Even though a lot of fans probably wouldn’t say so, it’s actually been a pretty good year to be a fan of the Razorbacks.
The football team went 4-8, so that wasn’t very fun. But the Hogs now have a new head coach who has put together a top notch staff.
The basketball team didn’t make the NIT much less the NCAA tournament and now Marshawn Powell, BJ Young and Hunter Mickelson are all gone. But some young guys got some good playing time and incoming freshmen Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley could help immediately.
The two most popular sports definitely had down years and that left a bad taste in a lot of Arkansas fans.
However, despite not earning either points for these two sports, the Razorbacks are still in 28th out of 248 schools in the Director’s Cup Standings, which rewards an athletic department that has success across a broad range of programs.
Arkansas is behind only four other Southeastern Conference programs after the conclusion of fall and winter sports.
The top SEC program is Florida at No. 4 followed by No. 9 Georgia, No. 11 Texas A&M and Kentucky at 20.
The only two conferences with more teams in the top 30 than the five that the SEC has are the Big Ten and the Pac 12.
The Big Ten, which has eight schools in the top 30, sponsors two more women’s sports and five more men’s sports than the SEC.
Right behind the Big Ten is the Pac 12 with six schools in the top 30. They sponsor the same number of women’s sports as the SEC, but sponsor two more men’s sports.
This gives the members of these conferences an advantage in the Director’s Cup because they have more opportunities for a team to finish ranked or win a championship, which is how the points are earned.
Arkansas picked up 100 points for the men’s indoor track and field National Championship. The Gym‘Backs contributed 68.25 points for their finish at the gymnastics NCAA championships.
Swimming and women’s track and field are the other two programs that contributed out of the winter sports, earning 48 and 80 points, respectively.
The three fall sports that added to Arkansas’ total were men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball which earned a combined 148.5 points.
The spring sports that will factor in for the Hogs are men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, softball and baseball.
The Razorbacks have a history of earning more points during the spring season than either of the other two. Both the men and women’s track teams are very good and will likely contribute.
Add to that the very good baseball team and a softball team that continues to impress and Razorback fans can expect a very good spring showing in the Director’s Cup.
There is always room for improvement and I’m sure Arkansas fans are ready to see some in some of the most prominent programs, but this year hasn’t been quite the disaster for Razorback fans as it seems at first glance.
Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Monday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.