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Staff Picks - #13 Auburn vs Arkansas

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You ain’t seen bouncin’ back!

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, well let’s dust ourselves off and get back out there. At least most of us nailed the under! This is a bounce back opportunity for Auburn. Arkansas is coming off of their first conference win in 20 tries, but that’s what happen when you let BERT run your program.

What’s that?

No, I really don’t think they ever really gave him a chance. What was he supposed to do with all of two years to recruit to a completely different system?

Anyway, Auburn needs this game to work out offensive line issues, especially in the run game. Unfortunately Arkansas appears to be strong against the run. This might be one where you challenge the fortitude of your football team and make them guy through it. How do we feel it will go?

Note: Most of us started to pick this before Hurricane Delta started to move the line a bit. There’s a decent chance one of the bands could hit during the game, so that could affect scoring. I updated to what Bill Connolly used to judge SP+.


Auburn (-14) vs. Arkansas (O/U 46.5)

SP+ Pick: Auburn -16.6; Total 49 (OVER)

Yeah I’m still boiling over last Saturday’s abject failure and now am even more enraged at the notion that if we coach/play like we did in Athens in the middle of a hurricane on Saturday that we could end up losing to this team and ultimately wind up with a $50 million+ decision to make in a pandemic. I am not ok and will not be ok regardless of what happens Saturday.

Still, we should beat this team and cover this spread. Don’t let Mississippi State looking like ass fool you here, Arkansas is the worst team in this league, and the only debate to the contrary involves Vanderbilt. The problem is they are very well coached, WHICH MATTERS WHEN YOU WANT TO BEAT A MORE TALENTED TEAM ON THE ROAD IN THIS CONFERENCE NOT THAT I AM REFERENCING ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR NOPE JUST THROWING OUT SOME RANDOM BIT OF ANALYSIS HERE.

/takes a deep breath and attempts to rationalize anything in this stupid year…

Auburn needs to run the football 35-40 times. Not a single one of those carries should be a called run by Bo Nix. They will not be given a better opportunity to use a game to get better than this one. They need to figure out run blocking regardless of how tight that keeps the score. And it’ll mean a sloppy game where things get weird, but it can pay dividends in the coming weeks. They absolutely must use this game to settle the offensive line and get some confidence, because if you don’t you’re going to get bullied by Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, and probably be dared to get into a shootout with the Mississippi schools.

I think the offense looks rough as hell thanks to the weather and a need to grind through the deficiencies up front, but ultimately eek out an ugly win that feels similar to Ole Miss a year ago, where the game is in question on the scoreboard and the stats don’t align with it.

Auburn 27, Arkansas 10 (Auburn wins and covers; under)

Josh Black

I am still pissed about last Saturday & will remain so for quite some time. The Tigers had a golden opportunity to change the AU/UGA narrative & establish themselves as a legitimate CFP contender. Instead, they got their butts beat & looked outclassed from head coach to student manager. It was embarrassing.

But despite the hopeless feelings of this week that AU fans have expressed quite verbosely on the internet wherever anyone would listen, the season isn’t over. The Tigers still have a chance to put together a season of football to be proud of but it has to start this weekend.

Auburn must win this game. That’s obvious but I’ll go a step further. Auburn must dominate this game. This team needs an emotional kickstart just as much as the fanbase. No, winning Saturday doesn’t make last weekend any better. It doesn’t even mean this team will end up being any good but a win at least gets this team going back in the right direction. A dominating win let’s this group feel like a GOOD football team again. I still believe the ingredients are there to be a good football team but it’s going to take some players at key positions elevating their play.

The weather might be nasty Saturday which could force both offenses to the ground. In the past, that would be a very good thing for Auburn. But I don’t feel as comfortable in 2020 about that situation. Still, despite the Hogs capturing their first win last week, they haven’t necessarily looked like an elite squad. It took 4 turnovers including a pick 6 for the Hogs to pull off last week’s upset. Their offense has yet to cross the 300 yard threshold & are averaging a pretty terrible 4.2 yards a play. If they win Saturday it will be because the Tigers turn the ball over too much & aren’t able to mentally shake last week’s loss.

However, I think this team shows up Saturday and plays better football. Specifically, I think Saturday becomes the Tank Bigsby show with the Tigers leaning on their explosive freshman and he responds by going over the century mark and putting some TDs on the board. On the other side of the ball, I expect the Hogs offense to make some big plays but struggle to finish drives. Franks can be turnover prone at times & I think a couple of picks turn this game into a blowout in the 2nd half.

Auburn 48, Arkansas 17 (Auburn wins and covers; over)

—AUNerd

Arkansas fans haaaaaaaaaaaate Chad Morris. Arkansas fans haaaaaaaaaaaaaaate Gus Malzahn. I don’t think our head coach much cares for Arkansas, either. These revenge games haven’t worked out for Arkansas very well. Auburn’s got some stuff to work out Saturday. If this game is close, Auburn has some soul searching to do. But this game won’t be close.

Auburn 56
Arkansas 3
(Auburn wins and covers; over)

—Josh W

I think this is a case of two teams who need a win desperately for various reasons. Auburn needs to win this game to prove to itself that it isn’t a bad football team, it just had a bad game. Arkansas needs to win because they got bad blood, but they used to have mad love. Now they got problems and I don’t think they can solve them, etc.

If Auburn and Chad Morris drop a fifty-spot on the hogs, they would be so angry they may never recover. However, if Gus has proven anything to us it is that he is vindictive.

Auburn 55, Arkansas 17 (Auburn wins and covers; over)

—Son of Crow

Man, I’ll admit, my confidence is shot after last weekend. It is really hard for me to trust Auburn beating anybody, much less by 18, right now. Nevertheless, this is the type of game Auburn wins big time under Gus, with the fanbase already too ticked off to be able to enjoy it. Auburn has a severe talent advantage, and even though we’re nicked up with some injuries, I expect the Auburn offense to come out with their hair on fire. Down KJ Britt, I do worry the defense may struggle, but I don’t think Arkansas has the ground game to take advantage of it. Tank Bigsby becomes the first Tiger to break 100 yards rushing since Boobee Whitlow in the Iron Bowl. 38-13 Good Guys. (Auburn wins and covers; over)

Ryan S. Sterritt

If there was ever a weekend that could make me not want to watch football after the extended sports break we had with COVID, it was last weekend. I don’t need to tell you the myriad of ways in which Auburn sucked, but it was disheartening as hell. Now, we get to play a team that might actually be just what the doctor ordered. Gus and Chad clearly don’t have any sort of sentimental feelings toward the Pigs, but I think this is going to be a little tougher than the past few seasons have been. Still, there may be two teams each season that Gus saves a little fun for, and it’s Arkansas and Alabama.

With an impending deluge, we might not be as crisp as we’d like to see, but I can only imagine that the team got its ass kicked in practice this week. Not having heard any “good week of practice” quotes coming from the head man may indicate that we did indeed have a good week of practice. We still need to work on the run game, and I’m definitely not alone in believing that it’s going to be an emphasis this weekend. Pound it and don’t stop until you get it right. Tank shows us more from last weekend, only this time he won’t be alone. Auburn 34-10. (Auburn wins and covers; under)

Jack Condon

I am really between a rock and a hard place. I am so hurt and disheartened that I am drifting into crazy fan territory of “JUST LOSE SO WE CAN BE DONE WITH THIS”. Auburn will win this game, more than likely. The talent is just there and this is the path Gus takes, looks terrible against the upper tier of the conference (because Auburn is not part of that this year), and then dominate the lower half (the Mississippi’s and Arkansas) of the conference. I don’t know what to expect or what we will see but Auburn should win. I will take the piggies and the points because...this offense isn’t good. Auburn 28-17 (Auburn wins, Arkansas covers; under)

Drew Mac

The Tigers come into this game on the lowest of lows while Arkansas comes into this game on the highest of highs. Auburn has blown out Arkansas the last 2 times the Hogs had come to the Plains, but after what I saw last week, my confidence in this group has been shaken quite a bit. The lines on both sides of the ball need to take a major step this week as last week was just brutal to watch. With KJ Britt out, it’s time for someone to step on the defensive side of the ball and become the leader of this group. The hope is Auburn will have Jaylin Simpson back this week and not have anyone get thrown out for targeting 5 minutes into the game.

I think Auburn wins this game but it’s going to one of those that will frustrate the fanbase. Auburn 27 Arkansas 13 (Auburn wins, Arkansas covers*; under)

Dr. Will (*-pick was made with previous line. This is a push on the new line)

After what we saw last week, it’s hard to imagine this Auburn team beating anyone. I’m now convinced You could take any auburn team from the past 15 years and have them play a Pop Warner team in an empty Sanford Stadium, and the Auburn team just wouldn’t win. That said, this Arkansas team is like one of those houses you see from war movies has been shelled, burned, and barely even has a foundation to speak of. We have some serious problems on our hands if we can’t beat this team, especially at home, where over the last 14 months, Auburn has been much better than when they are playing somewhere else. I look for Bo to bounce back from last week’s struggles and see us to an ultimately comfortable win. Auburn 38 - Arkansas 12 (Auburn wins and covers; over)

Chief

Are we sure we still have to do this? The Panthers have shown signs of life. Everton haven’t lost in what feels like months...because it has been. The Braves won a post-season series for the first time since I was in high school, and then they won another one for good measure! Do I still have to watch Gus and Chad try to get this offense out of first gear against Arkansas?

YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I DO! This game is “get-right” city. Arkansas is good against the run, and they don’t give up big plays. So guess what, it’s time to put up or shut up with Bo throwing the ball 5-15 yards downfield and over the middle. If you’re going to do it, Saturday is the day. Work those tight ends early. Get your timing down on RPOs. Feed the Tank!

I think things look a little out-of-sorts for the first half, and the defense bends a little more than we like. Then Auburn breaks out in the second half. Think a better version of the Kentucky game. 10-6 at the half, but the final is Auburn 34-9 (Auburn wins and covers; under)

James Jones