Is Arkansas’s Mallett ready for Alabama?

Five things to look for as we close out September:

1. Ryan Mallett versus the Alabama defense: A year ago the Arkansas quarterback was simply overwhelmed when the Hogs went to Alabama. He completed only 12 of 35 passes, was sacked three times and rushed eight others. The result was a 35-7 victory by Alabama. Now Mallett has the confidence of winning an SEC game on the road (where he was 0-4 last season). He threw for 380 yards against Gerogia and won the game on a last-second touchdown pass. Will he be able to handle what Alabama’s defense is going to throw at him Saturday in Fayetteville?

2. Streaks by Florida and Kentucky: There have been some close calls along the way, but Florida has beaten Kentucky 23 straight times heading into Saturday’s showdown in the Swamp. Kentucky has played token opposition in its first three games but has not turned the ball over once. That’s hard to do even against tall grass. Will either of those streaks come to an end on Saturday? I don’t imagine Kentucky’s turnover streak will stay intact against a defense that already has 10 interceptions this season.

3. A showdown of great freshman running backs: Saturday’s game between South Carolina and Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium will feature two of the brightest young stars in the SEC. Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina has carried it 70 times in three games (including 37 against Georgia) for 333 yards. Another freshman running back, Michael Dyer at Auburn, is starting to assert himself with the Tiger offense. Some folks have compared these two youngsters to Herschel and Bo (no last names needed). It’s way too early for that. These guys are good, but not sure they are in Herschel and Bo territory.

4. Is LSU starting to put things together? The Tigers still look pretty ugly on offense but the defense, after getting torched for over 400 yards passing in the opener with North Carolina, is starting to look strong. John Chavis’s group forced five interceptions last week against Mississippi State and some of them were great athletic plays (by the way, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson is the best football player I’ve seen this year.) LSU has a non-conference game with West Virginia on Saturday and Tennessee comes to Baton Rouge next week. Win them both and LSU will be 5-0 going to Florida on Oct. 9. Have I written off LSU too early?

5. Ole Miss is in a “must win” situation against Fresno State: The Rebels got embarrassed by Division I-AA Jacksonville State on Sept. 4. They slopped their way to a win at Tulane on Sept. 11. Then they just got gashed by Vanderbilt in Oxford 28-14 last week.  It would be easy to blame bad karma because the Rebels took troubled quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. But the fact is that the defense has not been doing the job. Ole Miss is ninth in the SEC in total defense and rushing defense. The front seven was supposed to be the strength of this team. They had better beat Pat Hill’s Bulldogs on Saturday because the next for games for Ole Miss (1-3) are with Kentucky (3-0), Alabama (3-0), Arkansas (3-0) and Auburn (3-0).

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233 comments Add your comment

Sorry Tony

September 23rd, 2010
8:42 am

It wasn’t a last second td pass. That would have been murrays hail mary pass. Hello?????

Andrew

September 23rd, 2010
8:42 am

Been waiting on the Arkansas Alabama game for a long time. Alabama’s defense is overrated, as Texas freshman QB proved in the Natl Champ game. That was lat year, when Alabama had a lot more starting experience. Arkansas should win this game with more experience at QB and WR and TE.

Hopefully, they won’t get intimidated by Nick “I’ve had 4 good seasons in 36 years as a coach” Saban.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
8:44 am

@ dawgfan

not sure about the “other 21″ not being ready. Arkansas receivers look awfully good. I question their ability to run the ball.

How their defense stacks up against a good running team remains to be seen as well.

Bama on the other hand is going to have to ramp-up on defense. So far (against fairly weak opponents) the “D” has been pretty mediocre. Missed assignments, missed tackles, penalties. Not a mix for a 12-0 season.

Alphare

September 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

Imagine BAMA plays the role of UGA for last week’s game. With less than 2 minute left and BAMA still having the ball, BAMA will run out of clock with their running game (if they cannot end up with a field goal). Game will be determined in overtime.

Where are the Kentucky football fans???

September 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

1eyedJack

September 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

Georgia’s defense was a V8 hitting on six cylinders. Alabama’s defense is a fine tuned diesel. Home game, Hefalumps win.

I think the only way Kentucky beats Florida is if Pouncey snaps it to Kentucky’s defense.

Darth Vader takes his Stormtroopers to the Plains and sets fire to Cheesewiz’s defense. This could be the best SEC game of the week.

Hoping LSU is undefeated when they play Florida. You know how them Acadians love some gator tail.

As far as Ole Miss is concerned, the Colonel must be spinning in his grave. Paging General Akbar! But, come on. Fresno State? About the only team they can beat is Georgia Tech. Toss up!

JB

September 23rd, 2010
8:48 am

Bama wins by 2 TD’s……………….Chickens take care of AU late, it’ll be closer than some think, like 7-10 points…………………………..Bulldogs/bulldogs a toss up/ Bobo Factor…………………..

Also, with AJ Green and Durham gone after this year and mostly AWOL receiving corp and TE’s, 2011 looking scary thin for next year………….Where is Marlon Brown, at boot camp learning how to block ? I don’t see much stepping up next year to make anybody we play take pause. The new OC will have little to work with.

dawgfan

September 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

10 interceptions in 3 games is remarkable. I doubt Florida will keep up at that gaudy pace, but its proof that the Florida defense is doing something right. Florida is underrated right now IMO. Once the offense really gets clicking, which it will, they win the East with surp

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
8:51 am

Speaking of UGA and Bama; something that both schools can be proud of:

From 1971-82, Alabama and Georgia won every Southeastern Conference championship, totaling 12 SEC titles. The two teams were co-champions in 1981. Alabama won SEC titles in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1981. Georgia won SEC titles in 1976, 1980, 1981 and 1982.

Bob

September 23rd, 2010
8:52 am

“Arkansas is one dimensional and grossly overrated”

So what does that make Ga who lost to them? A no dimensional team?

GeezusDawg

September 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

It seems like Aaron Murray would be a better fit for Florida than Brantley (IMO).

JB

September 23rd, 2010
8:55 am

Watching the Auburn game last week, I was expecting to see a little more from this big QB they have. To read about him, you would think he was on his way to NY. Big guy, big arm, but Stafford had all that, and Georgia won little. Beat up on inferior teams and hammered by good ones.

Steve

September 23rd, 2010
8:56 am

Wow nothing but Sec teams. Way to focus on every team you one sided dolt.
True to form mr sec. Certainly not Mr College football. The best team in the country now is Oregon and you leave off their game with a good Az state team.

KR

September 23rd, 2010
8:57 am

1. Bama over Arkansas. Closer than last year, but still not very close.
2. Florida seems to be able to get it together when the have to and I expect this one won’t be any different.
3. It’s early in their careers, but I don’t see the same levels of talent and performance that I saw in Herschel and Bo. It could still be a good showdown.
3a. Note to Gus Malzahn: the third quarter against Clemson went pretty well for Auburn. You might want to try that more often…
4. I haven’t seen an LSU game since the UNC game, so I can’t comment.
5. I wonder what Houston Nutt plans to do next year for a job.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
8:57 am

For UT fans.

The owner of a golf course was confused about
paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his
secretary for some mathematical help. He called
her into his office and said, ‘You graduated from
the University of Tennessee and I need some help.
If I were to give you $20,000, minus 14%, how
much would you take off?’ She replied: “Everything but my ear rings!”

SECisFootball

September 23rd, 2010
8:57 am

I dont think this year will be whether BAMA can stop Mallet. He is a good player who has gained confidence. I just dont beleive their defense is good enough to get into a scoring contest with BAMA. BAMA will run the ball, then they will run the ball and after that, they will run the ball. Akry loaded the box last year and McElroy torched them for 280 and 3 TD passes and they know the cant do that this year because the BAMA passing game is looking much better. It will be close for a while but BAMA will wear the piglets down and pull away in the end to the tune of 38-21!

JB

September 23rd, 2010
8:57 am

Florida fans would NEVER admit this, bur after 3 weeks watching both QB’s, you are correct, I think they would take Murray over Brantley…..I think he will be fine, but Murray fits the Gator offense better. Brantley would probably be better in Richt’s.

dawgfan

September 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

3rdand8, a group of drunk midgets would look good catching the ball against our defense. Did you see the game? Mallet had a lifetime to throw the ball and recievers without a defender within 20 yards of them. This will not be the case against Bama.

Bob, if you weren’t such an effing moron with an attention span of a 3 year old you would have seen at the end of my post that I consider UGA very average. Go talk about NC State Techie. Somebody needs to.

UGAbites

September 23rd, 2010
9:00 am

Wow Geezus…….a bad case of Saban envy??? They sell medication for that. You have Mark Dicht coaching all this time with top 10 recruiting talent every year, and he cant even get a sniff at a NC………..Bama is down and out for several years, hires Lord Saban, and BOOB, we win ANOTHER NC…with more to come. Cant stand it, can you, loser? You propably werent even BORN the last time UGA won their NC………..and thankfully they didnt have to play Bama that year! Face it- Bama fans brag because we got something to BRAG ABOUT! UGA………………not so much. You did have a pretty good girl’s gym team. Go with that. Leave football National Championships to teams like Bama, that know how to get it done. Now, run off to your corner comfy pad, like a good little bulldog, and lick your _____, like all dogs do. Its what you canines do best. Bama? We’ll keep winning…………..and winning……….and winning.
Man, I bet this post makes you want to scratch!!!!!! Truth hurts, dont it geezer?

Dawg Trainer

September 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

1. No, he’s not.
2. To inspire the players, someone in the UK locker room should end the pre-game speech with “NOBODY beats Kentucky 24 straight times!”
3. Seriously? What’s next: The Knack were better than the Beatles?
4. No Tony, you haven’t. Florida will crush LSU.
5. A team from the mighty SEC in a “must win” against Fresno State? Surprised the AJC let you print that one.

Ahem…Tennessee has already beat Kentucky 25 straight times. Look for #26 this season too.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
9:02 am

@ dawgfan

I didn’t get to see the game Saturday, but watched the replay Monday night (DVRs are a wonderful invention).

Quite frankly, UGAs defense, and Bama’s look a lot alike. UGA is struggling to learn the 3-4, and Bama is trying to get 7 or 8 new players to play in sinc. Both look ragged.

Tim E

September 23rd, 2010
9:04 am

Bama wins this one. Ark still doesn’t have a killer D and Bama is too good on offense and will score more points than we think. Something tell me Saban has been holding his defensive guys back and he’ll unleash them this weekend. And the “Red Out” for the Ark game is a bad idea…remember what happend to UGA when they held their “Black Out” for Bama??? I see this type of strategy backfiring on Ark just like it did to UGA….Saban will have these guys fired up and they’ll show why they’re the number 1 team in the nation. Mallet, like Tebow, will be crying at the end of this game….

Jake

September 23rd, 2010
9:06 am

West Virginia playing LSU at night at LSU,, LSU wins, something about those night games at LSU. LSU plays Vols at 3:30 Eastern Time next week at home. The Vols as someone wrote this week are like a Middle Tennessee State Team. I can’t recall who wrote this. Seems like it was gug named Tony. I do see two wins for LSU. But, I don’t see LSU winning the SEC West. Bama will step on their face and Auburn too. I don’t feel you over looked LSU.

dawgfan

September 23rd, 2010
9:07 am

A friendly note to all the ACC whiners: Tony brings the people what they want and that’s SEC football. Every time I tune in to an ACC game I see nothing but high school stadiums that are half empty. If ACC fans don’t even care enough to show up why should anyone else? Besides ACC football is bush league and totally irrelevant. It would help if your teams didn’t get their azzes handed to them every time they stepped out of conference. I love how the ACC whiners always play the victim. Too funny.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
9:08 am

Home field advantage. Two edged sword. If Bama can jump out to a quick lead, it gets very quiet in Fayetteville. The advantage swings to the visiting team. I know because I’ve seen it happen a few times in Tuscaloosa.

JB

September 23rd, 2010
9:09 am

UGAbites……………..ease up there fellow……ALL in the SEC are proud of ya’ll…..We all have teams we support……………. I hope Saban stays at Bama. it’s good for the conference. ..BUT, There are strong rumblings that Jerry Jones of the Cowboys is coming after him for next year. Not bashing, I’m really hearing that, from pretty good sources ( The guy who owns that big steel company over there who is the big Bama money guy) Is looking to raise money to match the 8-10 mil that the cowboys are going to throw at him……Now, IF, and a big IF, he wins another title this year, what else can he do for ya’ll……He’s not a fuzzy good ole boy looking to hang out over there and eat ribs and play golf…………Remember, he’s a yankee.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
9:15 am

Of all of the terrible things I’ve heard Saban called the past few years, “Yankee” is the foulest.

Ordinarily, I would agree about the Dallas job. But a speech that Mal Moore gave a couple of days ago (where he recounted the events in 2007 that brought Saban to Alabama) gives me pause about the possibility that Saban would ever go back to the NFL. The big reason: Terry Saban.

But even if he leaves, it’s been a heck-of-a-ride.

fishtales

September 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

JB-
The rumblings have been there every year since he got there. It seems that is all anybody ever has to throw at Bama that Saban will leave in ___ years. If he does? Fine. He has done everything we hired him to do and will leave the program in great shape.

GeezesDawg-
Bama fans showing up the last 2 years? We have been here since the beginning of the SEC pal and aren’t going anywhere. Don’t know what you are trying to prove with your stupid stats, but Alabama is to SEC football as Kentucky is to SEC basketball. We have our up years and down years like everyone else, but don’t let an occasional LA-Monroe or Utah cloud your head there bub…we will never be irrelevent.

jumbeautiger

September 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

I just don’t see Arkansas beating Bama. In fact I think the Tide will roll.

UK may keep it close for a while but by the 3rd quarter it will be over.

The Auburn-USC game is a tough one to call. USC can probably least afford to lose this game as they still must play Bama and Florida. Lattemore and Dyer may turn out to be very good backs but Hershel and Bo are aguably the 2 best backs to ever play in the SEC.

LSU did give up 400 yards to UNC but 3 passing plays accounted for nearly 200 yards. Hopefully the Tigers have that fixed. I doubt that there will be much improvement in LSU’s passing game this season. Jefferson’s ability to read defenses is limited and thus the Tigers may lose 3-5 games. The running game seems to have improved over last season but the lack of a vertical passing game may be the Tigers’ downfall this season. Supposedly Miles has offered Mettenberger a scholarship and hopefully he is as good as the Dawg fans on here posted last Sprng.

The Rebels are down and they may not win 4 games season.

robodawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:17 am

Bama’s defense is better and more experienced than ours at just about every position. Mallett will be harassed again by their pass rush. He’ll have a better game than last year, but not good enough to win. The Hogs will be lucky to crack 20 points, and Bama will score over 30.

Between Lattimore and Dyer, I expect Lattimore to have the better game, simply because I think S Carolina has a stronger run defense. Much as we need S Carolina to lose this game (and a couple more), I think they’ll win this one because they’re more mature and more well-rounded as a team. If Auburn manages to pull this one out, Newton will be the difference maker, not Dyer.

You’re right, that Florida-LSU game in a few weeks is going to be really interesting.

Bama Bill

September 23rd, 2010
9:18 am

The Arkansas QB is very talented but Bama’s QB is a winner and Saban will have his young but talented defense ready – The Tide will roll but will be a great game for the fans to watch !. SEC football, what Fall is all about !

how2fish

September 23rd, 2010
9:22 am

Tony I couldn’t help but notice that not one of the teams you mention in today’s article has lost to Kansas..that is as it should be. Because what would you write about ? Well other than they sux..but your not going to say that no matter how true it is. Now as far as Bama/Ark I think it is a lot closer than last years game, but in the end ARK can’t stop Bama’s run game and that will decide the issue.21-14 Bama.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
9:25 am

between Lattimore and Dyer.

From where I sit, it isn’t close. Lattimore is much bigger, looks faster, and seems to break more tackles.

Newton, on the other hand, is a Vince Young in the making. When he gets enough games under his belt, and Malzahn can open up the playbook, I don’t see anyone stopping AU’s offense.

BamaDad

September 23rd, 2010
9:26 am

There isn’t an issue about Ark scoring on the Bama Defense (which isn’t as good as last years) the issue is can Ark Defense stop the running game of Bama? If they can force the Bama O into a passing game, then Ark can win. Which do you stop Ingram the 220 lb Bowling Ball, Richardson 230 lb Bruiser, or worst case Lacey 240lb Beast? You are stacking the box now so that leaves Julio Jones, Maze and Norcross’ Darius Hanks to run free in the secondary.SOO-RRY!

GeezusDawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:30 am

You know, coming back and lighting up Duke obviously proves Ingram is back…

BAMA dude

September 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

Alabama won SEC titles in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1981

Well, I guess if we are going to daydream about the past it might as well be a helluva past to daydream about. Eight SEC titles in a decade- THAT’S a record that won’t be beat. Twenty-two SEC titles overall. Sixteen straight SEC games (17-1 over the last 18 counting SECCG.) I guess that’s what inspires all the hate and “trailer” talk.

And by the way, since this Saban gets mauled on here constantly, consider two things:

1) He won three SEC titles in the 2000s, more than any other coach and any other SEC school save Florida (who had three with two different coaches), all while taking two years off to dabble in the NFL.

2) There ain’t a better college job in America for him to jump to, and HE ISN’T GOING BACK TO THE NFL!!! See below. The man doesn’t want to deal with the prima donna b.s. that goes on with the millionaire players.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20100922/SPORTS0401/9220353/MONTGOMERY-QUARTERBACK-CLUB-Moore-relives-moments-of-luring-Saban

Money quote:

Finally, that night, Moore was invited to the Sabans’ home. It was a good meeting. Saban again told Moore about how he didn’t like coaching in the NFL.

“He said coaching in the NFL was like working in a factory,” Moore said.

As Moore got up to leave, Terry Saban made her presence felt.

“She grabbed me by the arm and said, ‘We’ve got to get him on that plane tomorrow,’” Moore said.

Yeah. Dallas, here he comes…

GeezusDawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

Oh, and I’ll take Arkansas on the blog, but I took Bama on my parlay (LOL).

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

Why not use Rogers as a comparison since he was the best back at USC ever.

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
9:33 am

151 yards on nine carries looked pretty impressive….no matter who the opposition was.

Nix_2_Sanders

September 23rd, 2010
9:36 am

This is a PHENOMENAL weekend for SEC football. I didnt realize UK has dropped 32 straight to the Gators. That streak might reach 50 games!

****SOMEONE please look at the Big 10 games this week, and find an interesting match-up, please! It’s pretty much the unofficial BIG 10- MAC challenge

Palladin

September 23rd, 2010
9:37 am

Good Post Tony! I’m glad we’re back on football again.

1. This is the biggest game that has ever been played in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Arky is a Top Ten team and they are hosting the Number One team in the nation. This would be a major SEC contest even if that were not the case — so this one’s huge. One would have to give the emotional edge to the Razorbacks. That means that the Tide will have to function like a well-oiled machine to win this game. Arkansas will make some big plays on offense — not because of a problem with Bama’s defense, but because they really are that good. Mallet is an excellent QB and he has some good skill players around him.

If Bama remains calm and plays their game, then they will consume the clock and keep the ball out of Mallet’s hands. If the defensive line gets good penetration, then the young-uns in the secondary can afford a little mistake here and there.

Because of the starters that left for the NFL after last season, Tide fans tend to compare this group to an ideal that I’m not sure ever existed. Last year’s pass coverage was excellent, but not perfect. I remember a few busted coverages along the way.

The team that commits the fewest penalties and mistakes will have a distinct advantage, of course — but that team doesn’t ALWAYS win in such a consequential game as this. Anyway you look at it, this is the biggest game yet this season for either team.

2. Florida has made this game much more interesting than it might have been by opening the season with some shaky starts. Kentucky has kept up their end of the bargain by coming into this game undefeated, but they haven’t seen the level of competition that the Gators have faced. Gotta go with Florida on this one, but it IS an intriguing match-up.

3. This game will be more than a running back contest. The more interesting part, in my opinion, is the quarterback competition. Cam Newton is supposed to be loaded with talent, but has been used very conservatively in Auburn’s past two games. Meanwhile, Stephen Garcia is viewed by many as the fourth year QB who is staring down the barrel of an inevitable meltdown. I think that South Carolina has the talent advantage overall, but the Tigers are hungry for a breakout performance. I expect an old-fashioned, Southern style slobberknocker with this one being won and lost in the trenches.

4. LSU has been kind of like the “Florida of the West” this year. They slammed a hamstrung NC squad in the first half of their opener, then turned around and almost lost the game in the second half. They dispatched MSU in a workmanlike fashion last Saturday, but just how good IS MSU? This is a significant game for the Bengals. A win with a solid performance would enhance their unbeaten record.

5. At least you didn’t curse the Rebels by saying they’ll “win because they GOTTA win”. :-)

how2fish

September 23rd, 2010
9:38 am

BAMA dude I hope Saban stays at Bama till he retires he is good for the SEC and college football…that being said if I remember correctly he has told folks a more than one stop he had no intention of leaving…as he was packing his bag. When he talks you need a salt shaker….

Gen Neyland

September 23rd, 2010
9:38 am

Alabama rolls into The Sty with nothing to prove but something to lose. For Mallet, quick releases and timing are key to his passing game but Alabama will be all bodies and hands inside his throwing lanes. I would be surprised if Alabama loses. Should Mallet win this one, he gets a Heisman point or two… If Kentucky were to ever have a shot at Florida, this is their year. If Florida plays Florida ball 2010, Kentucky need be prepared to face a different 2nd half team than what the Gators put out on the field in the 1st half. Team Offense usually takes more time to gel than Team Defense (which I think Florida’s is pretty good), especially with new starting QB’s (and centers)…

3rdn8

September 23rd, 2010
9:39 am

@ Nix_2_Sanders

point well taken….this ain’t a banner weekend for the Big 10.

ahs

September 23rd, 2010
9:42 am

BEAWARE OF A POSSIBLE “UPSET SATURDAY”. It’s a full moon! Things could get crazy this weekend.

BAMA dude

September 23rd, 2010
9:44 am

Tide fans tend to compare this group to an ideal that I’m not sure ever existed. Last year’s pass coverage was excellent, but not perfect. I remember a few busted coverages along the way.

Good insight, Palladin. I’ve noticed the same thing. People forget about Auburn ambushing us early, Folrida Atlantic getting some yards on us early on, VT moving the ball well and leading us in the second half. So far this defense looks similar to last year’s with less experience. The one stat that’s most encouraging: Bama has played no less than 57 (fifty seven!) players in all three games this year, including PSU. With the exception of the DBs, all of our new starters got substantial game experience last year. Great strategy Saban employs for consistency season to season.

BAMA dude

September 23rd, 2010
9:48 am

how2fish, I never take a coach at his “word.” Why? People change their minds based on circumstances (i.e. somebody comes along and offers a bunch of money.) The fundamental difference here is that the man didn’t like coaching in the NFL. When he got there he found that it wasn’t the same league he had coached in many years prior and got the hail out.

McDawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:49 am

Mallett didn’t looks so great aginst UGA when he was pressured-i think Bama rolls

McDawg

September 23rd, 2010
9:50 am

the more interesting game is going to be USC-Auburn-gotta pull for Auburn on this one

how2fish

September 23rd, 2010
9:52 am

BAMA dude good point and like I said I hope he stays at Bama. He certainly doesn’t “need” the money anymore..frankly I think he could name whatever salary he wanted and Bama would pay it and he has earned it.