There aren’t too many marquee games this week other than Oklahoma and Texas, and even then, there are no playoff implications involved there. Washington and Oregon should be a good one, but the game of the day might be in Arkansas on Saturday. If Arkansas can keep Alabama in check, this one could get interesting. Not many teams have been able to accomplish such a feat. In any case, Arkansas will be backed by a frenzied crowd to help them out.
Alabama cannot take them lightly or it’ll be a game that comes down to the last five minutes. There hasn’t been a team yet that has shown they will can beat Alabama in the playoff. The Crimson Tide are on cruise control right now with no one around them. Far back in the rear-view mirror there are a few contenders, but right now it’s clear sailing ahead for Alabama.
Alabama enters at 5-0, with wins over USC, Western Kentucky, Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Kentucky. In other words, the only good win Alabama has on their resume is Ole Miss. You might want to say USC, but come on. USC has been in the gutter since the Pete Carroll era. Ole Miss is a good football team, though. The Rebels have an elite offense that isn’t touched by the other four teams on their win list. Arkansas isn’t going to change that. The Razorbacks have been unable to recreate the kind of offense Bret Bielema had at Wisconsin.
Bielema is interested in lining up and winning games in the trenches at the line of scrimmage. An impressive offensive line has been at the core of his success. However, we aren’t seeing Arkansas pour on 40-50 points every week like Wisconsin was used to doing. It isn’t like he hasn’t had an offensive line. The Arkansas offensive line has ranked as one of the biggest in football according to weight, and not just college football, all of football including the NFL.
Arkansas has looked like one of the best rushing units at times, and others you wonder what they’re doing. The Razorbacks were blown out by their best opponent this season, a 45-24 loss to Texas A&M. They also barely escaped TCU in overtime. Quarterback Austin Allen has really settled in nicely and has put together an impressive stat line. We’ll see if it holds up against the best defense he’s played in his career, though.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas Razorbacks NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Arkansas +14(-105)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Alabama vs. Arkansas Pick:
Alabama has beaten their opponents by an average of 31 points per game this season. They had one blemish against Ole Miss, which they were fortunate enough to get out of it with a 48-43 win. It seems like the Alabama defense lets their guard down once or twice a year, and then beats the tar out of all of their other opponents. Is Arkansas going to be the second team? Like I mentioned earlier, Austin Allen, the brother of former Hogs’ quarterback, Brandon Allen, has started to assert himself nicely in the offense. It was a bit of a rough start, he didn’t fare so well early on, but he’s shaken the nerves off and looks like a competent quarterback. Allen has passed for 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in his first season at the controls.
But I will say, Allen has had a few nice stat-filler games. Last week against Alcorn State in a 52-10 win, he threw for 3 touchdowns, and against Texas State he had another 2 touchdowns. There are 5 touchdowns against subpar competition. Nevertheless, the guy hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 1 and that is impressive, regardless of the competition faced.
Without a doubt this will be Arkansas’ most difficult task in 2016. Alabama are allowed 13 points per game, while allowing just 256 yards per game. They are 3rd defending the run, with just 68.4 yards allowed a game. This is where I see Arkansas running into problems. For Allen to be effective, the running game has to get going, which sets up the passing game. Allen dropping back with no running game is going to result in a disaster.
I fully expect him to throw his first interception since Week 1. With this great defense, comes a great offense as well. Note that Alabama is averaging 44 points per game this season, which ranks 12th in the nation. I see Allen getting overwhelmed with the Alabama defense tonight. He’s going to be counted on to make plays, but with the Crimson Tide shutting the ride down, there will be added pressure on him to make plays. A lot of money will come in on Arkansas here, just like it did on USC in the opener. I think it’s dead money, though, with Alabama covering the number.
PICK: ALABAMA -14 (-115)