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2011 Sugar Bowl: Ohio St. vs. Arkansas Predictions

Allstate Sugar Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs #8 Arkansas Preview

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Buckeyes vs. Razorbacks Handicapping Matchup

Date/Time: Tuesday, Jan. 4 2011, 8.30 pm EST
Venue: Superdome, New Orleans LA
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2) Betting Lines from Sportsbook.com
MoneyLine: Ohio St -160, Arkansas +140
NCAA Betting Favorite: Ohio St (-3.5) Arkansas (+3.5)
Over/Under: 57
GO INSIDE THIS MATCHUP WITH OUR ATS STATS —>
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Ohio State

Controversy swirled around the Buckeyes recently as five key players including star QB Terrelle Pryor, RB Dan Herron and WR DeVier Posey were suspended for the first five games of next season for receiving improper benefits. There was talk of head coach Jim Tressel sitting some, or all of the players for the bowl game, which would have drastically changed this match-up. The players made the trip to New Orleans and it looks like we’ll see Pryor and Co. versus Arkansas.

Those three offensive players, along with WR Dane Sanzenbacher (who has produced long enough to finally be a household name) provide the fuel for Ohio State’s strong attack. The Scarlet and Gray are 11th in the nation in points for and though the offense leans more toward the rush than the pass, Pryor and friends can beat you both ways.

The Buckeyes characteristically mix a scoring offense with a watertight “D” that surrenders less than two TDs on average (good for third in the country) and features great veterans like LBs Ross Homan, Brian Rolle and DB Chimdi Chekwa. The unit is going up against one of the NCAA’s elite passers in the Sugar Bowl, but if any team has the personnel to handle it, it’s the Buckeyes.

If Tressel decided to drop the hammer in this game, with the aim of getting the NCAA to lessen next year’s suspensions, it would surely give a different perspective. But with a full line-up, Ohio State is the more talented team top to bottom.

Arkansas

Ohio State has had a rough go of it against SEC teams in January bowl games; the Hogs pray that trend continues on Jan. 4.

At least Arkansas has the passing game to grease the rails. Junior Ryan Mallett had a dominant 2010 and the Hogs have the third-best passing attack in the nation. The team has dynamic deep threats in WRs Jairus Wright and Joe Adams and an underrated RB in 1,000-yard rusher Knile Davis. Elsewhere, Arkansas’ defense is the only unit that has been somewhat spotty, yet it usually can make enough stops seeing as Mallett is catapulting the six-pointers.

This season, to finish with two losses in the murderous SEC West division is nothing to sneeze at. The Hogs haven’t lost a game since Oct. 16 at Auburn, and have won most of their games in convincing fashion. Arkansas hasn’t been to a Sugar Bowl since the 1979 season and its players and fans surely want this January to be one to remember.

The Pick

Mallett is a specimen dripping with NFL potential, but he hasn’t been totally immune to mistakes (11 INTs this season, in 2009 he had only seven with 50 more pass attempts). He will probably put up numbers in this game and put points up for the Hogs, but I see Ohio State’s strong defense hassling him into some errors. If one team starts scoring, the other must keep pace – there could be more points than you’d expect, but anticipate Ohio State’s bowl game SEC woes to come to an end.

Ohio State vs. Arkansas Score Prediction: Ohio State 34 Arkansas 31 (OT)

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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