Auburn Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Date and Time: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR
Opening College Football Odds: Auburn -13
Auburn vs. Arkansas TV Coverage: SEC Network
It's a wonder when (or if) Austin Allen is going to be able to get back on the field for Arkansas. He's got a shoulder injury that kept him out of last week's game against Alabama, and that turned the ball over to Cole Kelley for his first start with the Hogs.
In fairness to the redshirt freshman, he at least hung in there against the Crimson Tide and scored a cover against a 37-point spread, one of the biggest you'll ever see at your favorite sportsbook in an SEC game.
Kelley went 23-for-42 for 200 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked seven times, which couldn't have helped his confidence any, but again, he kept standing back up and hanging in there while many other quarterbacks would have mentally checked out.
We're not sure what to make of Auburn right now. Jarrett Stidham really seemed like he had a command of this offense before last week when he was woeful against the Bayou Bengals. He finished just 9-for-26 for 165 yards with a touchdown and couldn't keep the ball moving in the second half when things started to get tight.
It's almost as if the Tigers felt the noose closing around their neck, and rather than try to fight their way out, they just fell apart at the seams.
Last week, Arkansas' biggest problem wasn't the play of its quarterback as much as it was the play of its defensive line. The Hogs allowed Alabama to run for 308 yards on 43 carries, an average of 7.2 yards per rush.
This is nothing new for Bret Bielema's squad this year, and it's why he's sitting on a toasty seat in Fayetteville. This is a team that was built to try to physically overwhelm its foes at the point of attack on both sides of the ball, yet Arkansas ranks No. 70 in rushing and No. 79 in rush defense this year.
Sure, Arkansas would get a pass if this was just the Alabama game that caused such a stir, but getting whipped by TCU at the line of scrimmage for a full 60 minutes on both sides of the ball didn't help either.
If Kerryon Johnson can post yet another dominant game at the tailback spot, the Tigers should be in good shape in this game.
Auburn vs. Arkansas Free Picks
These two teams strike us as soft, and we hate trying to handicap games like this. It's anyone's guess as to whether either one of these teams will buck up or not.
The only thing we'll say about Auburn is that it really just had one bad lapse for a half of football that we think can be forgiven. We can't say the same about an Arkansas team that is 0-3 in the SEC already this year and is 0-4 against Power Five teams on the season.
It's hard to choke on this much chalk in an SEC road game, but the Razorbacks feel finished to us, particularly without the human punching bag that has become Allen standing in the backfield.
College Football ATS Pick: Auburn -13 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Auburn 37, Arkansas 14