Arkansas mailbag: How much does bowl placement mean, and who will return in 2022?

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FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas football finished the regular season with a 34-17 win over Missouri on Friday. For the first time since 2015, Arkansas has eight wins.

The Razorbacks (8-4, 4-4 SEC) will find out their bowl destination on Dec. 5, and with an eighth win, there's talk of a postseason game in Florida. But first, here's the mailbag.

Now that the regular season is over and we turn to bowl selection, how much do you think matchup and placement matters to the team’s trajectory of success? Is there a world where you would rather be in a “lesser” game in order to feel safer about a win? — Ron

I think this logic makes sense, but I don't think this is coach Sam Pittman's style. This has been Arkansas' best season in years, and while losing a bowl game would certainly leave fans with a sour taste in the offseason, a loss in a good bowl game to a quality opponent doesn't negate the year they've had.

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Plus, a win in a quality bowl? That would be the perfect addition to Pittman's 2021 trophy case. To me, it's moderate risk, high reward, and that seems like a worthwhile gamble for this trending team.

As this year is approaching its end, how much experience does it look like we will lose to graduation and/or the draft? Will there be a lot of starters and key players returning, or will we be starting fresh in certain areas? — Scott

Wide receiver Treylon Burks is the big question mark for next year, but my biggest concern is the linebackers. Only Bumper Pool could return out of a group of three linebackers who have not only been key on the field, but are among the biggest leaders on the team. Pool returning would be a huge help, but replacing Grant Morgan and Hayden Henry will be hard to do. All three of them? Impossible.

Was (Dominique) Johnson injured? I noticed he wasn’t on the field the majority of the second half. — Michael

Pittman said after the game that Johnson had a leg injury, but didn't specify beyond that. He said the staff noticed he was hurt and decided to limit him early in the second half so could "get out of his own way" and avoid further injury.

Christina Long covers the Arkansas Razorbacks. You can email her at clong@swtimes.com or follow her on Twitter @christinalong00.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas football: How much does bowl placement mean, and who returns in 2022?

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