Week 5 – Arkansas at Texas A&M

Posted Sep 27, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Arkansas at Texas A&M

Texas A&M (2-1) at Arkansas (1-3) Sept. 29, 12:00, SEC Network

Here's The Deal: It seems like ten years ago when this was one of the most anticipated games of the SEC season. Texas A&M is in its second game in its new league after losing to Florida to kick off the season, while Arkansas has gone through a well-documented meltdown to earn the right to be called the most disappointing team in college football so far. However, there's still plenty of time and there are still plenty of chances for each one to turn things back around and make a lot of noise.

Now the pressure is off Arkansas. No one is expecting much of anything after losses to ULM, Alabama and Rutgers in three very different ways. The talent is still in place and the team hasn't quit yet, and at the end of the day, as bad as things look, SEC-wise there's nothing that's too far out of whack. Forgetting about the 52-0 final score, Arkansas was supposed to lose to Alabama and being 0-1 in conference play isn't too crazy. With winnable games against Auburn, Kentucky and Ole Miss coming up next, a win over Texas A&M might be the spark to a big-time turnaround. However, to get there, the Hogs have to stop making mistakes, start stopping someone's passing game, and find something sort of positive momentum.

Texas A&M might have lost to Florida, but it's still in total control of its SEC destiny. While no one thinks the Aggies can beat both LSU and Alabama, starting out with Arkansas at home before going to Ole Miss could mean a nice start and a chance to show that Kevin Sumlin has things on the right track before the big boys on the slate show up. The offense is working and the defense is as aggressive as ever, but now it's time to come up with a big win – the first SEC win.

Why Texas A&M Might Win: Arkansas isn't coming up with any big plays on defense. The offense is making too many mistakes with 12 turnovers including five against Alabama and six picks in the last three games. Meanwhile, the defense isn't doing anything to get the ball with one pick against ULM and one fumble recovery against Jacksonville State. That's it. Meanwhile, the Texas A&M defense has been terrific so far allowing just 280 yards per game and dominating with the pass rush. The Hog O line hasn't been too bad in pass protection, but it's going to take something special to slow down the nation's leading team in sacks; the Aggies have cranked out 18 in three games.

Why Arkansas Might Win: Pound, pound, pound the rock. How do you stop a pass rush? Smash it in the mouth. How did Texas A&M end up losing to Florida? The Gators got more physical on both sides of the ball when times started to get tough. Can the Arkansas offense finally start to blast away? No one is running on Alabama, the coaching staff forgot about the ground game against ULM, and the Rutgers loss got into a shootout right away. Against the Aggies, if the front five can finally start to bring a push and Knile Davis can start to run like Knile Davis again, the Hogs can control the game. On the other side of the ball, Texas A&M has yet to be bombed on. SMU's passing game hasn't hit its stride yet in a rebuilding season, but Arkansas has a fully-functional machine that showed last week against Rutgers that it's capable of putting big numbers up on the board. Quarterback Tyler Wilson is back and healthy, but last week the star of the loss was …

What To Watch Out For: Cobi Hamilton, the senior receiver with all the tools, and now, one transcendent performance. Always the other guy in the equation, this year it has been his job to step up and become the No. 1 man. All but out of the mix in two games with just two grabs against both Jacksonville State and Alabama, he ripped apart Rutgers for 303 yards and three scores on ten catches. Last year he scored four times and gained just 542 yards for the entire season.

Trying to stop the Arkansas passing game will be a fearsome pass rush led by the nation's leading sacker, junior end Damontre Moore. The 6-4, 250-pounder was expected to be the next Von Miller and the pass rusher that everything was supposed to work around, and now it's really happening with six sacks in the first three games including three against Florida. He has to camp out in the backfield and be a constant presence in Tyler Wilson's face.

What Will Happen: Texas A&M will show that it's ready to be a part of the SEC. The secondary is about to get bombed on a bit, but quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense will keep things moving and be a bit more balanced. The Hogs will have too many problems with their consistency and too many breakdowns on defense.

CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 34 … Arkansas 27
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Texas A&M -13.5 O/U: 62.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 3.5