LSU vs Arkansas: Predictions for John L. Smith's Final Game with Razorbacks
Win or lose—spoiler alert, it'll be "lose"—Saturday will be John L. Smith's last game with Arkansas.
Arkansas' John L. Smith also will coach his final game with the Hogs against LSU on Friday. Smith held interim status all year after the dismissal of Bobby Petrino and while he has publicly said he's confident about his coaching future, it won't be as Arkansas head coach after Saturday.
This is a fair assumption, and will in fact be a fair firing. Arkansas was ranked No. 10 in the Preseason Top 25. Today, the Razorbacks might not crack a top ten that ranks the teams in their own conference.
Here are some of my predictions for John L.'s last game as the Razorback head coach.
Tyler Wilson needs 88 yards passing to become the school's all-time leading passer. (He will surpass Ryan Mallett, now with the New England Patriots.)
He'll get it, of course—the idea that he wouldn't would be too bold a prediction—but he will have to work hard for it. LSU has a great defense, and it'll take him four picks and three quarters to get the record.
The over/under on this game is hovering around 52. While these are both reasonably high-scoring offenses, (LSU is averaging 31.2 points a game, Arkansas 24.5), LSU will be focusing this game on defense. The Tigers gave up 316 passing yards to Ole Miss last week, and Les Miles wants to make a statement about that headed into the postseason. Quoth Miles, via 1130 The Tiger:
"We're going to spend six days in between now and the next game in pass coverage," Miles said last weekend. "This is the kind of film that will be truly beneficial to our secondary."
On a related note, LSU is not apt to show a whole lot more than they have to in this game. The Tigers don't want to provide any more film to postseason opponents than they have so far. Expect a vanilla offense, unless the Tigers fall behind big. Since we don't expect that: Take the under.
While Arkansas has not announced publicly the firing of Smith—who was never more than an interim head coach anyway, following the abrupt and scandalous exit of Bobby Petrino—it is fair to believe that the Razorbacks' athletic department reached a decision on Smith's future some time ago. The final bold prediction, therefore, is this: The new Arkansas head coach will be revealed this week.
If he isn't, it narrows the field considerably, as it will then be clear that the school is respectfully waiting until after the candidate they want finishes the postseason with his current (old) team before packing his bags for Fayetteville.
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