SEC Football Q&A: Can Arkansas Topple the Alabama Crimson Tide?

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SEC Football Q&A: Can Arkansas Topple the Alabama Crimson Tide?
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton

Every Thursday on The SEC Blog, we will feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email. Due to circumstances out of my control, this week's Q&A was moved to Friday.

Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at bsallee@bleacherreport.com.

 

You've got SEC questions, and I've got SEC answers. Thank you, everybody, for your questions this week, and if I didn't get to them this week, they are still saved and will be used in the future.

And we're off:

 

Well, that's a big "if" for a variety of reasons. But no matter what, the answer is "no."

Wilson officially will be a game-time decision, but I don't expect him to trot out there this weekend vs. Alabama. Since Brandon Allen struggled last week, I'd expect a heavy dose of dual-threat quarterback-turned wide receiver-turned quarterback Brandon Mitchell.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Tyler Wilson sacked by Sam Montgomery (99) and Barkevious Mingo (49)

But whether it's Wilson, Allen or Mitchell taking the snaps, no, I don't think that Arkansas can protect the quarterback.

They couldn't do it vs. Louisiana-Monroe, and Alabama's front seven is just a bit better than that of the Warhawks.

Wilson got hit on virtually every play last season, and things haven't improved this season. Arkansas' offensive line has been a sore spot for a while now, and it's not going to get better going up against the No. 1 team in the country.

 

You want me to stand behind that offensive line with Jesse Williams, C.J. Mosley and the rest of the Alabama defense coming at me?

You're out of your mind.

 

He's on the periphery now, and that's where I think he'll stay simply because he's not going to be asked to go out there and be Matt Barkley, even though he's capable of it.

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Alabama QB AJ McCarron

Alabama head coach Nick Saban knows that the path of least resistance in most games is to run the ball and play defense.

The Crimson Tide may have lost Jalston Fowler for the season, but Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Dee Hart are still more than capable of being a solid running back committee, especially behind the best offensive line in the country.

McCarron has the skills to be a star quarterback, but his system doesn't always allow him to be—and that's a good thing for Alabama.

He will be mentioned in the discussion mostly because he is the starting quarterback on a team that's likely going to contend for the national title. But if he is going to make a serious push to win it, that likely means that the running game has faltered and Alabama is asking him to go win every single game, not just some.

That would be a bad thing for Alabama.

 

I'm not sure about winning it, but the winner of Saturday's showdown in Knoxville will certainly be in the conversation.

Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Tennessee solved all of its most pressing offseason issues with the emergence of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, running back Marlin Lane and a defense that may not be ultra-talented, but is capable of forcing turnovers.

Florida has as well thanks to running back Mike Gillislee, who looks like a top-tier SEC running back. Jeff Driskel is still a work in progress, and he has to learn to not take sacks, but he hasn't asked to be great yet.

Last time I checked, running the ball and playing defense still is a good idea in the SEC.

I still view Georgia as the division favorite simply because the schedule is so easy. South Carolina may be more talented, and Florida and Tennessee are certainly capable no matter what happens on Saturday night in Knoxville. 

But until proven otherwise, it's still Georgia's division to lose.

 

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