Over the next couple of days I'll be highlighting some of this weekends games. The first of which is arguably the biggest game of the weekend, with #10 Arkansas hosting #1 Alabama at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Kick-off will be at 2:30 CST Saturday and the game will be aired nationally on CBS.
Many analysts see the SEC as down this year, and rightfully so. The traditional powers of Florida, Georgia, and to a lesser extent, LSU, aren't quite what they were in recent years. For Arkansas fans, this season feels like a perfect storm. This Saturday, however, the Razorbacks face their biggest test of the season at home against the defending national champions.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who passed for 380 yards, 2 TDs, and no interceptions in a 31-24 win over Georgia last week, isn't looking for hype to win this game.
“For a lot of teams, it might be a big distraction, but I think this team is mature enough to handle it and just get down to business, because what it comes down to is playing a football game,” Mallett said. “All the other stuff that comes with it really doesn’t matter to us. Winning that football game is what we’re going to work to do this week.”
With Alabama's young secondary and Arkansas' many talented receivers, some are expecting the Razorbacks run a pass heavy offense this weekend. The only downside to that? In order to do so, the Razorbacks will have to find some glimmer of a running game. While they are 3rd in the nation in passing yards in just three games with 1,103 yards, they're a dismal 88th in total rushing yards with 348. There's no doubt in my mind that Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino will have a few tricks up his sleeve this Saturday.
On the other side of the field, the Crimson Tide's balance this year is a hot topic. Alabama coach Nick Saban is always known for his stout defenses, but this year, unlike last year, the offense is making people take notice.
Alabama running back and last year's Heisman winner Mark Ingram made his '10 debut at Duke this weekend, rattling off a 48 yard run on his first carry of the season. He had 151 yards on 9 carries with two TDs. Quarterback Greg McElroy, has senior, hasn't lost a game as a starter since high school. McElroy had 258 yards passing, 3 TDs, and 1 interception in Alabama's game against Duke.
No matter what team you cheer for, the atmosphere in Fayetteville will no doubt be electric this Saturday. Bobby Petrino, one of the best offensive coaches in the league squares off against quite possibly the best defensive coach in decades in Nick Saban. #10 at home vs. #1 in the nation.