(video courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)
The SEC RapidReports blog is taking a look at what went wrong at the five SEC schools that didn't make a bowl -- Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.
Arkansas (4-8, 2-6 SEC)
Expectations: They were fairly high for the Razorbacks, a team coming off an 11-2 campaign in 2011. They returned many of their key skill players, and even with interim head coach John L. Smith at the helm after the Bobby Petrino saga last spring, the thought was that Arkansas had enough talent to still be a threat in the SEC.
What went wrong: It starts with the defense. Arkansas gave up 40.6 points per game in its first five contests -- a stretch where the Razorbacks went 1-4. There was improvement as the season progressed on that side of the ball, but it never played well enough to get Arkansas a big win. Giving up a total of 83 points to South Carolina and Mississippi State in two of the last three games ended any chance at making a bowl. The offense wasn't great either. Without Petrino calling the shots, the Razorbacks still managed to have the sixth-best total offense (420.2 yard/game), but they finished 12th in scoring offense (23.5 ppg). Injuries need to be mentioned as well. TE Chris Gragg, LB Alonzo Highsmith and LB Tenarius Wright are just a few of the major contributors who missed a significant amount of time.
When it went wrong: A lot of Arkansas fans will point all the way back to the Petrino saga. That's fair. But in terms of on-the-field problems, the season was pretty much shot after the 1-4 start. Losses to Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers quickly showed that this was not the Arkansas team many expected in the preseason. A 30-27 loss against Ole Miss on Oct. 27 virtually assured that there would be no postseason for Arkansas.
Biggest overall disappointment: QB Tyler Wilson didn't have quite the year that some expected, but his numbers still turned out to be pretty respectable. It was RB Knile Davis who really didn't live up to expectations. He missed all of 2011 (ankle), but was reportedly back in good shape for 2012. Instead, he fell behind RB Dennis Johnson on the depth chart after a slow start. He also dealt with a hamstring issue, but overall he only ran for 377 yards and two TDs on 112 attempts while appearing in 10 games.
Bright spots: WR Cobi Hamilton didn't disappoint. He led the SEC with 90 receptions for 1,335 yards and added five TDs. DE Chris Smith also had a nice season, finishing in the top five in the SEC in TFLs (13) and sacks (9.5).
2013 outlook: Just like three of the other four SEC programs that are not going to a bowl, Arkansas will have a new coach. Bret Bielema, who led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowl appearances, is charged with the task of turning Arkansas around. It won't be easy next year. The Razorbacks are losing a strong senior class that includes Wilson, Hamilton, Johnson, Gragg, Wright, Highsmith and several other key contributors. Davis will have a chance for a bounce-back season under Bielema, a coach with a reputation for emphasizing the run game. Bielema is going to need some time to shape this roster the way he wants it. Expect Arkansas to be a more physical team next season, but it might be another year or two away from getting back into the SEC mix.
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.