No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 15th, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, A.R
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bama -14/ARK +14
Over/Under Total: OFF
College football fans everywhere were stunned last week when the University
of Louisiana-Monroe upset the no. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks
34-31 in overtime. For Louisiana-Monroe, it was the Warhawks first win over
a top 25 ranked team in school history and it was against one of the ‘big
boys’ of the SEC. The Razorbacks defense was shredded for 550 total yards
on the afternoon and gave up 20 2nd half points. Arkansas fans were wary
about their future when Coach Bobby Petrino was fired over the off-season
but nobody expected a collapse like the nation witnessed last week. The
Razorbacks dropped from no. 8 to outside the top 25 and now have to try
to regroup in effort to get their season back on track. Unfortunately, the
number 1 team in the nation by way of the Alabama Crimson Tide
will have different plans when they roll into Fayetteville this Saturday.
In two weeks of football, Alabama has easily proven that they will be a National Championship contender in 2012. The Crimson Tide destroyed Michigan in the opener and then that dynamic Crimson Tide defense pitched a shutout last week with a 35-0 victory over Western Kentucky. Alabama’s top defense from 2011 lost a few outstanding players with All-American type talent. However, it appears the defense has not skipped a beat. So far this year, Alabama has given up just 493 total yards in two games (246ypg). That’s right Math wizzes; Arkansas gave up more total yards than that in a single game last week to an inferior Sun Belt opponent.
Therefore, the Razorbacks offense will face one of their most difficult challenges of the season this week. Last week Arkansas managed just 377 yards of total offense and really struggled to move the football on the ground. Running back Kniles Davis is one of the premier backs in the SEC but has not had much success through the early part of 2012. Davis has carried the ball 34 times for just 132 yards and 1 score.
Arkansas’s offense likes to spread the football around in the passing game with QB Tyler Wilson. Wilson has been solid completing 64% passing with 5 scores and 1 pick through the first two games. However, Arkansas has not been able to move the chains in short yardage situations hence the struggles in the running game. For the offense to get on track, the Razorbacks must get their running game going again and move the chains on a more consistent basis. Kniles Davis is the key to that formula and the offensive line has to do a better job of making holes up front. If the running game is not semi effective against Alabama, that defensive line from the Crimson Tide will pin their ears back and attack Wilson. If that happens, it will be a long afternoon for the Arkansas offense.
For the Alabama offense, they will do their normal routine by pounding the football with that big offensive line. Alabama posted 232 rushing yards in the opener against Michigan despite opening up the playbook with the passing attack a bit more last week to Western Kentucky. Still, the running game tends to be Alabama’s bread and butter especially against top talent. Running back Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon are both guys capable of breaking big plays. So far Lacy has not been the work horse Coach Nick Saban would like to ride but he will continue to get plenty of touches.
If things do not work out on the ground, the offense does have growing confidence in QB A.J McCarron. McCarron is a guy that simply takes care of the football and rarely makes mistakes. Not to mention, he can make plays as well. So far this year, McCarron has completed 25 of 40 passing for 418 yards and 6 touchdowns without any picks. Therefore, don’t be surprised if Alabama goes vertical in the passing game in attempt to make quick strikes and put the pressure on that Arkansas defense that gave up a ton of passing yards last week.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:I just do not see how you can bet against Alabama in this game. Arkansas converted only 3 of 11 3rd down conversions against Louisiana-Monroe and that spells big trouble against the Alabama defense. Alabama will stay after Wilson and plug up the middle to stop the run. Take the Crimson Tide -14 to the cashier’s window!
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