The Arkansas Razorbacks (1-3) are in desperate need of a win this weekend when they visit SEC newcomer Texas A&M (2-1) in College Station on Saturday.
Arkansas is reeling after losing three straight games. The Razorbacks began the year ranked in the Top 10 but have fallen apart over the last three weekends.
Meanwhile, the Aggies are coming off two straight wins over SMU and South Carolina State and are looking for their first conference win of the year.
Here we get you set with everything you need to know for Saturday afternoon's SEC clash at Kyle Field.
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, TX
When: Saturday, September 29 at 12 p.m. ET
Watch: SEC Network
Listen: KUOA 1290 AM (Fayetteville), WTAW 1620 AM (College Station)
Live Streaming: ESPN3.com
Betting Line: Texas A&M (-13.5), according to Covers.com.
The overwhelming talking point coming into this weekend is the early-season struggles from Arkansas. A team that was predicted to challenge in the SEC this season and contend for a BCS Championship Game appearance is 1-3 after four weeks and in danger of not even earning a bowl bid this winter.
Until the Razorbacks end their current losing streak, the concerns surrounding the direction of the program will continue to dominate talk around Fayetteville.
Who May Not Play for Arkansas
*According to USA Today
CB Tevin Mitchel (Neck), questionable for Saturday
FB Kiero Small (Foot), out indefinitely
RB Kody Walker (Leg), out for season
WR Maudrecus Humphrey (Disciplinary), out for season
TE Andrew Peterson (Disciplinary), out for season
WR Marquel Wade (Disciplinary), out for season
Who May Not Play for Texas A&M
*According to USA Today
RB Brandon Williams (Eligibility), out for season
Top 25 Implications
Texas A&M is receiving votes for the AP Top 25 and will certainly make a case to enter the rankings with a win over Arkansas this weekend. At 3-1, they would have to be considered one of the country's top programs.
On the other side, Arkansas has lots of work to do before it can be considered a Top 25 team. The Razorbacks are well below .500 and have some shocking losses on their resume already.
What They're Saying
Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino had high praise and has tall expectations moving forward for wide receiver Cobi Hamilton after his record-breaking performance against Rutgers last weekend (via Arkansas News' Robbie Neiswanger):
He played his butt off. He competed and came back, and it really started this week in practice...He played unbelievable (Saturday night), and now he might as well do it every week. He needs to do it every week.
Hamilton will need another dominant effort for Arkansas to have any chance of winning on the road this weekend.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is well aware of the caliber of opponents coming up on the Aggies' schedule this fall (via The Dallas Morning News' Sean Lester):
We’ve got to be able to generate offense and do some things because our schedule is about to pick up here in a hurry. We just need to play better as a team and I think we made some strides in that area...
Sumlin's squad will take to the road after its matchup with Arkansas to take on Ole Miss and Louisiana Tech. A loss would certainly set the Aggies back, as they would be 0-2 in SEC play.
Arkansas Player to Watch
Texas native Cobi Hamilton will return to his home state looking to help his Arkansas squad get back to their winning ways. The 6'3" senior wide receiver is averaging an astonishing 21.5 yards per reception this season on 20 catches.
Hamilton has 429 yards and four touchdowns receiving in four games this September, but most of that came last weekend in Arkansas' loss to Rutgers. Hamilton made 10 catches last Saturday for 303 yards and three scores.
Texas A&M Player to Watch
Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has been one of the most exciting players to watch in all of college football this season. Manziel is the Aggies' leading passer and rusher through three games. He has 641 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, and another 262 yards and five scores on the ground.
The freshman from Kerrville, Texas has yet to throw an interception and is completing more than 67 percent of his passes coming into this weekend. Watch for his speed and vision in the open field to give the Razorbacks defense fits all day long.
The most important matchup on the field Saturday afternoon will be the battle between the Arkansas passing attack and the Texas A&M defense. The Aggies are allowing just 12.3 points per game this season, while the Razorbacks boast the nation's No. 25-ranked aerial assault in 2012.
With quarterback Tyler Wilson back under center for Arkansas, their passing attack is much more threatening, but it hardly seems like enough to overcome the Aggies defense playing in front of a raucous home crowd.
On the Hot Seat
Arkansas head coach John L. Smith is off to a rocky start in Fayetteville. Not only is he millions of dollars in debt, but he has failed to rally his squad for three straight weeks now.
Smith's Razorbacks were expected to challenge Alabama and LSU in the SEC West division this season, but have lost to Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers and were shutout by the Crimson Tide at home two weeks ago, 52-0. A loss to Texas A&M this weekend would have his job in serious jeopardy.
The Aggies and Razorbacks are two teams moving in completely opposite directions this season. While Texas A&M has won two straight, Arkansas hasn't won in nearly a month and will find a W tough to come by on the road this weekend. I like the Aggies to pile on the Razorbacks' misery on Saturday afternoon with a narrow win in College Station.
Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 24
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