2015 Common Opponents Preview: Arkansas


We’re one down with six to go in our Common Opponents Preview; if you missed the Ole Miss preview you can catch up here: 2015 Common Opponents Preview: Ole Miss.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are the second carryover opponent from 2014 for Alabama in 2015. Last year’s game was played in Fayetteville and the Tide prevailed 14-13. This year the action will shift back to Tuscaloosa in Mid-October.
2014 Recap:
As mentioned above Alabama did escape Fayetteville with a 1 point victory last year. Escape is a perfect word here because it may have been Alabama’s worst game of the season; not to mention one of the more painful to watch I’ve ever seen. The weather was awful as it seemingly always is every time we play in Arkansas, and Alabama decided they’d play like how it looked and felt outside (crap). Alabama was a week removed from their loss at Ole Miss and Arkansas (like everyone else who plays Alabama) was fresh off a bye week. The Razorbacks were looking to end a 14 game SEC losing streak and Alabama was hoping not to lose back to back regular season games for the first time since 2007. It was a fry cry from the 52-0 beatdowns we’re used to putting on Arkansas.
Alabama got out to a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter when Blake Sims connected with T.J. Yeldon for a 22 yard touchdown. The Hogs quickly returned the favor with a Jonathan Williams TD run, but thankfully Alabama blocked the extra point (had they not this truly awful game might have had to go to overtime). Arkansas got another touchdown in the third quarter when their tight end caught a pass and took it 52 yards to the house; a play where Alabama completely forgot the tackling aspect of football.
The Tide hung on against Arkansas in 2014 despite several miscues.
Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama finally scored another touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Blake Sims connected with DeAndrew White, and with that the scoring was complete. The Tide hung on to win on a night where they were out-gained 332-227. Alabama also had some problems fielding punts in this game, prompting one of the great lines from my dad; “Hell, put Kenyan Drake back there in a wheelchair, at least he’ll catch it”.
Although Alabama got the actual victory, Arkansas got the much-needed moral victory. Razorbacks spent the next week telling anyone who would listen how close they were to winning an SEC game; only to get beat at home by 13 to Georgia seven days later.
2015 Look Ahead:
Alabama will look to make it nine straight wins against Arkansas when the Hogs visit Tuscaloosa on Saturday October 10th. There is no set time for this matchup yet, but it’s certainly in play for the 2:30 CBS game. Other notable SEC matchups that Saturday are Georgia at Tennessee, Florida at Missouri and South Carolina at LSU. Alabama will be coming off a road match-up at Georgia while Arkansas will head to Tuscaloosa after a road game in Knoxville.
Key Losses/Returnees for Arkansas:
While at Alabama, Saban is 8-0 against Arkansas. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas has been a bit of a sleeper pick in 2015 based on how they finished in 2014, and how many players are returning. They don’t lose too much on the offensive side of the ball but they do lose some talent on defense; including draftees Trey Flowers, Martrell Spaight and Darius Philon. They do return running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, quarterback Brandon Allen and most of their offensive line. All in all Arkansas should return 16 starters unless Bret Bielema eats some of them out of anger. Nevermind, I forgot he was giving cooking classes via Twitter so maybe that will be enough to hold him over.
I’m guessing by Mid-October the Arkansas hype will have died down but who knows? Arkansas could actually capitalize on some preseason hype for once (hahaha)! Seriously; other than Notre Dame, is there another team in the country that historically plays worse when they have high preseason expectations?
Alabama leads this series overall with an 18-7 record and as I mentioned earlier the Crimson Tide have won 8 in a row in the series. Alabama hasn’t lost to Arkansas in the Saban Era; hopefully that trend continues on October 10th!
Roll Tide and check back soon for the next Common Opponent Preview: Texas A&M.

More from Bama Hammer