Alabama Football: Two circumstances are assured against Arkansas

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

In the unnecessary game for Alabama Football against Arkansas, two circumstances will undoubtedly occur.

Alabama football does not need its game versus Arkansas. Per SEC mandate, it will be played anyway. Arkansas, on the other hand, has an opportunity to shock the college football world. Sam Pittman’s much-improved Arkansas Razorback team will anticipate the challenge.

What Pittman has done in his short time in Fayetteville is impressive. The 2020 record does not reflect how much better Pittman has made the Hogs. Bret Bielema’s outdated style of football stumbled through five seasons as the Arkansas head coach. Post the Bobby Petrino meltdown in April 2012, the Razorbacks’ best seasons have been mediocre; the worst ones, abysmal.

John L. Smith was a one-season caretaker immediately after Petrino. Bobby-ball had given the Hogs 10 wins in 2010 and 11 wins in 2011. Smith’s record was 4-8 in 2012. 2013 was worse with only three wins in Bielema’s first season. The four following seasons produced seven. eight, seven and four wins.

Chad Morris inherited a roster without the tools required for his offense. His four wins over two seasons were evidence of the needed roster rebuild and that Morris had some head coach, learning curve issues.

Sam Pittman followed those eight seasons of Razorback dysfunction. The former Georgia assistant was not a popular choice. A collective ho-hum greeted Pittman in Fayetteville. Undeterred, Pittman has rebuilt the Razorbacks more quickly than anyone could imagine. The 3-6 record should be 4-5 or even 5-4, were it not for clearly bad officiating calls costing Arkansas one and maybe two wins.

Arkansas is not going to beat the Crimson Tide on Saturday. Don’t tell that to Sam Pittman or his players. The Razorbacks will be ready for a fight, determined to showcase how much better they are than the record indicates. Several weeks ago, we stated Kentucky would be a tougher out for the Crimson Tide than LSU. The prediction was wrong, but not far off. Instead, we should have picked Arkansas as the tougher game.

Razorback QB, Feleipe Franks is No. 4 in the SEC in passing yards. Hogs WR, Treylon Burks is No. 4 in receiving yards. Grant Morgan leads the SEC with 111 tackles. Franks missed the Missouri game with an injury. Morgan was hurt during the game. Their status for Saturday is not known. Arkansas is averaging 414 yards-per-game on offense. The defense is No. 10 in the SEC, allowing 33 points per game.

The Razorbacks could have won, perhaps should have won, both of their last two games. The LSU loss was impacted by a terrible targeting call on a Hog defensive back. Missouri beat Arkansas on a last-second field goal. The Razorbacks will be driven to end the season on a more positive result, even if it just holding the outcome well under the final, projected spread.

The Alabama football response to Arkansas will not be equal to the intensity of the LSU game. Nick Saban, as ever, will fight any level of complacency. The pattern of human nature is for a respite, if not a lull, to follow frenzy. It won’t be enough to change the game’s outcome, but it might give Arkansas a chance to make the game respectable.

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