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Auburn Football: Auburn vs. Arkansas Preview and Prediction


Who: Arkansas Razorbacks at Auburn Tigers

When: 11:00 a.m. CT (ESPN2)

Where: Auburn, Alabama

All-time series record: Auburn leads 11-9-1

Most recent meeting: Arkansas 38, Auburn 14 (2011)

What was anticipated before the season as a crucial SEC West match-up has become a game between teams tied for last in the division. Tigers vs. Hogs has become Tigger vs. Piglet.

Auburn is 1-3, 0-2 in the SEC. Arkansas is 1-4, 0-2 in the SEC. It’s needless to say, this nationally-televised morning game will make or break Auburn’s season. The same can’t be said for Arkansas, as this season may already be a lost cause with games against Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and LSU still to be played. The Hogs have been terrible on defense, can’t block a soul on offense and also make special teams mistakes. Basically, there’s a reason that, despite starting 1-3, Auburn is currently a 10.5-point favorite.

Of course, Auburn’s had its fair share of disappointment this year. The 26-19 loss to Clemson wasn’t the end of the world for Auburn fans, but after a 28-10 loss to Mississippi State and a close OT win over UL-Monroe (who beat Arkansas, obviously), Tiger fans were very concerned about the current state and future of Auburn football. A close loss to then-#2 LSU sparked some life back into Auburn fans, and this team looks capable of beating Arkansas and getting on a roll with the upcoming schedule.

Key for Auburn: Get the offense going. It’s really simple. Arkansas’ defense is terrible, giving up over 40 points per game. Their pass defense is dreadful. Their run defense isn’t much better. They gave up over 700 total yards to Texas A&M. Auburn has a big, strong offensive line, playmakers at wide receiver and tight end, a great fullback and a deep, talented running back corp. The plays will be there for Kiehl Frazier to make big plays through the air, and if Auburn gets the running game going, the Tigers are going to light the scoreboard up.

Key for Arkansas: Get the offense going. Yes, that’s the same key as Auburn’s, but it’s true. Arkansas will have to score points to win this game, because as I previously stated, the Hogs have a putrid defense. The Hogs have playmakers like Tyler Wilson, Knile Davis and Cobi Hamilton, so this Arkansas team can move the ball and score some points. They’ll need to have success against what might actually be a solid Auburn defense if they hope to win.

Auburn player to watch: Kiehl Frazier. Frazier stated that during the bye week, he’s studied film of Scot Loeffler products Tom Brady and Chad Henne, looking to see what he can do to improve his game. The timing for this is pretty good considering he’s going up against one of the nation’s worst secondaries. This year, Arkansas has allowed 1,747 passing yards (227 vs. Jacksonville State, 412 vs. UL-Monroe, 213 vs. Alabama, 397 vs. Rutgers and 498 vs. Texas A&M), an average of 349.4 passing yards per game. Overall, the Hogs’ defense gives up over 500 total yards and 40.6 points per game. If Frazier is going to gain momentum at all this year, this is the game to do it.

Arkansas players to watch: The entire offensive line. Arkansas has weapons all over the place on offense, but they only average 23.2 points per game. Why is this so? Because the offensive line for Arkansas has been terrible. Tyler Wilson has taken a beating his whole career, and he has continued to take one in 2012, being knocked out of the game by UL-Monroe in the second quarter. Now this offensive line must deal with the likes of Corey Lemonier (one of the nation’s best defensive ends) and Dee Ford. If the “big nasties” of Arkansas can’t get the job done against Auburn’s good defensive line, the Hogs will be 1-5 for sure.

Auburn vs. Arkansas edges:

Quarterback: Arkansas

Running back: Auburn (close.)

Wide receiver: Arkansas

Tight end: Auburn

Offensive line: Auburn

Defensive line: Auburn

Linebackers: Auburn

Cornerbacks: Auburn

Safeties: Auburn

Kicker: Auburn

Punter: Auburn

Coaching: Auburn

Interesting facts: This is the first time neither Auburn nor Arkansas are ranked heading into the game since 1999…. Arkansas is responsible for Texas A&M’s first SEC win ever, giving up 719 yards in a 58-10 loss to the Aggies…. With the loss to LSU, Auburn suffered their third loss before October, something that has never happened before in the history of Auburn football…. Auburn is 117th in the country in scoring (17.5) and total offense (297.8), but they face an Arkansas defense that gives up well over 500 yards of offense per game….

Prediction: This season has gone down in flames for Arkansas and that will continue when they visit Jordan-Hare. Despite it being a morning game, Auburn will look sharp on offense all game long. Corey Lemonier and the rest of the defensive line will be all over Tyler Wilson. The Tigers will run for at least 200 yards, Kiehl Frazier will throw multiple touchdowns, Corey Lemonier will record at least 1.5 sacks and Auburn will get a big win to move to 2-3.

Auburn Tigers 38, Arkansas Razorbacks 20

Other SEC predictions:

#4 LSU 27, #10 Florida 14 (Tigers get back on track, shut down Florida and silence the Swamp.)

#6 South Carolina 24, #5 Georgia 20 (Gamecocks pick up a huge home win and become East favorites.)

#20 Mississippi State 34, Kentucky 17 (Bulldogs assert their dominance over the lowly Cats.)

Missouri 31, Vanderbilt 23 (Mizzou gets their first SEC win and send Vandy to 1-4.)

Ole Miss 48, Texas A&M 44 (This old-fashioned shoot-out will go to the upset-minded Rebels.)

Predictions for other notable games:

#13 USC 34, Utah 17 (Thursday night upset? Nope. Utah doesn’t have the talent or strength.)

#8 West Virginia 42, #11 Texas 38 (WVU’s defense is bad. Their offense is so good that it doesn’t matter.)

#2 Oregon 45, #23 Washington 10 (Oregon blows out their bitter rival from Seattle.)

#21 Nebraska 30, #12 Ohio State 24 (Huskers take road win behind another strong game by Martinez.)

Texas Tech 35, #17 Oklahoma 28 (Uh-oh… Tommy Tuberville’s back, and the Red Raiders go to 5-0…)

#15 Clemson 63, Georgia Tech 17 (I have no idea how GT’s terrible defense will stop Clemson.)

#24 Northwestern 28, Penn State 27 (Yes, that’s not a typo. Northwestern’s ranked.)

Upset Special: Miami 31, #9 Notre Dame 30 (Morris is a great QB for the U and he’ll lead them to a win over the Irish.)

Auburn must win this game against Arkansas to remain relevant in bowl conversations. I believe that they will thanks to the matchup problems Auburn presents for Arkansas. War Eagle!