Week 7 - Kentucky at Arkansas

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - Kentucky at Arkansas

Kentucky (1-5) at Arkansas (2-4) Oct. 13, 7:00, GamePlan

Here's The Deal: Could it be possible that Arkansas is about to flip a switch and turn everything around? The Hogs have been a mega-disappointment over the first half of the season, but after a 24-7 stomping of Auburn there's hope again that the year might not be a complete waste of time. The offense still needs to stop handing the ball away and the defense can't get too excited about one win over a bad Tiger team, but with home games against Ole Miss and Tulsa up next, there's a chance to potentially go on a nice run with a win over the struggling and sputtering Cats.

Kentucky gave Mississippi State a nice battle and pushed South Carolina hard for a half, but both games were double-digit losses for an 0-3 SEC start. However, the offense has occasionally shown a little bit of pop and the defense hasn't been a total disaster, but it has been a rough season with too many problems and not enough consistent. A win over Arkansas wouldn't exactly show that things are on the right track, but it would take the pressure off of head coach Joker Phillips with the Georgia game on deck.

This is only the sixth time the two programs have met with Kentucky winning four games and the Hogs on the right side of the 71-63 classing in 2003.

Why Kentucky Might Win: The Auburn game might have been an aberration the Arkansas defense hasn't been able to stop anyone else. Kentucky might not have a high-powered passing game and it can't pound the ball, but with 686 yards and six touchdowns over a two game stretch against Kent State and Western Kentucky, there have been some decent moments. Granted, it was Maxwell Smith throwing the ball, and he's out, but this is an Arkansas secondary that made Rutgers quarterback look like Gary Nova look like Tom Brady. More importantly for a struggling UK offense, the Hogs are all but guaranteed to give the ball away a few times in key spots. Knile Davis and the backs can't seem to stop putting the ball on the ground, while the eight picks haven't been a plus.

Why Arkansas Might Win: If Arkansas can stop a bad Auburn offense, it can handle what UK is bringing. Granted, no one is going to look good against Florida, South Carolina and Mississippi State, but the passing game hasn't been able to find itself without Smith flinging it around and there's no running game to pick up the slack. On the other side, if the Arkansas running game was ever going to get going, this would be the time. The Cats have a nice pass rush, but they don't get behind the line and they don't come up with enough key stops to get off the field. How tough has it been? Kentucky ranks 121st in the nation in third down defense allowing offenses to convert a ridiculous 53.7% of their chances.

What To Watch Out For: What happened to Knile Davis? The Arkansas star running back was supposed to come back roaring after missing all of last year, and while his injured leg appears to be fine, his fumbling problem has been a major issue. He's not getting enough room to move, but he's also not doing enough to make things happen on his own like he did over the second half of the 2010 season. He's still the team's leading rusher with 269 yards and two scores, but he carried the ball just three times for -2 yards against Auburn while Dennis Johnson got most of the work with 76 yards and two scores on 17 carries.

What Will Happen: Arkansas will get a nice day out of Tyler Wilson to get out to a decent early lead, and then the defense will tee off into the UK backfield to put the clamps down. Kentucky won't have the firepower to keep up in a second straight double-digit Hog win.

CFN Prediction: Arkansas 31 … Kentucky 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arkansas -17 O/U: 51
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 2