Arkansas St Red Wolves 2023 College Football Preview
July 2, 2022
Record – 3-9
ATS – 7-5
After rattling off NINE consecutive winning seasons the Red Wolves have booked three losing seasons in a row (9-26). They only managed to register wins over a triad of TOMATO CANS (Grambling, ULM, UMass) and were blown to bits on a number of occasions.
Can they turn the corner in year three of the Butch Jones regime?
Arkansas Red Wolves 2023 Outlook
QB James Blackman had a decent campaign LY (14-3 TD to INT) but he didn’t get much support from the rushing attack (88 YPG, #128 FBS) and was sacked 35 times (team, 38). New QB JT Shrout got some experience with Tennessee and Colorado but he’s only completed 47% of his 272 career passes (12-11 TD to INT). The WR group might be decent despite the loss of their top-two options from LY as Jeff Foreman averaged a tasty 16.4 YPC LY and they add a pair of talented Power 5 transfers (Syracuse, Cocks) to the mix that should grab starting roles. It’s been a while since the Red Wolves have done much on the ground and we’re not in love with the options at RB. Only a pair of starters are retained on the offensive line but the good news is that they poached THREE doods from Ole Miss, and overall, the OL has some pretty good size. There doesn’t appear to be much to get excited about on offense but we’ll concede that there’s more upside than downside risk.
It was another tough season for the defense LY as they ranked #82 vs the run and a stinky #125 in pass efficiency D (25-6 TD to INT). PENETRATION was also lacking as they tallied a mere 23 sacks (#96). The good news is that they improved quite a bit from the 2021 DEBACLE and could take another step forward this season. They retain four of their top-five tacklers and added some interesting transfer portal pieces. DT Micah Bland provides some much-needed BEEF up front and DE Dennard Flowers could end up being the PENETRATOR that they need (3 sacks in 6G with Ark St LY). The LB corps retains a pair of starters including Melique Straker who was 2nd on the team in tackles and TFL in 2022; and the secondary adds a few transfers to accent the three returning starters. The talent looks better on the back end but they’ll need to get more pressure on the QB.
We’re pleased to announce that the Red Wolves have one of the best PKs around in Dominic Zvada who had a phenomenal 2022 campaign (17-18 FG, 30-31 XP) and punter William Przystup did a good job whilst splitting the duties LY (43.5).
Overall – You can book an 0-2 start (at Oklahoma, Memphis) but they’ve got a decent shot in each of the next three contests (Stony Brook, Southern Miss, at UMass). Unfortunately, the draw from the East was unkind as they have to battle Coastal Carolina (H) and Marshall (A).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at UMass (Sept 30)
Arkansas St makes a rare trip to the Northeast and this BAD BOY is sandwiched between a pair of conference games.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 2
Over 4.5 -115
Under 4.5 -115
That looks like the perfect price for this market. The majority of our 34 models have them winning four or five games.
In 1951, Arkansas St was an independent program and known as the “Indians” when they played in TWO bowls games. They won the Refrigerator Bowl and lost the Tangerine Bowl.
The Red Wolves would have had a better record last year if they were able to play better in the 4th quarter. That’s true, but as the kids from SOUTH PARK would say, “If I had wheels, I’d be a wagon.”
There’s still lots of work to do in Jonesboro and we thought they’d be further along by now under coach Jones. The high-water mark is probably a six-win regular season and a bowl game but we think they’ll fall just a wee bit short of that goal. We hope to be proven wrong, tho.
AWOO! Go Red Wolves.