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No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas

September 14, 2012

The Arkansas football team had been pointing to this week’s game with Alabama all offseason, but the Hogs forgot to take care of business last week vs. Louisiana-Monroe. Now few are giving the Razorbacks much of  a chance against the nation’s top team. Alabama is a 19.5-point favorite on

Arkansas was stunned at home 34-31 by ULM on Saturday, allowing a whopping 550 yards to the Sun Belt team. The Razorbacks led 28-7 midway through the third quarter but played the second half without first-team All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson, who suffered a head injury after taking several big hits in the first half. Wilson, who also missed the second half against New Mexico last season with concussion-like symptoms, was 11 of 20 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game at halftime. The loss dropped Arkansas from No. 8 to out of the Top 25. 

Wilson is questionable with a head injury for Saturday, but Crimson Tide players unquestionably are going to prepare for the Heisman Trophy candidate anyway. If Wilson can’t play, Arkansas coach John L. Smith said the decision on starting Brandon Allen or Brandon Mitchell will be made later this week. Allen is a redshirt freshman who played the second half against Louisiana-Monroe. Mitchell was switched to wide receiver in the preseason.

The Tide haven’t been challenged much this season yet. They rolled No. 8 Michigan in their opener and then beat Western Kentucky 35-0 last week. AJ McCarron threw four touchdown passes and No. 1 Alabama’s defense forced the same number of turnovers. McCarron had two scoring tosses apiece to Christion Jones and Kevin Norwood, matching his career high. A running game that produced 232 yards against the Wolverines took a back seat to McCarron and the opportunistic defense. McCarron completed 14 of 19 passes and played all but the final few minutes.

Alabama did lose backup running back Jalston Fowler for  the remainder of the season after injuring his knee during Saturday’s home opener against Western Kentucky. The 6-foot-1, 242-pound tailback is one of the Tide’s biggest and most diverse weapons on offense. In addition to being the No. 2 running back on the depth chart, the junior splits time as a lead-blocking fullback/H-back.

Last year, Alabama had little trouble with Arkansas in winning 38-14. . The Razorbacks’ high-octane attack was limited to just 226 total yards. Alabama had 10 tackles for loss, two interceptions, six pass breakups and four quarterback hurries. McCarron completed 15 of 20 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson threw for just 185 yards for Arkansas.

Arkansas is 3-1 all-time against the defending national champions in Fayetteville. Last season, the Razorbacks defeated Auburn 38-14. The other victories over the defending national champions were 28-24 over Tennessee in 1999 and 14-13 over TCU in 1939.

Crimson Tide are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games. Crimson Tide are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Crimson Tide are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 conference games. Razorbacks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss. Razorbacks are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.

Sportsbook Advisor sees a tough game here to handicap.  On one hand Alabama has been destroying teams and Arkansas is struggling mightily. But on the other hand you have Arkansas due to start playing better and maybe Alabama to trip a bit. We say that if you have to play this one take Arkansas +19.5

Friday, September 14th, 2012 College Football 2012

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