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Jumbo Package: Tide rolls into Fayetteville

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. As you know, Alabama faces Arkansas tomorrow. Your previews:

Alabama’s four-year run to the national championship game was busted in 2019 thanks to LSU. The Crimson Tide looks the part of their 2017 team, the last trophy-raising campaign for head coach Nick Saban. The longer Arkansas can keep within a three-score game, the longer Mac Jones, Najee Harris, and DeVonta Smith pad their stats.

How much fight do the Razorbacks have left? Not nearly enough to prevent Bama from registering a 14th straight win in this series.

Prediction: Alabama 56, Arkansas 24

I feel like a broken record, but it’s nearly impossible to consistently pick Alabama games when it can dial up any score that it wants. You have to factor in the situation when looking at this 31.5-point spread. Will Saban really want to leave his starters out there knowing that the SEC Championship Game vs. Florida is looming next week? I doubt it. That, coupled with the challenge of preparing for two quarterbacks, will be enough to get the Hogs the cover. Pick: Arkansas (+31.5)

Could Bama be just trying to get through this and move on as quickly as possible?

The program might be all about process and focus, but the battle with Florida for the SEC Championship the week after is all that truly matters. It’s going to be a tense game with everyone holding their breath that no one gets hurt before the big battle, and just as big a concern will be a plucky Hog team that will score just enough to make this interesting … at least for a little while.

Alabama 52, Arkansas 24

Quarterback Mac Jones is in the middle of the Heisman conversation, completing 75.7 percent of his passes for 3,113 yards with 27 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. Jones is throwing to arguably the best receiving corps in the country, even with losing Jaylen Waddle to injury. Then he has the luxury of handing the ball off to Najee Harris in the backfield.

They’ll face an Arkansas defense that ranks 103rd in the country in total defense and has particularly struggled against the pass, allowing 263.2 passing yards per game.

But it’s the improvement of the defense that is taking the Alabama Death Machine over the top. Since giving up 48 points to Ole Miss back in October, the Tide have given up just 74 total points.

While Arkansas is showing signs of turning its program around, this matchup will be too much for the Razorbacks to handle. On top of that, Arkansas has suffered a few losses to its offense and now QB Feleipe Franks is questionable to play this weekend.

Fade Alabama if you wish, but that does not seem advisable at the moment. Roll Tide.

PREDICTION: Alabama -31.5 (-110)

BNS (Before Nick Saban) this was a pretty good good series, but like everyone else in the SEC, Saban has the Hogs’ number. The Tide are the bell cow for the SEC. In fact, mention the SEC anywhere in this country and Alabama will come up first. Whether you like him or not, he deserves credit for building one of the greatest dynasties in college football, and he did it quickly.

Saban is in his 14th season at Bama, and his overall record is 161-23 and his SEC record is 94-15. He’s won five national championships (plus one at LSU in another life). Tomorrow, he will be appearing in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama 56-27

The surprising thing about these picks for me is the point total afforded to Arkansas. The consensus in Vegas has Alabama favored by 31 with an over/under of 68.5 as of this writing, which suggests a final score of 50-19. Alabama hasn’t allowed more than 17 points to any opponent since week 4, and if there was ever a game that Saban wanted to shorten, this is it. Look for Alabama to blow it out early and drain the clock in the second half. I won’t be surprised if they fail to cover in this one, but I think the defense continues to show improvement and gets it done. Let’s call it 48-16.

Of course, that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of Alabama at Arkansas?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    I smell bacon! Alabama by 31+
    (332 votes)
  • 54%
    The pork is a little salty, Tide by 15-30
    (421 votes)
  • 0%
    Hogs get Alabama stuck in the mud, Tide by 1-14
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Waterbeds are rockin’ all over the state after Hogs shock the CFB world
    (15 votes)
772 votes total Vote Now

Moving on, Cole Cubelic loves some Landon Dickerson.

That man is nasty, and plenty of folks are noticing. Saban was asked about Dickerson on his “Hey, Coach!” show last night.

It’s tough to say that Dickerson is the best center of the Saban era with Ryan Kelly in the mix, but Landon is certainly the most powerful. He has a real chance to be drafted in the first round in April, which is a rare accomplishment for an interior lineman. If I had to make a choice between Dickerson and 2012 Barrett Jones, give me Dickerson, and while you’re at it give me this year’s offensive line over that one. Hey, why don’t we poll that one, too?

Poll

Which is the best OL of the Saban era?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    2012: Kouandjio, Warmack, Jones, Steen, Fluker
    (295 votes)
  • 58%
    2019: Leatherwood, Brown, Dickerson, Ekiyor, Neal
    (422 votes)
717 votes total Vote Now

Mac Jones is hard at work improving his accuracy. If you haven’t seen this, it’s a must watch.

What a work ethic.

Marlon Humphrey is doing the Lord’s work.

Gotta love it.

Last, you just can’t make this up.

Big Lots Bama is at it again. Uncanny.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.