Tiger fight! Tiger fight!
Saturday, October 08, 2011
|The Littlest Hog in cheerleader gear|
Both teams have had their struggles this season, but both teams have fought hard and sport identical 4-1 records. Arkansas was really dominated by the Alabama defense two weeks ago in a 38-14 loss. Last week the Hogs' defense looked particularly shoddy in the first half of a game against Texas A&M that Arkansas would eventually win, 42-38, in spectacular fashion.
Auburn on the other hand has been doing everything it can to confound analysts' expectations of how the Tigers would struggle coming off their 2010 national championship campaign. Coach Gene Chizik and his staff have been impressive in jumping out to a 2-0 SEC record (4-1) overall, though his defense has played uneven at times. The Tigers have had to replace key personnel from last year's team, and one gets the sense that the team has still perhaps not found its identity.
Today's game should be affected by two key factors. One is the location itself. The game will be played at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, a factor weighing in the Hogs' favor. The second factor is the power of the Arkansas offense, which I think has more weapons than Auburn is going to be able to handle.
Here's the prediction...
Last week: Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38 (My pick: 35-27)
Arkansas' record: 4-1 (Me: 4-1)
This week: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Auburn Tigers
Location: Razorback Stadium - Fayetteville, AR
Prediction: Hogs 31, Tigers 17
Reason: I think the second half against the Aggies last week was a season-turning experience for our Hogs. The defense found its mojo en route to a 25-3 second half domination of Texas A&M. And also look for Dennis Johnson to emerge as the #1 running back in Bobby Petrino's offense. Coach Petrino needs somebody to step up and shoulder the lion's share of the carries; Ronnie Wingo was supposed to be that back, but he just hasn't shown the ability to overcome his reluctance to hit the line of scrimmage at full force. DJ, on the other hand, looked impressive in finally getting the Hogs' running attack on track last weekend in the second half. I think it is all going to 'click' tonight, and I think the Tigers' admittedly impressive improvement over the course of this season is going to be checked in Fayetteville as the Hogs win going away.