Arkansas Football: 4 Reasons Razorbacks' Biggest Threat Is LSU, Not Alabama

Justin Janssen@@JJanssen11Correspondent IIIMay 25, 2012

Arkansas Football: 4 Reasons Razorbacks' Biggest Threat Is LSU, Not Alabama

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    Despite losing offensive mastermind Bobby Petrino in a scandal, the Arkansas Razorbacks still have an explosive offense led by quarterback Tyler Wilson. 

    Their biggest threat to the SEC West crown in 2012 is LSU, not Alabama, the defending national champions. 

    Find out why in the upcoming slideshow. 

Alabama Losing Key Players

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    In the NFL draft, Alabama lost running back Trent Richardson, safety Mark Barron, corner Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Dont'a Hightower—all first-round draft picks. 

    Replacing those four players is not going to be an easy task for the Crimson Tide, the defending national champions. 

    At Alabama, they reload, not rebuild, but the star power lost may be too much to overcome next season.

    This season is reminiscent of 2010, when Alabama came off a national championship but lost key players to the draft. In 2010, Alabama went 10-3. Not a bad season, but it was obviously not the same team that won national titles in 2009 and 2011. 

Honey Badger

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    Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu is the ultimate X-factor on the field.

    And he don't care.

    Mathieu electrified the Tigers last year with game-changing punt-return touchdowns in the win over Arkansas and the SEC title win over Georgia. 

    Mathieu has a knack for forcing turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. Despite losing top-10 draft pick Morris Claiborne in the defensive backfield, Mathieu returns. 

Proven Players at Skill Positions

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    LSU has a major advantage over Alabama at the skill positions. As already mentioned, the Crimson Tide are replacing Trent Richardson with Eddie Lacy. 

    The Tigers return next year with all four of their tailbacks who had worn down opposing defenses—including the Razorbacks. 

    Spencer Ware, Alfred Blue, Michael Ford and Kenny Hilliard provide LSU with superior depth. 

    The wide receivers for Alabama are grossly inexperienced. The top eight receivers on Alabama's depth chart consist of six freshman and two sophomores. 

    LSU, on the other hand, returns with dynamic wide receiver Russell Shepard. 

Chip on Shoulder

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    After one of the most impressive regular seasons in college football history, the LSU Tigers lost in the national title game to a team (Alabama) that LSU already beat in the regular season.

    The Tigers will be playing all season with a chip on their shoulders, knowing they crumbled in the biggest game of the season. 

    LSU will work even harder this season with the extra motivation: Not that they actually need motivation, but the loss to Alabama will be on their minds all year long.