To be sure, at that time Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was not making hotel reservations in Atlanta for Saturday's SEC championship game.
Since then, the Razorbacks have become the hottest team in the league, winning six straight games to win the SEC West and earn a spot against Georgia in Saturday's 6 p.m. game at the Georgia Dome.
Fourth-ranked Georgia (11-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) is favored by as many as nine points over No. 22 Arkansas (9-3, 5-3), but Nutt's team has earned respect with its late-season surge.
Arkansas' winning streak included a 23-0 victory at South Carolina and the crucial 21-20 win over Louisiana State last Friday that clinched the West title.
"We know Arkansas is a great football team,'' Richt said. "When you start 1-3 and make it to the championship game, that says a lot about your football team.''
Added Richt: "We watched Arkansas just dismantle Auburn. Having played Auburn, and knowing how physical Auburn is, we just don't understand how Arkansas did that.''
Nutt, 39-21 in his fifth year as head coach of his alma mater, says the turning point for the Razorbacks actually came in a 41-38 six-overtime loss at Tennessee.
"Really the Tennessee game was where we got a lot of confidence because we got in front of 105,000 people and really played well, offensively and defensively, and really should have won the ballgame,'' Nutt said.
"That really probably turned us around and gave us a lot of hope.''
Arkansas is led by 6-foot-6 sophomore quarterback Matt Jones, who has passed for 1,413 yards with 15 touchdowns, and a trio of running backs led by Fred Talley, who has rushed for 1,035 yards.
Running behind Talley are redshirt freshman De'Arrius Howard and junior Cedric Cobbs, the former starter.
Talley is a 5-foot-9 speedster, while Howard is a 220-pound power back with surprising speed.
"(Howard) is a powerful guy and moves the pile back,'' Nutt said. "What you have is an unbelievable difference between Fred and De'Arrius.''
Added Nutt: "You added Cedric and you have three outstanding backs who could probably be starting at different schools, and I'm glad they're on my team.''
Arkansas averages 243.3 yards rushing per game, compared to 139.9 for Georgia.
Georgia beat Arkansas 34-23 last year in Athens, but that was before Jones moved up as the Razorbacks' starting quarterback.
Some Georgia players have compared Jones with South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins, but Nutt said Jones "is probably more of a pure quarterback.''
Added Nutt: "Matt's best play is when things don't go just right. He has escapability. He has improved his passing ability. You never know when he is able to make a big play.''
And, based on the dramatic turnaround from the first four games, you never know who is going to emerge from the SEC West to play in the SEC championship game.
"When we have our first meeting in August, we always saw we want to go to Atlanta,'' Nutt said. "If you'd asked me when we were 0-3 or 1-3 in the conference, I'm not feeling too good.''
Added Nutt: "The one thing we've done a good job with is we don't give up on our kids. We have a motto of getting better every single day when we go out.
"From 3-3 to 9-3, it's about staying together.''