For my first blog post ever, I feel like I should have something special to say. Yet, as I continue to recline on my bed procrastinating from writing a paper (writing online is how I justify my procrastination), I really have nothing terribly special to say.
Good job locking down the victory against North Texas early. It's always extremely pleasing to see the Tide start a game strong and finish with big numbers. This isn't because I just like big numbers and beating the opposing team like a dead chicken (cough Carroll, Stoops, Brown…), but because in recent years Alabama has failed to have the intensity to be able to do so. Granted, we do have a few such victories in the past few years: Western Kentucky, Western Carolina, Arkansas. Additionally, who doesn't like to see a second-sring quarterback in Star Jackson take snaps in the second quarter as the first-string healthily calls in plays?
The Arkansas battle against Georgia was exciting, one of the highest scoring pure-SEC contests I can recall that didn't involve overtime. Bobby Petrino knows how to score, and I look forward to seeing his game plan against the tide.
I don't know much about the Razorback tailbacks, but I don't think Petrino will effectively use them as the focal point of his play calling. My guess is Bobby Petrino will try to beat Alabama how we expect him to try to beat us, relying on Mallett's arm. At that point it becomes a play-calling battle, one I predict will be futile, in the end, for Petrino going up against a seemingly-overlooked Nick Saban defense. Mallett will score, but he won't score big.
I expect our handoffs to be often but unproductive… in the first half. Arkansas generally has a tough D-line but one that will wear down over the course of a game, especially against a well-conditioned Crimson Tide. Greg McElroy is wonderful at getting the short passes in a tiny window, so I don't doubt our ability to be able to move the chains throughout the game, especially because the quarterback has adjusted to the pressure of games since the first half against VTech.
I'm not going to predict a score, at least not at this point in the week, but I do predict Alabama will outscore Arkansas.
Things I'll be particularly interested in:
Mallett matching up against the toughest defense he has faced yet
Arkansas' ability to lock down Alabama rushing late in the game
Alabama trying to gain some yards on the ground before the opposing defense wears out
Alabama's special teams coverage
Thanks for reading!