The Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3) have not had the season they were expecting to have thus far. When Bret Bielema popped off at the mouth about the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Razorbacks were on the short list to win the SEC West. They lost three straight games, culminating with an overtime defeat at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies. However, the Razorbacks bounced back to earn their first conference win over Tennessee last week.
While the Arkansas football was left for dead a couple of weeks ago, Nick Saban is playing the disrespect card for his Alabama Crimson Tide. After an embarrassing performance against the Ole Miss Rebels, the Crimson Tide had a chance for redemption against Georgia last week. They rolled the Bulldogs by 28 points, and Saban had no problem letting the media know what he felt.
Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3, 1-1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-1, 1-1)
There’s no question, Alabama deals with traditional offenses better than a spread attack. The Razorbacks are as traditional as they come in college football. Offensively, Arkansas averages over 200 yards per game on the ground. However, their power attack has given way to more passing this season. Still, the Razorbacks are at their best when they control the trenches.
Alex Collins leads Arkansas with 656 yards rushing, and six touchdowns. However, the Crimson Tide only give up 84 yards rushing per game. For the most part, Alabama shut down Nick Chubb last week. They’ll have to do the same with Collins.
If the Razorbacks can’t get their running game revved up, the game will come down to quarterback Brandon Allen’s ability to pass the ball. Allen has had some good games this season, but he hasn’t earned a signature win yet. Will an upset of the Alabama erase all the bad feelings from the non conference? Probably not, but the win will keep the Razorbacks in the SEC West contention.
Usually it’s all about Alabama’s running game, but it’s not a coincidence that the Crimson Tide played their best game, following the lead of Jacob Coker. The senior quarterback finally became Alabama’s No.1 guy and proved it on the field. Can Coker produce in back to back games? Alabama sure hopes he can.
Derrick Henry is still Arkansas’ biggest concern this weekend. Henry averages 6.1 yards per carry, and has scored nine touchdowns this season. He’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field against the Razorback defense. However, if Arkansas can play consistently up front, Alabama’s offense will have a tough time driving the length of the field.
The Verdict: There’s no way Alabama can come off of a huge road win, then lose a second game at home in one season. However, if the Crimson Tide have any letdown, we could be looking at a fourth quarter game.