NCAA Football – Week 13
Before the season, many expected this to be a game that would play a role in deciding the national champion. As it turns out, Arkansas has completely fallen apart this year, and LSU lost to both Florida and Alabama in SEC play. The game doesn’t mean as much nationally, but these teams still hate each other and you can expect both teams to fight very hard for a victory.
LSU had to fight very hard to win at home last weekend against Ole Miss. The Tigers defense was uncharacteristically bad, and LSU had to come from behind to win 41-35. LSU scored the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds remaining. Even though the Tigers aren’t exactly where they wanted to be, it has still been a pretty good season for them. LSU is 9-2 on the year, and they have one of the best defenses in the country. The Tigers are giving up only 17.3 points per game. Opponents are gaining just 282 total yards of offense per game against this solid defensive unit.
The LSU offense seems to really be hitting its stride over the last few weeks. LSU chewed up Alabama’s very good defense, and they have continued their success in the last two weeks against Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The biggest change has been the improved play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger. He has thrown for at least 273 yards in each of the team’s last three games. The Tigers have no shortage of talent at the tailback spot. Five players have at least 270 rushing yards on the year.
To say that this season has been a disappointment for Arkansas is a major understatement. This is a team that many picked to finish in the top ten, and they sit at 4-7 on the season. John L. Smith was hired after Bobby Petrino’s offseason mess, and it seems Smith hasn’t been able to do anything with this team. They have had several key injuries this year, but there still is no excuse for a team with this much talent to be 4-7 at this point in the year. Tyler Wilson is still highly thought of by NFL scouts, but he hasn’t had the season many expected. Wilson has thrown double the interceptions he threw last year in 100 fewer pass attempts. Arkansas is averaging only 24.5 points per game. This was an offense that many expected to be among the best in the nation.
The Razorbacks defense is a bit of an enigma. This unit has been very good against the run, but terrible against the pass. Unfortunately, there are several very good passers in the SEC. Arkansas is giving up 292 yards per game through the air. Far too often this unit has given up big plays because of mental mistakes this year.
The side is a really tough call in this game. Arkansas is better than they have shown this year, but I can’t recommend playing them after the way they have rolled over all season. LSU’s improved offense and Arkansas’ talent on offense makes me think the best play here is the over.
LSU 38 Arkansas 24