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#3 Arkansas Razorbacks vs. #1 LSU Tigers Game Preview

#3 Arkansas Razorbacks (10-1, 6-1 SEC) vs #1 LSU Tigers (11-0, 7-0 SEC)

If this game doesn’t have the exact same excitement and charged atmosphere that the earlier LSU-Alabama tilt had, it’ll be mighty close. This is an end of season SEC West clash that has oodles of conference title and National Title implications.

Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge LA
Friday, Nov. 15, 2:30 pm EST
NCAA Odds from Sportsbook.com:
MoneyLine: Arkansas +340, LSU -440
Spread: Arkansas +11.5, LSU -11.5
Over/Under: 52.5

This classic “Battle for the Golden Boot” rivalry always is spirited, but it carries much more significance in 2011, with the Razorbacks fielding such an excellent team. BCS pollsters and fans alike will be keeping an eagle eye on this game and the Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl match-up, as the results between numbers one through three in the BCS rankings will illuminate who gets to play for all the marbles.

The Hogs have had a great passing game all season, but they are not just an aerial show and are playing their best football at the right time. Over the past two weeks, Arkansas has beaten Tennessee and Mississippi State by a combined score of 93-24. Head coach Bobby Petrino’s men are lighting up the scoreboard and also playing some inspired defense. Arkansas represents a 3,000+ yard passer in Tyler Wilson (3,215), a 1,000+ yard receiver in Jarius Wright (1,002, 10 TDs) and a RB duo in Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo that has put up over 1,000 rush yards combined, despite having to deal with a spate of injuries to the position.

If Arkansas needed any more reason to bring their premium game this Thanksgiving Weekend, the sudden death of freshman TE Garrett Uekman – who had an undiagnosed heart condition – understandably rocked the campus and the communities of Fayetteville and Little Rock, where Uekman was from. Arkansas players will doubtlessly be playing for Garrett this week in their aim to finish a grand season off the right way.

It won’t be easy in perhaps the most hostile confines in the nation, against the FBS’s toughest team. The Tigers have been very, very good in all aspects of the game this season. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

LSU isn’t the most explosive offensively, but it does enough of everything so, when paired with a virtually impregnable defense, makes the Purple and Gold incredibly daunting. After the gut-wrenching 9-6 OT defeat of Alabama a few weeks ago, LSU has crushed Western Kentucky and Ole Miss, though that isn’t much of an accomplishment with two heinous mis-matches. Even if your offense is merely average, when your team has given up 35 points combined in the past five games of an SEC schedule, you’re probably not going to lose.

With LSU’s dynamic running game of RBs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford, I would venture to say LSU’s offense is better than average. Hence, we have been watching the dominance of the best team in the nation.

It is entirely possible that the only teams who could give LSU a good game are Alabama in a potential re-match, and this weekend’s Razorbacks. A sexy theme that has been wafting around the Internet in recent days is that LSU should be on upset watch. I have a hard time buying that because LSU is such an outstanding team this year.

Arkansas has also been great and it has everything to play for; “the wolf climbing the hill is always hungrier than the wolf on top” sort of thing, but I think the Hogs have been playing over their heads a little bit (Re: edging Vanderbilt 31-28 and terrible Ole Miss 29-24 – not misprints).

Both of these teams are peaking at the perfect time, so this is tough to call. However, though I think the spread is a bit silly, expect LSU to pull out a close win at home in Death Valley.

Score Prediction: LSU 24, Arkansas 21 (OT)
Over/Under Prediction: 45

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