Face it, Arkansas is an underdog on Saturday and any body – meaning individual person, outlet, blog, podcast, whatever – picking Arkansas is one of three kind of people.
Patronizing his or her listeners and/or readers
Etenerally optimistic and picks Arkansas every game
Wants to take a chance on making a lot of money via Las Vegas
Most folks are taking Alabama. It’s the smart take. The safe take. That isn’t to say Arkansas cannot beat the Crimson Tide on Saturday in the best college football matchup of the day. But it isn’t likely.
Here are five reasons the Crimson Tide will likely stretch their winning streak over the Hogs to 15.
Reigning Heisman Trophy Winner
Oct 23, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) warms up before an NCAA college football game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Independent of anything else, Alabama has Bryce Young. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner picked up this author’s vote after Week 4, too. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman even said if it’s possible for the best player in the country last year to have gotten any better, he has.
Arkansas has secondary weaknesses
Cincinnati running back Corey Kiner (2) leaps over Arkansas defensive back Simeon Blair (15) to score a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Yes, Arkansas’ defensive backfield was better against Texas A&M. But the Razorbacks are still ranked 126th out of 131 teams in FBS in pass defense. Young and Co. put up 282 yards a game through the air.
Bryce Young isn't the best player on the field. Will Anderson is
Sep 3, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) rushes against Utah State Aggies offensive lineman Alfred Edwards (72) in the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
If college football was just, Will Anderson would be the Heisman Trophy winner. He would have been the winner last year, too. Alas, defenders almost never are. It could change. Anderson is unlike anyone the last 10 years in the sport in the way he dominates.
Teams don't run on Alabama
Oct 9, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Raheim Sanders (5) carries the ball against Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas’ offensive strength is certainly running over passing. The Razorbacks are ninth in FBS in yards per game, averaging 244 through four games. Alabama’s defense is even higher ranked opposite: the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide give up 62.5 yards per game.
Sep 17, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban brings his team onto the field for warm ups prior to the game against Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Pittman called Nick Saban the best coach the sport has ever seen at the college level. Arkansas will respect the fire out of Alabama. But at the end of the day, beating an icon is improbable.