Week 8 - Arkansas at Alabama

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Week 8 Fearless Predictions & Preview - Arkansas at Alabama

- Georgia at Vanderbilt | South Carolina at Tennessee
- Florida at Missouri | Auburn at Texas A&M
- LSU at Ole Miss | Arkansas at Alabama

Arkansas (3-4) at Alabama (6-0) Oct. 19 7:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Alabama is making blowouts boring. America will wake up once LSU comes to town on November 9th, but first, the No. 1 team in the country has to continue to methodically and efficiently get through the dog days of the schedule. How good have the Tide been? Since giving up 42 points against Texas A&M, the defense has allowed a grand total of 16 points in easy wins over Colorado State, Ole Miss, Georgia State and Kentucky. Winners of seven straight in the series, Alabama should be able to cruise through the home date against the Hogs, but Bret Bielema's team is overdue for a gem.

After winning the first three games to start the season, Arkansas actually had to start playing someone with a pulse. Losers of four straight, the problems have gotten worse with blowout losses to Florida and South Carolina after a thrilling loss to Texas A&M. With Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU to close, there's nothing to lose. If the Hogs have anything special in the bag, this is the time to pull it out. In several ways, this is a sound team that's rebuilding and improving, but 3-4 is 3-4, and it's going to take something special and historic to come away with a win.

Why Arkansas Might Win: The Arkansas defense is doing a better job than the stats might look. The Hog run defense had issues with Texas A&M and South Carolina, but they have mobile quarterbacks. For the most part, Arkansas and its defensive front was able to hold everyone else's running backs in check, and since AJ McCarron isn't going to run anywhere, there's a chance the Alabama ground game stalls a little bit. It's been great against the bad defenses, but Arkansas will come up with its share of stops. McCarron is going to have to make the offense move, and that feeds into the fantastic Hog pass rush that leads the SEC in sacks.

Why Alabama Might Win: Arkansas is giving away the ball way too much and way too easily. The Hogs have been -2 in turnover margin in each of the last three games and four of the seven games this year with seven giveaways in the three SEC games. Alabama doesn't come up with too many takeaways, but even if it comes up with two, that's way too many – Arkansas has to be perfect to have any sort of a chance, and it won't be.

Who To Watch Out For: AJ McCarron isn't going to win the Heisman. He's probably not going to be on many, if any, All-America lists in this year of fantastic quarterbacks, and he might not even make the All-SEC team with Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Johnny Manziel mortal locks for the top three spots. However, McCarron has once again been terrific with 13 touchdown passes and three scores, and he's running the offense extremely well throwing for 369 yards against Kentucky and hitting 78% of his throws, but with a pick, against Ole Miss. Last year he made 70% of his passes in the 52-0 win over the Hogs and 75% in the win in 2011. He'll be terrific again.

What Will Happen: You know what Alabama is going to do. It'll be show up, run well, throw better, play great defense, and then move on.

Prediction: Alabama 31 … Arkansas 10
Line: Alabama -28 o/u: 48
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 2.5
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