The Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) are once again contenders for a title, and the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1) are still a threat in the West despite its loss last week. Arkansas is surging and are looking to knock off the defending SEC Champs. It will be a battle, and the Razorbacks competed hard against the Tide a year ago.
All of that makes this one of the best matchups of the weekend. IB has broken down the game and now it's time to make our predictions.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Alabama 34, Arkansas 24
Arkansas is truly ascending under Sam Pittman, but they aren't quite on Alabama's level at this point. Alabama's offense hasn't blown me away this season, as both their offensive line and skill talent isn't where it has been in recent seasons. What makes it all work, however, is star quarterback Bryce Young.
Arkansas still lacks the talent needed on defense to truly compete with and beat a team like Alabama. We saw that last season as well, but this year Alabama is much better on defense, which doesn't bode well for the Razorbacks. I don't think they have enough firepower on the perimeter to pull off this kind of upset.
On the other side, although the Tide aren't the elite offensive unit they've been in the past, they have enough to get this one done thanks to Young. I think this game will be close for a bit, but Alabama and Young will pull away in the final two quarters.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Alabama 31, Arkansas 21
The upstart Hogs are turning heads but they are not ready to compete completely with the big dogs just yet. Alabama is still the beast of the SEC and I do not see that changing this week.
SHAUN DAVIS, RECRUITING ANALYST
Prediction: Alabama 31, Arkansas 24
Alabama’s quarterback, Bryce Young, threw for 385 yards and 4 TDs on 25-of-36 passing in a 55-3 home win vs. Vanderbilt last Saturday. The competition will be a litte tougher as the Crimson Tide head to Fayetteville with the Razorbacks coming off a tough 23-21 loss against Texas A&M. Arkansas let one get away after dominating early and then surrendering 23 unanswered points. The Razorbacks lead FBS with 20 sacks, led by former Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders, who has 5.5 sacks to lead the nation. KJ Jefferson and the offense can’t go cold in this matchup.
SEAN STIRES, STAFF WRITER
Prediction: Alabama 31, Arkansas 20
Alabama’s currently a 17.5 point favorite against the Razorbacks. The Tide hasn’t had a Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith-type receiver step up in that deep threat role and Arkansas has the best pass rush in the nation that should at least make things difficult for Bryce Young.
RYAN ROBERTS, DIRECTOR OF RECRUITING
Prediction: Alabama 31, Arkansas
I have been on record fully supporting Sam Pittman and the direction that he is taking Arkansas. He has established his identity, including an outstanding offensive line and dynamic run game behind Raheim “Rocket” Sanders and quarterback KJ Jefferson.
It’s just hard to be against Alabama, even with some uneven play so far. In the end, Bryce Young is the difference maker. He is just a different caliber of passer right now compared to Jefferson and the separator in this game.
ANDREW McDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Alabama 38, Arkansas 17
This game lost some of its luster when Arkansas allowed 23 unanswered points to Texas A&M last weekend in a 23-21 loss to the Aggies, denying us a matchup of undefeated SEC West teams. There is no rest for the Hogs this weekend, as Alabama comes to Fayetteville. No one can forget the only other time that Alabama went on the road this season, when the Tide got all they could handle at Texas and needed Bryce Young heroics and a last-second field goal to outlast the Longhorns.
However, I don't expect Alabama to come out flat in a second straight road game, and quite frankly, Alabama is a bad matchup for Arkansas. The Razorbacks rely on the running game, averaging 243.8 YPG, but Alabama brings the SEC's top-ranked rushing defense (and #4 in the nation) into the matchup. Alabama's goal will be to force Arkansas into plenty of third-and-longs, and that is where the Tide excel, allowing opponents to convert only 18.6% of third-downs, good for tops in the SEC and second nationally.
IB STAFF STANDINGS
Bryan - 15-4
Vince - 14-5
Shaun - 13-6
Sean - 13-6
Ryan - 13-6
Andrew - 11-8
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