Most folks who truly know college football will agree that the Southeastern Conference is the game’s toughest league.
That being said, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will start their league schedule on the road Saturday with what could be one of their toughest tests this fall, a meeting with the 10th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
After wins over San Jose State (48-3), Penn State (24-3) and Duke (62-13), Alabama faces a team that is more than capable of pulling the upset at home. On the flip side, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has some mighty fine weapons to turn to.
Alabama heads to Fayetteville with a healthy Mark Ingram, who returned from knee surgery last week, rushing for 48 yards on his first touch of the ball. Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, finished with 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just nine rushes.
Alabama will need all those weapons and then some, as it faces an Arkansas (3-0) team that is coming off of a 31-24 victory in Athens last weekend against Georgia.
Ryan Mallett threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40-yard scoring pass to Greg Childs with 15 seconds left in the game, to give Arkansas the victory after blowing a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. On the season, Mallet has thrown for 1,081 yards – most in the country – with nine touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions.
“We’ve really had a good week of work,” Saban said after Wednesday’s practice. “This is obviously a challenging team that we’re playing in terms of their scheme and talent level, but I’ve been pleased with the way the players have responded and the way they’ve worked at it. The preparation has been good.”
Alabama, which is 10-8 all-time against Arkansas, won 35-7 last season in Tuscaloosa.
The game will be shown on CBS at 2:30 p.m. CT.
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Written by Dave Thomas