Arkansas vs. Auburn: Matchup of Disappointing SEC Foes Favors Tigers
It's been a disappointing year for both the Arkansas Razorbacks and Auburn Tigers. Ironically, however, this matchup in October might be the difference in bowl eligibility and getting ready for spring practice in 2013.
In a showdown between two teams thought to be better football programs this year, both John L. Smith and Gene Chizik haven't been able to create consistency with their talented athletes, but Auburn will get themselves back on the right track with a win at home during Week 6 of college football action.
Dating back to last season, Auburn has to feel like payback is headed towards Arkansas. It suffered a 38-14 stomping in Fayetteville last season, and that was when the Tigers held the title of defending national champions.
The pride level will be high, the War Eagle will be in full effect and the Kiehl Fraizer experiment will start to look good as Auburn continues to make life miserable for WPS nation.
Both teams seemed to be linked together so far this season, but not in the most flattering way possible.
Arkansas suffered an embarrassing loss to ULM earlier this year, as QB Colton Browning torched them after Tyler Wilson went down with concussion-like symptoms.
Then, Auburn almost felt the hand of the Warhawks, but was able to hold on against one of the hottest, most upset-minded teams in the country.
While both teams had different game plans and situations against ULM, their outcomes were different. If you believe in cross examination, I think that's one of the good tells that Auburn is ready to come out fired up on Saturday.
Arkansas seems lost. Even in putting up over 500 yards of total offense against Texas A&M in Week 5, it suffered one of its worst losses in recent memory, losing 58-10 on the road at Kyle Field. Wilson was 0-of-9 passing in the red zone, and Arkansas couldn't stop the dual-threat QB Johnny Manziel.
That certainly bodes well on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. An impressive 12-10 loss to the No. 4 team in the nation, the LSU Tigers, might sound like an oxymoron, but Auburn was one or two bad plays away from winning against the Bayou Bengals.
Auburn's defense played its best game of the season, and Frazier showed flashes of what the coaching staff has to hope is consistency.
Who wins this SEC West matchup?
It's been a rough six months for both schools. Leading rusher and likely NFL-bound (soon) running back Michael Dyer was dismissed from Auburn in the offseason, bouncing around before finally deciding to lay off from football this year.
The offense has also been dormant since Cam Newton departed for the NFL, leading to questions of Chizik's ability to lead without his former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, now the head coach at Arkansas State.
Former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino was involved in one of the dirtiest scandals in recent memory that led to his dismissal, the details of which included fraud and payoffs to a younger woman he was seeing in the Arkansas faculty department.
Now, interim coach Smith is having debt problems, and the stories just keep coming out of Fayetteville that lean towards the worst.
Call it the lesser of two evils or home-field advantage, but I think Auburn has momentum from the LSU game and will use it to knock off the reeling Razorbacks. Arkansas will have some nice numbers once again, but Auburn avenges its most recent loss to the conference foe with a big win at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
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