Alabama Crimson Tide does not need quality points against the Hogs

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have options available in how to beat the Arkansas Razorbacks.

In one way the Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas game is similar to the Iron Bowl. Like Auburn’s Kevin Steele, Arkansas DC, Barry Odom will be forced to make one of two strategic decisions. The problem for Odom is that neither will work.

For all the good work Odom and Sam Pittman have done this season, Arkansas, and especially the Razorback defense is slumping. The injury and COVID depleted Hogs’ defense does not have the firepower to stop Steve Sarkisian’s offense. Odom can load the box to attempt to slow the Tide rushing attack, leaving his secondary to be burned by deep passes. Or Odom can try to play two deep safeties, double DeVonta Smith as often as possible, and get run over by Najee Harris.

As Kevin Steele learned, doing one or the other, or trying to guess when to alternate both are all futile. Steve Sarkisian’s offense is a mismatch-making machine. Unless a defense has as many exceptional athletes as does the Alabama Crimson Tide offense, opposing DCs have no chance.

The weather might help the Hogs a little if the wind blows enough. A chilly 38 degrees is expected at kickoff. The wind is forecast to be only 12 mph. It does not take much more wind to affect deep balls. Maybe Mac Jones misses on a couple of throws, but either of the Arkansas QBs can be expected to miss on more.

Far more likely to affect the Crimson Tide winning margin will be Nick Saban’s decisions. As always, Saban will demand his Alabama football team play up to its (his) own standards. But the Crimson Tide does not have to win impressively. A workman-like performance will do just fine. The perception of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will not change by a 10-point win or a 40-point one.

All Alabama Crimson Tide assistant coaches are expected to be available. Other than possibly a starting and a backup offensive lineman, no key players are expected to miss the game. Nick Saban will not send his first units out of the game too early, particularly key defenders. Instead, he can be expected to take the opportunity to give certain second-unit guys more work. With the absence of Jaylen Waddle, another wideout needs development through game action. This week might afford more snaps for Javon Baker.

The point spread does not matter. Neither does a record-setting afternoon by any player. The main key for Saturday is not losing top players to injury. Bryce Young should see plenty of work. B-Rob and the young running backs can be given more carries. Just win, stay healthy and move on.

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Alabama Crimson Tide fans can enjoy a brunch Saturday morning knowing Arkansas cannot win. Based on an early line, oddsmakers don’t give Florida much of a chance either.