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SEC Football-Television Schedule Week Five

Sep 26, 2014 -- 9:50pm
DateTime (ET)MatchupNetwork
Sat, Sep 2712:00 PMTennessee at # 12 GeorgiaESPN
Sat, Sep 2712:00 PMVanderbilt at KentuckySEC NETWORK
Sat, Sep 273:30 PMArkansas at # 6 Texas A&MCBS
Sat, Sep 274:00 PMLouisiana Tech at # 5 AuburnSEC NETWORK
Sat, Sep 277:00 PMMissouri at # 13 South CarolinaESPN3, ESPN
Sat, Sep 277:30 PMMemphis at # 10 Ole MissESPN3
Sat, Sep 277:30 PMNew Mexico State at # 17 LSUSEC NETWORK

 

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M: Who has the edge?

Sep 26, 2014 -- 9:41pm

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Arkansas will travel to Arlington, Texas this week to face Texas A&M in a game to be televised on CBS at 2:30 p.m. central time. The contest will be played at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Here is a preview of what to expect.

When Arkansas Runs the Ball

The Razorbacks feature two backs that rank in the top ten for rushing in the SEC. Alex Collins averages 122.5 yards per game and Jonathan Williams is going for 97.8. Williams also leads the SEC in touchdowns with seven. The Arkansas running game is powered by an offensive line that is physical and big. Upfront the Hogs average 328.4 pounds and have been able to control the line of scrimmage in the last three games.

Defensively the Aggies only give up 124.8 yards rushing each outing, but the Razorbacks will be the first genuine running test for Kevin Sumlin’s team. Against South Carolina, running back Mike Davis was very limited due to injury. Rice totaled up 240 yards against the Aggie defense. DE Myles Garrett has been an impact player with his pass rushing abilities, but expect the Hogs to neutralize him with the running game.

Advantage: Arkansas

When Arkansas Throws the Ball

Quarterback Brandon Allen is completing 61.4% of his passes with eight touchdowns. Maybe just as important, Allen has only one interception this season. Last season he threw ten and early in the season they came at crucial times in games. Keon Hatcher averages 19.6 yards per catch and leads all Razorbacks with ten catches this year. Cody Hollister is also emerging as a key outlet for Allen with six catches on eight targets. The big offensive line also does a good job protecting Allen as he has only been sacked once through the first four games.

Remember the name Myles Garrett. The true freshman is making an impact from his defensive end position and has 5.5 sacks on the season. He is joined on the defense by safety Armani Watts who is a big hitter with excellent coverage skills. While the Razorbacks protect the QB well, the Aggies do a great job of getting pressure and have an SEC high 17 sacks in 2014.

Advantage: Texas A&M

When Texas A&M Runs the Ball

Many think the Aggies offense is just about the forward pass. That is not 100% accurate. Texas A&M is posting an average of 207.5 running yards per game and feature six players with more than 100 yards rushing this season. Quarterback Kenny Hill has 142 yards on 16 carries, while running back Trey Williams averages 7.2 yards per carry and has four rushing touchdowns. While not as big as the Razorback offensive line, the Aggies still are a big group averaging 312 pounds. The anchor of the big guys is left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, a future first round NFL pick.

Arkansas only allows 140 yards per game, but gave up 302 to Auburn in the season opener. Northern Illinois is also a good running team, but they netted just 212 against the Hogs last week. The key to success for the Razorbacks against the Aggie ground game will be consistency in correctly reading keys by the defensive line and linebackers. Misreading the play as it develops, or being overly cautious, can result in A&M having success on the ground as players anticipate the passing game.

Advantage: Texas A&M

When Texas A&M Throws the Ball

Kenny Hill has experienced no problems stepping in for Johnny Manziel at quarterback. He tops the SEC in total offense, is second in passing yards per game and is completing 69% of his attempts. Six Aggies have more than a dozen catches with Malcome Kennedy leading the way with thirty. Ricky Seals-Jones paces the receivers with four touchdowns. No SEC school has attempted anywhere near the Aggies 172 pass attempts and they are just a few yards shy of having 1,000 more passing yards than the Hogs.

The Razorback secondary appears to be better than last season, but this will be the biggest test of the season. Tevin Mitchell’s return at cornerback has sparked the secondary. Against Texas Tech he had two big pass breakups on the Red Raiders first possession that were genuine statement makers. Arkansas will need to get good pressure on Hill from Trey Flowers, Darius Philon and Taiwan Johnson to throw off the timing of the Aggies passing game.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Special Teams

Arkansas leads the nation in kick return average with 34.1 yards per return and the nation got a glimpse of Korliss Marshall’s explosiveness with his 97 yard kickoff return for a TD against Texas Tech. Sam Irwin-Hill is a consistent weapon as a punter and does a nice job of getting the ball down inside the twenty.

Speedy Noil only has three punt returns for Texas A&M this season, but he averages 24.7 yards each time. Taylor Bertolet has had touchbacks on 23 of his 37 kickoffs this season. Josh Lambo is 6-6 on field goals and has a long of 50 yards to his credit.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Coaching

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has a plan and is working it steadily by building the Hogs in the mold of his Big Ten teams at Wisconsin: big and physical. There is more work to be done, but the foundation for future success is being laid.

Bret Bielema Career Record: 74-34

Kevin Sumlin is in his third season at Texas A&M and has ignited Aggie fans with his explosive offense. He is known for strong passing games and quarterback development. Since arriving at Texas A&M he has a 24-6 record.

Career Record: 59-23

Advantage: Push

The Call

Which style of play will win out when the Hogs and Aggies meet: The strong, physical running game of Arkansas or the high-flying air attack featured by Texas A&M? The reality is that one defense is going to have to inhibit the offense of the other at some point during the game, it is just a matter of which one has the better chance of success.

It is hard to imagine the Aggie defense that allowed Rice to run so easily on them will be able to stop the power running game of Arkansas. There are also plenty of memories from week one when Auburn had receivers running wide open in the Razorback secondary.

This also a game where key penalties or turnovers could have a significant impact on the outcome. The Aggies average 63.2 yards in penalties per game while Arkansas is only averaging 41. The Razorbacks also hold an edge in turnover margin at +2 compared to Texas A&M with a -2.

Don’t forget to include the toughness factor when considering this game. Texas A&M has survived on a soft South Carolina team and plenty of cream puffs after that. Arkansas has been in fights with Auburn and a scrappy Northern Illinois team. It is not known how the Aggies will respond if the game becomes a slugfest.

When everything is considered, expect a high scoring game where the slightest mistake may determine the outcome. Expect the Razorback secondary to make enough plays to give them an advantage and the win over Texas A&M. In a squeaker.

The Score: Arkansas 38  Texas A&M 37

 

 

 

 

SEC Forecast and Predictions: Week Five

Sep 25, 2014 -- 9:43pm

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Welcome to week five of the college football season. It is once again time to share a few facts about SEC games this weekend and make the call for each contest.

Saturday, September 27
Tennessee (2-1, 0-0) at #12 Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
11:00 AM | ESPN

No running back gets the job done without significant help up front, and while Georgia’s Todd Gurley is special, he would not be getting far without the help of his offensive line. The Bulldogs have three new starters up front on offense and churn out 304 yards per game. The Vols offensive line is another story. They have given up nine sacks this year and Tennessee is next to last running the ball in the SEC, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. Remember, games are won in the trenches.

Winner: Georgia

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2) at Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
11:00 AM | SEC Network

Kentucky and Vanderbilt both rely heavily on youth. For the Wildcats 72% of their points have been scored by true or redshirt freshman. Meanwhile, Vandy has played 31 freshmen this season, which is the most in the nation. Expect the Kentucky offense to do what others have against Vanderbilt, scoring often. The Commodores give up 39.2 points per game.

Winner: Kentucky

#6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC) vs. Arkansas (3-1, 0-1)
2:30 PM | CBS | AT&T Stadium | Arlington

Arkansas will want to eat the clock up and keep the ball from a high powered Texas A&M offense. The winner of this game will be the one that has a defense that most successfully inhibits the others offensive plan. The two teams are one and two in scoring offense with the Aggies racking up 55.2 points per game and the Hogs posting 48.8. The Aggies are only giving up 11.8 points per game, but have not faced a real threat offensively since South Carolina. Expect the Hogs to get more defensive wins.

Winner: Arkansas

Louisiana Tech (2-2) at #5 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
3:00 PM | SEC Network

Tech running back Kenneth Dixon has a career rushing total of 2515 yards and average 6.0 yards per carry. He will probably find it tough sledding against Auburn this Saturday. The Tigers only give up 86 yards a game. Meanwhile, expect Auburn to try and polish up a running game that struggled at Kansas State.

Winner: Auburn

Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC) at #13 South Carolina (3-1, 2-1 SEC)
6:00 PM | ESPN

Will the real team stand up please? South Carolina struggled against Vandy and has that really bad loss to South Carolina, but the Gamecocks beat a good Georgia team. Missouri was looking like a team to believe in when then they dropped a home game to Indiana. That is alright in basketball, but not football. The Tigers have to play better defense than they did against Indiana to beat SC. A healthy Mike Davis could be a big difference in this game.

Winner: South Carolina

New Mexico State (2-2) at #17 LSU (3-1, 0-1 SEC)
6:30 PM | SEC Network

While LSU has struggled at quarterback, sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural has shined for the Tigers. He has 18 catches in 2014 and averages 27.4 yards per catch. Of his career 25 receptions, 21 of those have resulted in a first down or touchdown. New Mexico State has Teldrick Morgan to lead their receivers. Also a sophomore, he has 31 catches and four touchdowns. All that said, New Mexico State is a bad football team. This won’t be close.

Winner: LSU

Memphis (2-1) at #10 Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
6:30 PM | FSN

When we think of Ole Miss and Coach Hugh Freeze, the first though is offense. Did you know that the Rebels are the best in the SEC when it comes to scoring defense giving up just 10.3 points per game? The lone Memphis loss this season came to UCLA and the Tigers are playing with a little swagger. If the Rebels are looking ahead to October 4th when Alabama visits, they could be in for a tough day against Memphis. That, and if Bo Wallace does not take care of the football. Talent wise, this team is more talented than Memphis.

Winner: Ole Miss

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Football Random thoughts

Sep 24, 2014 -- 9:15am

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Here are some things I’m thinking about Arkansas football, the SEC and the college football landscape as a whole…

Bret Bielema is getting the job done. He told Razorback fans that he was going to build this team starting with the lines, and that is what he is doing. In year three four starters from this year’s offensive line will be back and the depth is growing. When it comes to developing talent, my guess is that Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland will end up in the NFL.

Is the Arkansas secondary better this season? We don’t know yet. We will have a good sense after they play against the Texas A&M passing game. This unit will largely decide the outcome of the game against the Aggies.

Razorback Korliss Marshall and Alabama’s Kenyan Drake seem to have much in common. Both just might be the most explosive player among the running backs on their team, but can’t seem to stay out of the doghouse with their coach for one reason or another. Be sure of this, Arkansas would be a better team if the Hogs could get Marshall to step up and use him in creative ways like Bama showed last week with Drake.

Is there a better name for a wide receiver than Speedy Noil? The Texas A&M freshman is starting his career well and has twelve catches this season and a touchdown to his credit. He can also be a threat returning the ball on special teams.

Keep an eye on two Aggie freshmen…that play defense. Myles Garrett has 5.5 sacks this season and is an explosive player from his DE position. Armani Watts is a ball hawking safety that can deliver a thump when hitting. Kevin Sumlin has not just recruited offensive players.

Is it too big a statement to say that every SEC West team would finish no worse than second in the East and would contend for the division title on the other side?

The media keeps trying to create a storyline that the relationship between Alabama head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is not positive. How bad can it really be? The Tide is racking up 594.3 yards per game, Amari Cooper is getting the ball and leads the SEC in receiving yards. Against Florida, the Tide had a 400 yards passer, 200 yard receiver and 100 yard rusher for the first time in school history. What will happen when Saban and Kiffin get on the same page?

The SEC has suspended Mississippi State offensive lineman Dillon Day for one game because of “multiple flagrant and unsportsmanlike acts during the game, as well as previous disciplinary action for similar behavior.” I’m against cheap play, but if the video that has been circulated online is the reason, then I’m not sure the case was made. Looking at the video, he does not seem to have any other landing spot. Disagree, but that is what I see.

The polls still matter. If the CFB playoff selection committee has a top four that does not include the top six schools from the major polls then there will be an onslaught about their credibility and agendas.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is letting it be known that he thinks only conference champions should be in the college football playoff. Solid Big Ten thinking…and the only hope they have. Someone needs to remind Dantonio that not all conferences are created equally and the goal is to get the best teams in the playoff…not reward the Big Ten for mediocrity.

By the way, when are the athletic directors on the committee watching video of the games each week beyond their own?  

Jameis Winston should have never even been on the sidelines for the Florida State game with Clemson. One final note. If Winston is the leader of this FSU team, as Jimbo Fisher says, then that tells me much about both Fisher and the Seminole program.

 

SEC Power Rankings

Sep 23, 2014 -- 1:00pm

From Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Week four brought another interesting round of games in the SEC and it also brings another round of changes in the weekly power rankings.

Alabama

The secondary is still suspect, but when a team can commit four turnover and suffer eleven penalties while still walking away with a blowout win, it means they must be doing something right. The win over West Virginia also looks better after Oklahoma’s struggles with the Mountaineers.

Trend: Up

Auburn

Yes, the Wildcats helped Auburn out plenty of times with missed field goals and a dropped touchdown that was intercepted. Give Auburn credit, though. Gus Malzahn’s Tigers did what they had to do to win an away game that was played in a tough environment. The win over Arkansas is also looking better.  

Trend: Neutral

Mississippi State

Who says Dan Mullen can’t win a big game? Despite the final score, Mississippi State dominated the Tigers for almost the entire night behind a career performance by quarterback Dak Prescott.

Trend-Up

Texas A&M

That win over South Carolina is not as impressive today and the rest of the schedule so far is really weak. As the Aggies prepare for Arkansas it is time to start wondering if the cream puffs for the last three weeks have adequately prepared them for the rugged Razorback running game. The combined record of the Aggies non-FCS opponents is 3-7.

Trend: Neutral

Georgia

Look at this team and consider what it would look like without Todd Gurley. Sure, there is no star that any team wants to lose, but would any team have a more difficult time replacing one guy than Georgia?

Trend-neutral

Arkansas

There is plenty of evidence to say that the Hogs can run the ball and QB Brandon Allen looked reliable throwing it against NIU last week. When the Razorbacks play Texas A&M we will find out if the defense is ready for prime time. If the Hogs win this weekend, get on the bandwagon.

Trend: Up

Ole Miss

Like what Ole Miss has shown, but need to see them be really tested before jumping on the wagon. The front seven on defense will have to prove they are a solid unit as the competition starts to ramp up after the Memphis game.

Trend: Neutral

LSU

Is it time to start buying in on LSU? That is the question many, including me, were asking last week at this time. Then along came Mississippi State. Unlike the Wisconsin game, this time the clock ran out on Les Miles team.

Trend: Down

South Carolina

The Old Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, said it himself. He is the head coach of an embarrassing team. His defense is ranked last in the SEC giving up 480 yards a game and is in the lower half of the league in total offense. This was supposed to be a team that could compete for a national title this year.

Trend: Down

Tennessee

The Vols really need to shore up the offensive line. Justin Worley is being sacked an average of three times a game and is constantly under pressure. That defensive line is also needing to grow up quickly.

Trend: Neutral

Missouri

When you lose to Indiana at home you should drop even further down than this. Why? Because you have now hurt the SEC’s strength of schedule and it was a Big 10 team. The Big 10, for crying out loud.

Trend: Down

Kentucky

The Wildcats played a hardnosed game against Florida, but lost. They are ranked ahead of the Gators because they are at least exceeding expectations. Win against Vandy or the Wildcats will head to the cellar quickly.

Trend: Up

Florida

It is really hard to believe Florida is second in the SEC in total offense averaging 593.5 yards per outing. That was last week. After playing Bama the Gators have dropped all the way to number nine. Will Muschamp probably leaves the car seat warmer off since the one in his office chair is on high.

Trend: Down

Vanderbilt

The Commodores are last in total offense and next to last in total defense. So, would you say this team’s strength is defense?

Trend: Down

 

SEC Football-Television Schedule Week Four

Sep 20, 2014 -- 8:01am

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Today's SEC football schedule and games times. All times are central.

Sat, Sep 2011:00 AMTroy at # 13 GeorgiaSEC NETWORK
Sat, Sep 202:30 PM# 6 Texas A&M at SMUABC, ESPN3
Sat, Sep 202:30 PMFlorida at # 3 AlabamaCBS
Sat, Sep 203:00 PMIndiana at # 18 MissouriSEC NETWORK
Sat, Sep 206:00 PMNorthern Illinois at ArkansasESPNU
Sat, Sep 206:00 PMMississippi State at # 8 LSUESPN3, ESPN
Sat, Sep 206:30 PM# 14 South Carolina at VanderbiltSEC NETWORK

 

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