS National Championship game after going 0-8 in SEC play in 2012.
South Carolina followed consecutive winless conference seasons in 1998 and 1999 with an 8-4 overall record and 5-3 SEC record in 2000.
Ole Miss had a pair of winless-to-bowl game turnarounds. The Rebels went 9-4 (5-3) in 2008 and 7-6 (3-5) in 2012 after 3-9 (0-8) and 2-10 (0-8) seasons in 2007 and 2011, respectively.
The Razorbacks start conference play in their season-opener against Auburn on Aug. 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will air on the SEC Network.