FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Oddsmakers have Arkansas a decided underdog against Texas A&M. That really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, mainly because they don’t take into account how close this series has been … for the most part.
The Aggies ripped off a convincing win in 2016 that didn’t leave any doubt. Somehow in Bret Bielema’s final season it was an overtime game, mainly because the Razorbacks got the lead and promptly kicked off to Christian Kirk, who brought it all the way back for a score.
This year the Hogs have considerably more questions than they’ve found answers for in the first four games of the season. Offensive line issues and other mistakes have killed this team at times. A&M has lost one game, on the road at No. 18 Miami where the two teams combined for over 80 points.
Add former Hogs coach Bobby Petrino into the mix now as the offensive coordinator at A&M and that sounds bad enough (if you somehow thought that was an advantage, remember the BYU game and what LSU did last week). The Aggies have more talent on the defensive front than the Hogs have on the offensive line.
If you add all that up, unless you’re hoping the Razorbacks can beat the odds somehow for a win, then you’re more optimistic than me. The guess is Petrino would like nothing better than to light up the scoreboard against the Hogs. Arkansas fans can remember the games where they scored over 40 points offensively and still managed to lose by double digits.
The biggest question of this game is if the Hogs’ offense can get any consistency against A&M’s defense. Maybe Raheim “Rocket” Sanders comes back, maybe he doesn’t … we don’t have a clue. He did run well in practices this week, but we have no idea how he recovered or the effect missing a few weeks can do to a running back (and that can be a problem).
Since my buddy Pete Morgan is so far down on the contest, I’ll go first this week to give him a chance to get way out on a limb before he saws it off under himself.
LSU at Ole Miss is the only game among ranked teams in the SEC this week. There are some interesting matchups, but nothing that could be appointment viewinng. The television networks were so impressed by the Hogs and Aggies, they are on at 11 a.m. in the morning to get it out of the way on the SEC Network.
My guess is this one will probably follow stick pretty close to the betting line. Texas A&M 31, Hogs 21
As we said, this is not the most attractive week around the SEC. There are some intriguing games, but nothing that would really be required watching or keeping up with things, Pete is probably behind, but I don’t know the numbers and I’m guessing he doesn’t really know, either (although h’s way behind because he forfeited most of the first week’s games).
Around the SEC
22 Florida at Kentucky (-10): Somebody either knows something or all the money coming in is on Kentucky laying the points. The Gators probably have a better team than anyone was thinking before the season started and the Wildcats actually are more consistent in football now than they have been for a long time. Florida 28, Kentucky 24
1 Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn: Hugh Freeze is going to have the Tigers solid once again, but probably not this year. The Bulldogs have rolled through the SEC for the last couple of years. This game is the oldest rivalry in the South and no idea if it will continue as the league goes through a revampling of the scheduling with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma. Georgia 31, Auburn 14
23 Missouri (-14) at Vanderbilt: Am I the only one that believes this game could be the one the Tigers try to nap through and get surprised? Not enough that I would wager anything on it, though. Missouri 35, Vanderbilt 24
13 LSU at (20) Ole Miss (-2.5): This one is obviously based on where the game is being played more than anything else. As much as many in Arkansas hate Rebels coach Lane Kiffin, he is a pretty good coach. This matchup is one of the older rivalries in the league (mostly on the Ole Miss side). I am a Kiffin fan of his coaching (the other stuff doesn’t matter), but the Tigers have better talent on the roster. LSU 42, Ole Miss 41
South Carolina at (21) Tennessee (-11.5): The Gamecocks have the better quarterback with Spencer Rattler, who is starting to show why he was so highly-recruited coming out of high school. He can thank former Razorback player and assistant Dowell Loggains for that. The Vols have better wide receivers, though. Tennessee 34, South Carolina 21
12 Alabama (-14.5) at Mississippi State: Maybe the only surprising thing in this one is how low the Crimson Tide are ranked this year with just a single loss to No. 3 Texas. Voters are hoping Nick Saban has lost a little bit on the fastball. The only problem is the Bulldogs just aren’t good enough to do anything about it. Alabama 38, Mississippi State 14