This was not expected to be a marquee matchup, but after Arkansas's impressive 3-0 start this is one of the best games of the weekend. Texas A&M was a hot pick to be a College Football Playoff party crasher, but the Razorbacks were picked sixth in the preseason SEC polls.
Texas A&M hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in its first three games, needing a comeback to beat a now 1-2 Colorado squad. That same weekend the Razorbacks blasted Texas (40-21), which vaulted them into the Top 25. Arkansas followed that up with a 45-10 win over Georgia Southern.
The winner of this matchup earns a huge SEC victory.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Arkansas 24, Texas A&M 16
I'm not surprised that Arkansas has been good on offense. The combination of KJ Jefferson at quarterback, Treylon Burks at wide receiver and Trelon Smith at running back gives the Razorbacks a legit group of playmakers. What has surprised me a bit has been how good they are on defense. After giving up 451.7 yards (5.7 YPP) and 34.9 points per game last season the Razorbacks have held their first three opponents to just 16.0 points and 265.7 yards per game.
Arkansas held Texas to just 256 yards of offense and 4.0 yards per play, and their pass defense has been especially effective. Arkansas has had a solid run defense, and that unit will have to be at its best against the one-two Texas A&M punch of Isaiah Spiller (250 yards, 6.3 YPC) and Devon Achane (203 yards, 6.8 YPC).
Texas A&M's quarterback play has been the issue this season, although Zach Calzada is coming off a solid performance against New Mexico. The Aggie defense is outstanding, but turnovers from the offense and Arkansas's ability to make a few big plays will be the difference.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Texas A&M 17, Arkansas 14
After we previewed Arkansas last year before they were taken off Notre Dame’s schedule I never thought they would make it to the top 20 and I would be forced to talk about them in a prediction write up! I trust the Aggies defense in this one to slow down the Hogs offense but what happens on the other side? Low scoring football is what happens. I’ll give the edge to the Aggies just because of the defense but this child be an upset.
GRANT DELVECCHIO, STAFF WRITER
Prediction: Texas A&M 24, Arkansas 17
As much as it'd be nice to see Arkansas pull off the upset, I think the Aggies pull this one out. I anticipate a close game the whole way, but the Texas A&M defense will prove to be too much for KJ Jefferson and Arkansas to handle. Make no mistake, this Aggies defense is no joke.
ANDREW McDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Arkansas 27, Texas A&M 17
Arkansas and Texas A&M meet in Dallas’ AT&T Stadium in what will be a battle of strength against strength. The Arkansas offense has shown surprising firepower this season in racing out to a 3-0 start, which includes a win over Texas. On the other side, coordinator Mike Elko’s defense leads the SEC in allowing only 5.7 PPG.
The Hogs will pull this one out because they will find enough success running the football against the Texas A&M defense. Arkansas averages 282 rushing YPG and has a deep stable of running backs. 5 Arkansas players have rushed for over 100 yards through 3 games, and that includes QB KJ Jefferson, who averages 7.5 YPC. Texas A&M’s defense is 1st in the SEC against the pass, but is 12th against the run, and that will be the difference in the game. I don’t expect the Aggies to be able to score enough with backup QB Zach Calzada getting the start – he has completed on 51% of his passes against weak competition, and Arkansas has the 2nd-ranked pass defense in the conference, allowing only 142 YPG.
SHAUN DAVIS, ESPN CHICAGO
Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 20
The Aggies offense should finally be able to put up some points against a middle of the road Razorbacks defense. The Razorbacks rushing attack is formidable, but the Aggies defense has proven itself to be stout early in the season, and the Razorbacks have to put the ball in the air more than they would like to. Jimbo Fisher teams usually peak around October/November, and this late September matchup could be the rising of that tide.
Trend: Arkansas is 41-33-3 all time against Texas A&M, but the Aggies are 3-0 under Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies are 6-0 in neutral site games, but 2-4 ATS in those games.
RYAN ROBERTS, RISENDRAFT
Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 20
Arkansas is heading in the right direction. They have some skill offensively, including star wide receiver Treylon Burks, but the difference is the lines on both sides of the ball. Head coach Sam Pittman has done an excellent job rebuilding their core upfront. Expect the Razorbacks to keep it close early but the Aggies finally get it right. They have shown some serious chinks in the armor but that defense is suffocating in the front seven. On offense, they have talented playmakers everywhere. Isaiah Spiller finally has his breakout game of 2021.
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