FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas may be a slight favorite against Auburn but Sam Pittman’s not taking anything for granted.
“They’ve got a lot of talent and they play extremely hard,” Pittman said this week.
Some people look at the Tigers’ 3-4 record and automatically put it into the win column. The only SEC win they have came against Missouri in overtime primarily because a running back fumbled a split second before stepping into the end zone for a touchdown that would win the game.
Both teams are 1-3 in the league. The Razorbacks beat South Carolina back in the second week of the season before the Gamecocks appear to have straightened things out.
“You don’t really look at a team’s record,” Pittman said. “You just look at the team on film and Auburn’s very scary. They’re very talented on both sides of the ball.”
All of the numbers through seven games point to the Hogs just being able to keep it on the ground all day and cruise to a win. The only problem with that is Auburn watches film, too.
Tigers coach Bryan Harsin may be dancing through the flames of the dumperster fire on the the plains these days, but nobody has accused him or his staff of being blind.
They are well aware who Rocket Sanders, the leading rusher in the SEC right now, is and what he can do.
“You’ve got to get multiple players to the ball because he runs hard,” Harsin said this week. “He’s having a big year and is a really good player. He’s explosive and he runs hard. From what I’ve seen, he’s got really good vision.”
The problem is this bye week both teams have had. Hog fans needed there to be a ton of controversy swirling about Harsin, but the league drama this week has been focused more in College Station, Texas, and the downward spiral The Great Quarterback Guru has Texas A&M headed.
The quiet has been interesting and probably a little concerning to certainly the Razorback coaches.
It’s when coaches break tendencies through the first seven games and start doing all sorts of things they haven’t shown.
The guess is they’ve worked on the passing game and that could be a problem for the Hogs. Yes, they have their secondary as healthy as it’s been since starting the season.
It’s questionable they have the players to do it, but coming into last year’s game the wide receivers for Auburn couldn’t catch a cold and on a bright, sunny day in Fayetteville they couldn’t drop one.
Don’t get over-confident about this game. Weird things tend to happen in this series. Just think back to 2020 for an example.
The Hogs should get a win. KJ Jefferson is the best quarterback and when it’s a close game or nobody really knows what’s going to happen use that as the basis to judge. Hogs 35, Tigers 24
Overall in the league this is a good week with several good matchups that will answer some questions. There aren’t too many games going on at the same time, either, which makes for a good day of viewing.
Florida at 1 Georgia (-23.5): The Gators may be making steps forward, but they aren’t big enough or fast enough to take down a team that has gotten some injured players healthy and is rolling again. If this one is within single digits, Florida should just count it as a win and move on down the road. Bulldogs 35, Gators 17
Missouri at 25 South Carolina (-3.5): The Gamecocks are better this year, but the Tigers are not vastly improved over last year. This game being in Columbia gives South Carolina a chance. It will probably be close simply because the Gamecocks had a lot of improving to do and are playing in what has become a division that may not be as good as the West from top to bottom, but is just as difficult as the top teams. The Gamecocks are just trying to get there. Gamecocks 24, Tigers 14
19 Kentucky at 3 Tennessee (-11.5): The Vols are due for a hangover game because they really haven’t had one this season. They do have an even bigger game next week facing No. 1 Georgia, who may not have a cakewalk this week, either. Both should win, it may just take Tennessee a little longer in this game. Kentucky’s defense has played well at times but they haven’t seen a big-play offense like the Vols. Vols 41, Wildcats 28
15 Ole Miss (-1.5) at Texas A&M: This may be one of the most intriguing games on the schedule simply because the biggest question is if LSU exposed the Rebels last week. The second question is if the Aggies have enough players to do anything about it if they did. No idea what the answers are either way on this one but the guess here is the problems in College Station just might be bigger than anyone suspects. Rebels 29, Aggies 21