No. 1 Alabama and unranked Arkansas head into their college football showdown on Saturday occupying two very different positions in the SEC and with opposing situations in their respective schedules.
Alabama is undefeated following a 48-7 win over Kentucky and in the middle of a six-game stretch against opposition without a winning record. Through their first four games, Alabama has walloped its competition, 149-16.
Arkansas, on the other hand, is very much the opposite. The Razorbacks are mired in a four-game losing streak in an absolutely brutal stretch against five straight ranked opponents. Arkansas has already lost to No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 18 Florida and No. 14 South Carolina by a combined score of 127-74.
Saturday's contest features a showdown between two traditional power offenses, which has become a rarity in college football today. Here are the main points to watch.
When: Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Bryant–Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: 53
- Spread: Alabama (-28)
Razorbacks Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Will Hines||CB||10/06/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||arm|
|Robert Thomas||DT||10/14/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||leg|
|Demetrius Wilson||WR||08/18/2013||will miss the entire season||Out||knee|
Crimson Tide Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Dakota Ball||DL||10/02/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||undisclosed|
|Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix||S||10/02/2013||is suspended indefinitely||Suspended||disciplinary|
|Alvin Kamara||RB||10/13/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Arkansas||Questionable||knee|
|Ryan Kelly||C||09/29/2013||is expected to miss 2-3 weeks||Out||knee|
|Dillon Lee||LB||10/14/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Arkansas||Questionable||undisclosed|
|Wilson Love||DT||10/13/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Arkansas||Questionable||concussion|
|Nick Perry||S||09/26/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||shoulder|
|Dalvin Tomlinson||DE||09/07/2013||is expected to miss the remainder of the season||Out||knee|
Can Arkansas' Ground Game Keep Up?
The problem for Arkansas, other than going up against a ludicrously talented Alabama team, is that its offense is simply not built to compete in a shootout. The Razorbacks employ an attack that thrives on getting ahead before leaning on the run game to drag contests to their conclusions.
Arkansas is certainly good at pounding away on the ground thanks to the running back duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who have combined for 1,284 yards and eight scores this season.
While Arkansas' running game is electric, quarterback Brandon Allen leaves something to be desired, as indicated by his 4-of-12 passing game for 30 yards and an interception last week against the Gamecocks.
The only team to score more than 10 points on the Crimson Tide this season was Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel in Alabama's 49-42 shootout win in Week 2. Meanwhile, Alabama has averages 38.8 points a game, so it's simply a matter of Nick Saban's team not getting complacent in a rather boring stretch.
Which team wins?
Alabama has yet to face a power rushing attack like that of the Razorbacks, but at the end of the day, the talent gap between these two teams is too wide.
Last year, the Crimson Tide blanked Arkansas early in the season, 52-0, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. To expect the Razorbacks to now go on the road and play much better after a string of physical losses is unreasonable.
Barring a major lapse in focus by Alabama, which has a major showdown against No. 6 LSU in three weeks, the Tide will cruise past Arkansas to keep their undefeated streak alive.
Score: Alabama, 48, Arkansas 7
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling