Arkansas suffered a huge upset and devestating injury during Week 2 play. Now they have to host the Crimson Tide for a game of Smash Mouth football. Will the Razorbacks hang tough or will the uncertain health of their star QB hinder them?
fans were hoping to see an undefeated showdown between the Alabama Crimson Tide
and Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, but one side suffered a major upset last
week, which could affect future picks. Let's focus in on the total for this high-profile affair.
Razorbacks suffer a knockout blow
The Arkansas Razorbacks were expecting
to enter Saturday’s game against Alabama at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback
Stadium with a perfect 2-0 record, but that all changed in suffering a 34-31
overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe as 30-point home favorites last week.
To make matters worse, star quarterback Tyler Wilson was knocked out of the
game with a head injury, with his status listed as uncertain in Week 3.
It was a setback that nobody saw coming at halftime, as the Razorbacks went
into the break with a 21-7 lead.
Crimson Tide continue to take care
of business in September
Alabama has outscored its first two
opponents of the 2012 college football season by a 76-14 combined margin, which
includes a 35-0 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers as 38-point home
favorites. Under the watch of head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide
have compiled a 22-2 record in September, which includes a perfect 19-0 mark
since the 2008 campaign.
Wilson’s potential loss is a major
blow to the offense
The Razorbacks will likely line up
against the top-ranked team in the country without its starting quarterback,
who ranks in the top 10 in school history in career passing touchdowns (36),
passing yards (4,941) and total offense (4,888). Wilson completed 22 of
35 passes for 185 yards in last year’s 38-14 setback in this series as 11-point
road underdogs, while throwing two touchdowns and an interception. He
accounted for virtually all of the team’s offensive output, considering it
rushed for 17 yards on 19 carries.
McCarron takes care of the football
Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron
hasn’t thrown an interception in 135 pass attempts, which is just 17 short of
his career high in this particular category. Arkansas needs to try and
set up scoring opportunities by creating turnovers, but Alabama has lost the
football via fumble or interception just 58 times in its last 56 contests.
Petrino was unable to score against
the defending national champions
Bobby Petrino was fired during the
offseason after leading the Arkansas football program for four years, which was
a major blow to the team’s chances of competing for an SEC championship.
He’s been long regarded as one of the better offensive play callers, but was
unable to really get things going in this rivalry. The Razorbacks managed
to score 55 combined points in four meetings in the series with him on the
The Razorbacks are preparing to go
into battle with two other quarterbacks on Saturday, with redshirt freshman
Brandon Allen seemingly holding a slight edge over junior Brandon Mitchell due
to replacing Wilson last week. He completed just 6 of 20 passes for 85
Sports bettors may be surprised at
the listed total (53.5) on the college football odds page, especially with the
other injury news of Crimson Tide backup running back Jalston Fowler (knee)
likely out for the year. It’s still important to note that the defending
national champions have gone OVER the total in five conference games as a
double-digit favorite and a total of 45 or higher since 2009.
I’m going to hope that the host does
just enough to go above the number for the 13th time in 17 opportunities against
conference opponents in the last two-plus seasons.
Free College Football Pick: Over 53.5