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SEC Football-Television Schedule Week Thirteen

Nov 21, 2014 -- 3:43pm
Time (ET)MatchupNetwork
12:00 PMEastern Kentucky at FloridaSEC NETWORK
12:00 PMCharleston Southern at # 10 GeorgiaSEC NETWORK
12:00 PMSouth Alabama at South CarolinaESPN3
3:30 PM# 8 Ole Miss at ArkansasCBS
4:00 PMWestern Carolina at # 1 AlabamaSEC NETWORK
7:00 PMSamford at # 14 AuburnESPNU
7:30 PM# 20 Missouri at TennesseeESPN
7:30 PMVanderbilt at # 4 Mississippi StateSEC NETWORK

 

Ole Miss vs. Arkansas: Who has the advantage?

Nov 21, 2014 -- 3:37pm

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

This weekend the Arkansas Razorbacks will host Ole Miss at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Kick-off will be at 2:30 p.m. and televised on CBS.

All team stats used are from SEC games only. Player stats are SEC games only unless otherwise indicated.

Here is a preview of what to expect.

When Arkansas Runs the Ball

In SEC play the Razorbacks are rushing for 151.8 yards per game. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams provide the spark to the ground game and both have shown the ability to make the big play. For the season Collins averages 4.78 yards when he carries the ball and on third down Williams is averaging 6.75 yards in all games. Sebastian Tretola has been a strong performer on the offensive line over the past five games, grading out at 80% or better in four of those.

Ole Miss has been one of the better teams in the SEC against the rush, except in their two losses. Auburn rushed for 248 yards and LSU pounded the Rebels for 264. The Ole Miss defensive front has been banged up for several weeks and those two games tested the limits of the Rebels up front depth. Over the past two weeks Ole Miss has played Presbyterian, which allowed several key players to rest and had a bye week. The group up front for Ole Miss should be well rested and recovered from what has become a long season of wear and tear, but this game will be another grinder for the Rebels.

Advantage: Arkansas

When Arkansas Throws the Ball

Razorback QB Brandon Allen is not a Heisman trophy contender or going to be named All-SEC quarterback. He is ahead of Nick Marshall of Auburn and Georgia’s Hutson Mason, among others, in yards passing per game. The issue with the Arkansas passing attack is the lack of wide receivers who are able to make plays in the SEC. Tight ends Hunter Henry and AJ Derby are the most dangerous, and reliable, weapons Allen has at his disposal.

The Rebels defense has intercepted ten passes in SEC play and is packed full of future NFL players. CB Senquez Golson is an aggressive defender and leads the Rebels with six picks in conference games. Cody Prewitt is an All-American and a Thorpe Award semifinalist. He has eleven career interceptions. Ole Miss is not exceptional in rushing the passer. They are eighth in the SEC with eleven sacks.

Advantage: Ole Miss

When Ole Miss Runs the Ball

Running the ball is not the strength of this Ole Miss offense. The Rebels are number eleven in the conference when it comes to running the ball with an average of 146.5 yards per game. Jaylen Walton is the team’s leading rusher with 434 yards, but is more of an impact player in the kicking game. Watch for Jordan Wilkins. The redshirt freshman is an explosive player and averages 7.6 yards per carry. On the offensive line keep an eye on number 78, Laremy Tunsil. He is a dominating player and a likely future first round pick in the NFL draft.

The Razorback defense is starting to earn a reputation as a team that can stop the run. They held LSU to just thirty-six yards on the ground last week, and before that kept both the Alabama and Mississippi State ground games in check. Credit the play of Trey Flowers and Darius Philon for much of this success. Flowers has 9.5 tackles for a loss and Philon is quickly making a name as one of the elite defensive tackles in the conference.

Advantage: Arkansas

When Ole Miss Throws the Ball

WR Laquon Treadwell may be missing for the season after breaking his leg against Auburn, but the receiver position for Ole Miss is still strong. Vince Sanders is averaging 17.5 yards per catch and has a team high six receiving touchdowns this season. Seven different players have caught touchdowns so far this year. QB Bo Wallace is the driving force in the Rebels passing game. The senior signal caller has thrown for 1,463 yards in league play and only thrown one pick. This is the lowest number for the SEC’s top ten passing quarterbacks.

Arkansas is still one of the lower rated defensive units in the SEC against the pass, giving up 239.5 yards per game on average. Third down has been particularly hard on the Razorbacks when it comes to defending the pass. Hog opponents are completing 55% of their attempts and give up an average of 13.86 yards per completion.

Advantage: Ole Miss

Special Teams

The Razorbacks have no punt returns of twenty yards or more in SEC games. Arkansas punter Sam Irwin-Hill’s 39.9 yards per punt is the lowest in the SEC for qualified punters.  The Razorbacks are the SEC’s best kickoff return team, averaging 25.2 yards per return.

Ole Miss kicker Gary Wunderlich sat out the Rebels game with Presbyterian with a hamstring injury. It will be interesting to see if it is fully healed. He is 4/5 in field goals and has a long of forty-seven yards. Jaylen Walton needs just four more yards to break the Ole Miss record for career kick-off yards.

Advantage: Even

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: 76-38

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze has the Rebels eligible for their third straight bowl. Freeze has an innovative offensive mind and is a tireless recruiter. Since arriving in Oxford, Freeze has gone 23-13.

Hugh Freeze Career Record: 53-20

Advantage: Arkansas

The Call

Arkansas is an improving football team. Last weekend the Razorbacks took a big step in winning their first SEC under Bielema when they shut out LSU. This week the challenge is a little tougher as the nation’s number eight team, Ole Miss, visits Fayetteville.

The Razorbacks have shown significant improvement on defense this season, especially against the run. Ole Miss will not look to do most of their damage on the ground though. The Rebels rely on the arm of Bo Wallace to generate yards and points, and this season Wallace has not been as inconsistent as he was in his junior campaign. The challenge this week will be for the Razorback defensive front to get pressure on him and force Wallace to make decisions before he is ready.

The Razorback offense will have to play better than they did against LSU last week, and in particular, the running game needs to be an effective weapon. While the Arkansas power running game has churned out the yards in non-conference games, it has made little impact against the upper tier teams of the SEC. It will be critical for the ground game to work, as Ole Miss features one of the best defensive backfields in the nation. The lack of talent for Arkansas at receiver will be even more evident if the Hogs are unable to force Cody Prewitt to provide run support from his safety position.

Ole Miss has been banged up for several week now and is still a young team without considerable depth The Arkansas defense is improving each week and should make this a difficult day for the Ole Miss offense. Rain is expected at game time and could be the wild card factor in this outing. Expect the Hogs to get their second SEC win in a row and become bowl eligible.

Final Score: Arkansas 24  Ole Miss 21

 

 

SEC Forecast and Predictions: Week Thirteen

Nov 20, 2014 -- 9:02pm

From Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Here is a quick look at the week thirteen SEC games that might be interesting and a word on the opponent for the ones that will be, well, unwatchable.

Eastern Kentucky (9-2) at Florida (5-4, 4-4 SEC)
11:00 AM CT | SEC Network

The Colonels home field, Roy Kidd Stadium, seats 20,000. Florida’s enrollment of over 51,000 is double the size of their seating capacity.

Winner: Florida

South Alabama (6-4) at South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 SEC)
11:00 AM CT | FSN/ESPN3

30.6967° N, 88.1787° W. These are the coordinates for the University of South Alabama campus. 33.9975° N, 81.0253° W are the coordinates for South Carolina. Guess which one is further south.

Winner: South Carolina

Charleston Southern (8-3) at # Georgia (8-2, 6-2 SEC)
11:00 AM CT | SEC Network

These are the people Wikipedia list as the notable alumni of Charleston Southern: Stuart Lake - CSU baseball coach; Bobby Parnell - Pitcher for the New York Mets; Tim Scott - United States Senator; Charlie Simpkins - Olympic Silver Medalist; R. J. Swindle - Pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization; Tyler Thornburg - Pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Impressed?

Winner: Georgia

#8 Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 SEC) at Arkansas (5-5, 1-5 SEC)
2:30 PM CT | CBS

The Razorbacks look to become bowl eligible, while the Rebels will play their first competitive game since losing to Auburn in heartbreaking fashion. In their two losses, to LSU and Auburn, the Rebels highly touted run defense was shredded by both of the opposing offenses. That could be bad news given the power running game of the Razorbacks. It will also be interesting to see if the Arkansas defense is as stiff as it was last week in their win over LSU. There is rain in the forecast for Saturday.

Winner: Arkansas

Western Carolina (7-4) at #1 Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC)
3:00 PM CT | SEC Network

It is homecoming in Tuscaloosa. A tad later than most. Western Carolina is actually located in North Carolina. This will be of benefit for those who might be geographically challenged.

Vanderbilt 3-7, 0-6 SEC) at #4 Mississippi State (9-1, 5-1 SEC)
6:00 PM CT | SEC Network

Mississippi State needs to do more than just survive their game with Vandy to hang onto their number four ranking. The toughest assignment for Dan Mullen’s team will be forgetting about the Alabama loss and not looking ahead to Ole Miss.

Winner: Mississippi State

Samford (7-3, 5-2 So Con) at #4 Auburn (7-3, 4-3 SEC)
6:00 PM CT | ESPNU

Samford football coach Pat Sullivan won the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback at Auburn in 1971.

Winner: Auburn

Missouri (8-2, 5-1 SEC) at Tennessee (5-5, 2-4SEC)
6:30 PM CT | ESPN

The Biggest Tennessee fans this weekend all wear the red and black of Georgia. The Bulldogs are pulling for the Vols to beat Missouri and give them a shot to advance to the SEC Championship Game. The Vols have become a much better team since Josh Dobbs took over at QB. The Missouri offense is very average, but their defense has some special players. With a win Tennessee becomes bowl eligible.

Winner: Tennessee

 

 

 

SEC Power Rankings: Week Twelve

Nov 20, 2014 -- 8:18pm

From Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Twelve weeks are in the books now and once again we have a new team at the top of the power rankings. Here is an individual player stat (conference games only) for each team this week.

1. Alabama

One key to success for Bama? Field position. Freshman punter JK Scott gets genuine credit for helping in this area. He leads the SEC with a 47 yard average. He has fifteen kicks of fifty or more yards.

Trend: Up

2. Mississippi State

QB Dak Prescott generates 358.8 yards per game in total offense. Good for second in the SEC.

Trend: Down

3. Ole Miss

Senquez Golson has an SEC leading six picks in 2014. That is an average of one for each SEC game.

Trend-Neutral

4. Georgia

Who needs Todd Gurley? Freshman RB Nick Chubb is averaging 119.9 yards per game in SEC play.

Trend-Up

5. Auburn

QB Nick Marshall has scored ten touchdowns on the ground in 2014. He has thrown for another eight.

Trend: Down

6. Missouri

Here is a head scratching stat. QB Maty Mauk is passing for only 134.3 yards per game.

Trend: Neutral

7. Tennessee

The Vols have the SEC’s top two sack leaders. Derek Barnett has eight solo and two assists, while Curt Magget has eight solo.

Trend: Up

8. Arkansas

Linebacker Martrell Spaight has sixty-five tackles this season. This is the third best in SEC play.

Trend: Up

9. LSU

Freshman Leonard Fournette averages 113.4 all-purpose yards in SEC play. This is good for ninth best.

Trend: Down

10. Texas A&M

Benched and suspended QB Kenny Hill is still the SEC leader in passing yards per game with 360.2.

Trend: Neutral

11. South Carolina

Gamecock receiver Pharoh Cooper is averaging 91.8 yards per game receiving. He has eight touchdowns on the season in SEC play. These numbers are both second best in the conference.

Trend: Up

12. Florida

Antonio Morrison has eighty-even tackles in 2014. Twenty-five solo and sixty-two assists.

Trend: Down

13. Kentucky

Josh Forrest also has eighty-seven tackles this season. He has fifty-one solo tackles and thirty-six assists.

Trend: Down

14. Vanderbilt

Darrius Sims averages 33.4 yards per kickoff return and has two touchdowns. Both lead the SEC.

Trend: Poor, poor pitiful Commodores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Long has a tough job every Tuesday

Nov 18, 2014 -- 8:06pm

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Arkansas Athletic Director, Jeff Long, is starting to sound like a White House press secretary trying to spin bad public policy as he explains the decisions of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee he chairs. Here are some quotes from Tuesday night after the rankings were released:

Regarding Baylor being behind TCU he said, "At this point the committee doesn't feel Baylor and TCU's body of work is comparable enough that (head-to-head) would kick in."

In other words, the games don’t count as much as other factors…these are both teams with just one loss.

About Marshall he said, "Marshall's body of work, their strength of schedule, what they've done to this point in time, the committee does not feel that they warrant being ranked in the Top 25 at this point in time. They're very close."

Why would they be "very close?" Their whole schedule has been one that power five teams are criticized for playing even one of.

Talking about number four Mississippi State loss to Alabama he said, "You never felt like Mississippi State was out of that game."

Interesting. After the Tide took a 5-0 lead, there were not many Bama fans that thought the Bulldogs had a chance. By the way, Long used the word “decisive” to describe the Tide’s win over Mississippi State.

Here is what Long said about undefeated Florida State, "We look at the games, how they've played them, whether they've controlled the game. They've had a number of come-from-behind victories."

I guess the committee believes Alabama and Oregon had better game control in their losses.

While it looks like the committee has a solid top four, the answers to the questions of how the rankings are developed really, really need some work.

Here is this week's Top 25:

RKTEAMRECORD
1Alabama9-1
2Oregon9-1
3Florida State10-0
4Mississippi State9-1
5TCU9-1
6Ohio State9-1
7Baylor8-1
8Ole Miss8-2
9UCLA8-2
10Georgia8-2
11Michigan State8-2
12Kansas State7-2
13Arizona State8-2
14Auburn7-3
15Arizona8-2
16Wisconsin8-2
17Utah7-3
18Georgia Tech9-2
19USC7-3
20Missouri8-2
21Oklahoma7-3
22Clemson7-3
23Nebraska8-2
24Louisville7-3
25Minnesota7-3

 

LSU vs. Arkansas: Who has the Advantage?

Nov 14, 2014 -- 9:22pm

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

This weekend the Arkansas Razorbacks will host LSU in a game that will be played at Don W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN2.

Here is a preview of what to expect.

When Arkansas Runs the Ball

Is Arkansas a good rushing team or not? In SEC play the Hogs have the eighth best ground game. This is quite a drop from being the fourth best running attack for all games played. In SEC games only, the Razorbacks rush for 163.20 yards per outing, 85 less than for all their games. This is by far the largest differential for the SEC’s best running teams. What Hog fans are wanting to see is the same powerful running game that is on display in non-conference games in SEC contests. The Razorback ground attack is led by Jonathan Williams and Alex Collin. In conference games Williams is averaging 73.4 yards per game, while Collins is right behind him with 67.20. When running on third down the Hogs convert 61% of the time.

The Tigers give up 172.8 yards per game rushing and were really run through by Auburn in their 41-7 loss. Mississippi State pounded out 302 yards in their game with the Tigers. The Tigers have a deep rotation up front, but are somewhat undersized compared to most teams the big Razorback line has faced in conference games. On third down LSU gives up an average of 4.63 yards per carry. This is 13th in the SEC, but the Tigers are the best third down defense in the conference overall.

Advantage: Arkansas

When Arkansas Throws the Ball

On third down Arkansas QB Brandon Allen likes to target wide receiver Keon Hatcher or his big tight end Hunter Henry. Of Hatcher’s 32 catches, 20 have gone for first downs. Henry has been targeted 16 times on third down in 2014, and 12 times he has moved the chains. Looking at the numbers the Razorbacks are a very average passing team in SEC play. The Arkansas offensive line takes care of Allen. They have only allowed nine sacks this season.

LSU has a solid secondary and pass defense. SEC teams are averaging 208.3 yards per game through the air when playing the Tigers and complete 52.1% of their passes. This is also not a great team at creating sacks, with only eight this season in SEC play. LSU only has nine interceptions in 2014. This Tiger defense excels at not giving up big pass plays, allowing only 57 plays of ten or more yards this year.

Advantage: LSU

When LSU Runs the Ball

LSU is not shy about their goal in the game when they have the ball. They are going to line up and run the ball right at you, until you prove they can’t. Only Auburn and Georgia have run the ball more this season in SEC play and the Tigers use a stable of running backs to get the job done. Freshman Leonard Fournette is the leading rusher with 738 yards, but you can also expect a healthy dose of Terrence McGee, who averages 5.5 yards per carry. The reliable Kenny Hillard will miss the rest of the regular season with a shoulder injury, so look for Darrel Williams to get more carries. The LSU rushing game has improved since settling in with a consistent starting five on the offensive line.

Arkansas has the SEC’s fourth best rushing defense in conference games and get very consistent play from Taiwan Johnson and Darius Philon. Overall the front four lacks depth and the linebackers are not at their best in run support. The lack of depth is seen in the second half of games. On the season Arkansas has allowed just 520 yards in the first half of games, good for second in the SEC. In the second half they have given up 711.

Advantage: Arkansas

When LSU Throws the Ball

The Tigers get just 155.2 yards through the air in SEC play each game, while completing just 43.6% of their attempts. On the season they have completed just six passes for touchdowns and leading receiver Travin Dural only has 15 catches when facing SEC defenses. Texas A&M has six receivers with more receptions. Anthony Jennings is much more a threat when moving with the ball, than he is in the pocket.

The opportunity for LSU is they will be facing one of the weakest pass defenses in the SEC. Arkansas gives up 270 yards per game and does not have a corner that has proven the ability to consistently shut an opponent down. Against Alabama, Henre’ Toliver did a good job controlling WR Amari Cooper, but he has battled injuries at times this season. The Razorbacks get excellent support in the passing game from linebackers Martel Spaight and Brooks Ellis.

Advantage: LSU

Special Teams

Arkansas has allowed only two punt returns of more than 20 yards in 2014, but they have also lacked any explosion in returning punts. The Razorbacks have no punt returns of twenty yards or more in SEC games. Arkansas punter Sam Irwin-Hill’s 40.5 yards per punt is the lowest in the SEC for qualified punters.

LSU’s Jamie Keehan is second in punting average with just over 45 yards per kick. Colby Delahoussaye is extremely reliable kicking field goals. He is 10-11 on the season and has excellent range, including a 50 yard kick to win the Florida game.

Advantage: LSU

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: 75-38

Since replacing Nick Saban at LSU, Les Miles has taken the Tigers to two BCS title games and won the national championship in 2007.  Prior to coaching at LSU, Miles was the head coach for Oklahoma State for four season. He is in his 10th season at LSU.

Les Miles Career Record: 130-48

Advantage: LSU

The Call

If you look at this game on paper, it is an easy one to call for LSU. This is a week, however, where the intangibles might just matter as much.

 Here are three that tilt the game to Arkansas. 1.) LSU suffered an emotionally, and physically, draining loss at home last week to Alabama. 2.) Past LSU teams have shown a tendency to be less than focused when they have nothing to play for. 3.) It is going to be cold outside and Arkansas has had the week to get use to the colder temperatures, while LSU has not.

While the game will be relatively close for most of the night, expect the Razorbacks to put an end to their SEC losing streak and get a home win against LSU.

Final Score: Arkansas 27  LSU  17

 

 

 

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