football Edit

LOOK: Comparing 2019 vs. 2020 through Week 8

Treylon Burks scored on a 65-yard reception against LSU.
Treylon Burks scored on a 65-yard reception against LSU. (Arkansas Athletics)

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FAYETTEVILLE -- Coming off consecutive 2-10 seasons, most Arkansas fans were likely just hoping to see improvement this year.

Through eight games in 2020, that has undoubtedly happened. The Razorbacks are 3-5 - with a legitimate claim to they should be 4-4 - with two games remaining in the regular season.

Sometimes, though, it can be more difficult to measure a team's development from one year to the next. With a 10-game, SEC only schedule in 2020, HawgBeat came up with a way to better illustrate how much Arkansas has or hasn't improved since last season.

We will track its progress in several key statistics in the charts below. However, instead of a true game-by-game comparison, last year's numbers have been manipulated to account for the varying schedules.

For example, Arkansas' third opponent last season was Colorado State, but it played Auburn in Week 3 this year - which is quite the contrast. Instead of comparing the stats in those two games, we compared the stats in this year's Auburn game to those from last year's matchup with the Tigers.

Last season, this project painted a pretty clear picture of the Razorbacks' regression from 2018 to 2019, which ultimately resulted in the firing of Chad Morris.

Normally, that is all the manipulation needed, as Arkansas always plays four non-conference opponents, all six SEC West foes, Missouri and a rotating SEC East team. That format went out the window this year.

The Razorbacks added Georgia and Florida to their schedule. Those teams aren't really comparable to any of last year's non-conference opponents, so we are comparing those games to LSU and Alabama again. That makes the most sense because LSU and Alabama finished first and second in the West last year and Florida and Georgia are picked first and second, respectively, in the East this year.

For further comparison, we averaged Arkansas' statistics from the eight SEC games and used that to create the gray trend line, but that doesn't necessarily account for the fact that Georgia and Florida are the two toughest teams that possibly could have been added.

The solid red line is how the Razorbacks have done in their first five games of 2020, while the dotted red line shows what they're on pace for using the season average to date.

Even after losing to LSU, Arkansas is still tracking ahead of last year's pace in most categories. The only exceptions are in pass defense and sacks allowed.

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