We've already predicted the season's wins and losses for each SEC school, including Arkansas. Now we'll work backwards through the 2014 Alabama schedule and preview each SEC game, ending with West Virginia.
What Happened Last Year?
For the second consecutive season, the Crimson Tide blanked the Hogs by the score of 52-0. Poor Cody Mandell did not have much to do as Alabama moved the ball down the field at will. Like so often in his Alabama career, quarterback AJ McCarron came right out of the gate and methodically led the Tide down the field for a scoring touchdown.
The most memorable score may have been the last one when Derrick Henry bolted for an 80-yard touchdown.
The defense was just as stellar, holding Arkansas to 16 first downs and 256 yards, 88 of which came late in the game against back-up players. C.J. Mosley had 5 solo tackles and 5 assists, 1 tackle for a loss, 2 pass break-ups and 2 QB hurries.
How Does Arkansas Look In 2014?
The Hogs have had a rough time recovering from the 2012 scandal that ensued after former coach Bobby Petrino's infamous motorcycle ride with a young lady and his deceptions about the events. Coach Bret Bielema has assembled some talent but there is a serious lack of depth.
2013 SEC Freshman of the Year Alex Collins and rising junior Jonathan Williams were the only real bright spots of the 2013 season racking up a combined 1,926 rushing yards. Expect the running game to again be the strength of this offense.
Tight end Hunter Henry had an exceptional freshman year catching 28 balls for 409 yards and a team-high-tying four touchdowns in 2013. He was named to various All-SEC, Freshman All-America, and SEC All-Freshman teams.
Junior quarterback Brandon Allen's career to date has not merited his 4-star recruiting ranking coming out of high school. But this team has been put in his hands. Surprisingly, the offensive line only gave up 8 sacks last season. Three starters return on the line but the loss of center Travis Swanson (Round 3, Lions) will hurt.
Defensive coordinator Robb Smith cut his coaching teeth under Greg Schiano at both Rutgers and Tampa Bay, and the apple does not fall from the tree. Arkansas runs a one-gap, 4-3 defense with the main objective being to stop the run. However, they will switch to a three man front if the defense had some early trouble defending the deep verticals and shallow crosses - which was often in 2013.
The defense had a sack in every game last season except one (can you guess which game?) for 28.0 on the season. 8.5 of those sacks belonged to DE Chris Smith who is now in Jacksonville. DE Trey Flowers and DT Darius Philon are back with some new faces along the line and at linebacker. The good news for the Hogs is the return of experienced starters in the secondary in seniors Alan Turner, Tevin Mitchel, Carroll Washington, and Rohan Gaines to go with LB Braylon Mitchell.
Why Arkansas Might Win
But seriously folks...
Arkansas would need to play mistake-free and take some balls away. They will need to get their running game going early on with at least one of their horses breaking 100-yards in rushing.
On defense, the Razorbacks will have to keep the stable of Tide running backs between the tackles for minimal gains and shut down the big play receivers.
Why Alabama Might Win:
If the Crimson Tide can stay healthy and they find an offensive line that gels by October 11th, it should be a "W" for them. Alabama will need to score early and make some big plays to crush any hope Arkansas may have.
What I Think Will Happen:
Alabama will start out slow but slowly take over and shut down a spirited Arkansas team 49-10.
Is it too early to lite em up? Yes, but only 'cause the Process© says so.
|08/30/14||vs. West Virginia||Atlanta, Georgia||?|
|09/06/14||vs. Florida Atlantic||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||?|
|09/13/14||vs. Southern Miss||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||?|
|09/20/14||vs. Florida *||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||?|
|10/04/14||at Ole Miss *||Oxford, Mississippi||?|
|10/11/14||at Arkansas *||Fayetteville, Arkansas||WIN|
|10/18/14||vs. Texas A&M *||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||WIN|
|10/25/14||at Tennessee *||Knoxville, Tenn.||WIN|
|11/08/14||at LSU *||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||WIN|
|11/15/14||vs. Mississippi State *||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||WIN|
|11/22/14||vs. Western Carolina||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||WIN|
|11/29/14||vs. Auburn *||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||WIN|