No. 1 Alabama won't have the services of its star quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy finalist Tua Tagovailoa on Saturday night. When the Crimson Tide plays host to an Arkansas team reeling in its second year under coach Chad Morris, the loss of Tagovailoa will not only be the biggest storyline in the SEC this week, it could be the biggest storyline in the entire college football world.

While the game itself is not expected to be very competitive, it will give us a sense of what this Crimson Tide offense looks like with Mac Jones under center after a week of first-team reps in practice. Plus, if he is ineffective, might Nick Saban turn to Tua's little brother Taulia Tagovailoa, in relief?

Let's breakdown the game and make picks straight up and against the spread.


Alabama: All eyes will be on Jones -- the redshirt sophomore who has completed 62.5 percent of his passes (20 of 32) for 237 yards, one touchdown and one interception in mop-up duty this year. He has earned praise from the staff during the last two spring games, and has plenty enough experience in the system to understand what will be asked of him. But what exactly will be asked of him? The offense is built around run-pass options and wide receivers gaining yards after the catch to supplement the running game. It will be fascinating to see if offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian replaces some of the RPO concepts with traditional power rushing schemes with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson.

Arkansas: Morris' year-plus tenure in Fayetteville has been nothing short of a disaster. The defense has been a sieve, quarterbacks Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks have been ineffective and confidence in Morris' ability to turn things around is waning. If there is a bright spot, it's running back Rakeem Boyd, who is averaging 93.71 yards per game on the ground despite no help from the passing attack. 

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 26 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Live stream:  

Game prediction, picks

Alabama is a 32-point favorite despite the quarterback drama. That's how bad things are in Fayetteville. It seems crazy to pick the Crimson Tide considering we haven't seen Jones as the true No. 1 with time to prepare, but that's exactly why you should side with the Tide. Coach Nick Saban is going to leave his first-teamers in as long as possible so that Jones can get comfortable with what's being asked of him if he does have to play vs. LSU on Nov. 9. That will allow those receivers to get those all-important yards after catch and run away from the Hogs in the second half. Pick: Alabama (-33.5)

So what CFB picks can you make with confidence in Week 9? And which line is Vegas way off on? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams win and cover the spread in every game this week, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,200 in profit over the past four seasons.