No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-1 SU, 1-3-1 ATS) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date and Time: Saturday October 11th, 2014. 6:00PM EST
Where: Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, A.R.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -10/ARK +10
Over/Under Total: 54.5
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Alabamas ambitions for a National Championship took a setback last week in their first big road test of the season against Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide offense, that shattered records against Floridas stout defense just two week ago, was held to just 10 offensive points in a 23-17 upset in Oxford. It was Alabamas first contest against one of their foes from the dynamic SEC West leaving the 7th ranked Crimson Tide with a steep uphill climb for the rest of the year to remain in the race to make the 4 team playoff. This week the Alabama Crimson Tide takes another road trip against the weakest team from the SEC West in the Arkansas Razorbacks.
While the Razorbacks may be the worse team in the SEC West, they is really no such thing as weakness in the SEC West. The Razorbacks are a very good football team which they proved two weeks ago when they took Texas A&M into overtime. Arkansas is currently 3-2 SU and 0-2 in the SEC. However, head coach Bret Bielema has his guys playing solid football. In fact, the style of football that Bielema has brewing down in Fayetteville should prevent a very intriguing matchup this Saturday against Alabama.
The Crimson Tide have been known for having a heavily favored power rushing style approach on offense under coach Nick Saban. Sabans world class defensive teams and power rushing offenses have been the formula to Alabamas dynasty. Last week for the first time under Saban, Alabama appeared to be more of a passing team than a running team. Quarterback Blake Sims completed 19 of 31 passing for 228 yards with 1 interception and that interception is the one that sealed the defeat. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was never able to call up any plays to connect down the field and Alabama just simply lacked an identity on the offensive side of the ball.
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To make matters worse, the offense lost running back Kenyan Drake with a broken ankle. The running back stable is still in good shape with a pair of extremely talented tailbacks in T.J Yeldon and Derrick Henry. However, how will they be used going forward? Will Alabama return to its power rushing attack or will they continue to lean towards the pass? The answer to those questions could have a huge impact as to how Alabama progresses throughout the remainder of the season and if they can stay in the SEC Championship picture.
The irony this week that Alabama faces is that they will meet an Arkansas Razorbacks team that knows exactly what they are going to do on offense. Coach Bielema has created a monstrous rushing attack between tailbacks Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Collins leads the team with 621 rushing yards and Williams has tallied a strong 486 yards on the ground through 5 games. The Razorbacks own the nations 7th best rushing offense that is averaging an impressive 316 yards per game on the ground. Ironically, Arkansass offense will attack Alabama in the exact same premise that Alabama has attacked opponents over the past several years. The Crimson Tide defense has not exactly replicated the defensive prowess that they have shown in past years so again it is going to be very interesting to see how the Razorbacks rushing attack stacks up against Alabamas defense in this intriguing matchup.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The entire world will likely be on Alabama this week. The idea that Alabama would be upset two weeks in a row could be considered blasphemy! However, I believe this Arkansas team plays the style of football that could really frustrate the Crimson Tide. If Arkansas can avoid giving up the big plays on defense, I think they are going to surprise a lot of people this week and shed some light on Alabamas not so dynamic football team. Take Arkansas +10