A battle of heavyweights in the SEC West headlines Saturday when No. 2 Alabama hits the road to take on No. 20 Arkansas in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. The Crimson Tide come to Fayetteville, Arkansas with a 4-0 record and coming off two easy wins; the Tide defeated Vanderbilt 55-3 last week after beating ULM 63-7 the week before. Those results looked very different from Week 2, when Alabama narrowly avoided an upset in a road game against Texas.
Arkansas wasn’t so lucky last week. The Razorbacks have spent all week trying to shake the image of Cam Little’s 42-yard field goal attempt bouncing off the top of the upright instead of going through with 90 seconds left in the game. The three missed points were significant in a 23-21 loss to rival Texas A&M. Now, the Razorbacks must find a way to bounce back against one of the best teams in the country.
This loss makes it a must win for Arkansas. A loss would drop them to 1-2 in conference play, and it’s hard to imagine any team with two losses, one of which comes to Alabama, winning the SEC West.
How to watch Alabama vs Arkansas live
date: Saturday, October 1 | time: 3:30 pm ET
Location: Razorback Stadium — Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV: CBS | Live broadcast: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Alabama vs Arkansas: Need to know
Alabama has dominated this series: Arkansas is not an original member of the SEC, so it has only played Alabama 30 times in its history. As you’d expect in anything involving Alabama, the Tide have dominated, winning 22 of those 30 meetings. That includes each of the last 14. To put that into context, the last time Arkansas beat Alabama was in 2006 (24-23). Houston Nutt was coaching Arkansas, Mike Shula was coaching Alabama, and George W. Bush was in the Oval Office. We have had three different presidents since that party. Heck, Arkansas has had five different coaches! What I’m saying is that it’s been a while.
Alabama has struggled on the road: Leaving the friendly confines of home hasn’t worked out well for Marea lately. Alabama has been favored by an average of 18.5 points in its last six road games, but has not played up to expectations. Alabama was a 21.5-point favorite going into its game against Texas this season and scraped by for a one-point win. Going back to last season, Alabama went 4-1 in road games, but only one of those wins was comfortable (49-9 at Mississippi State). It lost to Texas A&M 41-38, and none of its wins over Florida, Auburn or Texas came by more than a field goal.
This is a revenge game for Arkansas LB Drew Sanders: OK, maybe he doesn’t want revenge, but Sanders was a five-star recruit out of high school who originally committed to Alabama. After not seeing much action in two seasons with the Tide — he played in 24 games on special teams and as a reserve — he transferred to Arkansas this season and has been a big part of the Hogs’ defense. Sanders has been everywhere, collecting 31 tackles in four games. That includes 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defensed. The Razorbacks will need Sanders to maintain that level of performance and help slow down Alabama’s offense.
Alabama vs Arkansas Prediction, Picks
outstanding game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Part of the reason Alabama hasn’t been good on the road is that their offensive line hasn’t been up to their usual standards. Alabama’s offense this year hasn’t been as explosive in the passing game as we’ve seen in recent years. There is no real alpha receiver, at least not one that has taken the reins from the standout receivers that Alabama has had in recent years. All of that, combined with Arkansas dropping into coverage and forcing teams to put together long drives to get past him, suggests it will be a lower-scoring, closer affair than expected. I don’t have a lot of confidence in it, but if I’m betting anything here, I’d rather be on the Razorbacks. Prediction: Arkansas +17
Which college football picks can you confidently make in Week 5, and which top 10 favorite will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread, all based on a proven computer model that has returned more than $3,100 in profits over the past six seasons, and find out.