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Arkansas On The Road To Victory Against Big Favorite Alabama

Douglas WebbCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 02:  'Tusk,' one of the Arkansas Razorbacks' mascots, watches pregame activities from the endsone before a game against the University of Southern California Trojans on September 2, 2006 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Trojans won 50-14.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The Arkansas Razorbacks head into this weekend's game against Alabama with the hottest quarterback in the SEC, Ryan Mallet, who is averaging a hundred yards a game more than No. 2 rated signal caller, Georgia quarterback, Joe Cox.

Despite a less than stellar surrounding cast, Mallet's pinpoint passes already have pundits speculating his future as an NFL first round draft pick.

Playing in Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino's intricate and high powered passing offense will only help to inflate Mallet's numbers even further.

Whether Mallet's league leading numbers will be enough to drive down a double digit betting line remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen if he can cause enough problems for an Alabama defense, that is at or near the top in nearly every defensive category in the league, to lead the Hogs to a win.

Early money flowing towards Bama says he won't.

What is known is that the Razorbacks don't have to score more points than Alabama to achieve victory in this Saturday's game. All they have to do is keep the score closer than people think it will be, and they achieve something more important than actually wining the game; they could achieve the all important moral victory.

This past weekend's showdown in Gainesville proved that a team doesn't necessarily have to win a game on the scoreboard to be considered victorious. Just ask Tennessee fans who have used this past weekends loss as a way to justify how bright their future must be.

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To hear them tell things, their moral victory was more important than any win racked up by other SEC teams this past weekend.

There were people who hoped the Gators would whip the Vols and their pretentious young head coach. Those hoping for a blowout were looking for one in the range of 40 points or better which really wasn't all that realistic to begin with. The line out of Vegas settled around 29 points, which again, was rather high.

So going by those numbers and using Vol fans logic, all the Razorbacks have to do is stay within seven points of the Tide to achieve a moral victory.

Headed into Saturday afternoon's game, Razorback fans could care less about moral victories. After losing a game to Georgia that many Arkansas fans felt they should have won, you can bet the Hogs will look to pull out all the stops in an effort to beat the Tide.

On the other hand, Alabama would love to beat the Hogs by 30, though they realize such a win is likely unrealistic. At the same time, they would be more than content to have the Razorbacks achieve a moral victory as long as they still get to win the actual ball game.

Will the Tennessee Athletic Department propose to the SEC that a fourth category be added to the league standings? Maybe they'll ask that moral victories be used as a tie breaker of sorts. Or maybe someone will break the news to the Volunteer faithful what moral victories really are?

Just another loss.

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