In a top-25 conference matchup, No. 21 Auburn hosts No. 17 Arkansas on Saturday. Both teams had slow starts to the season, but their only losses came at the expense of quality, now-top 10 opponents. Auburn lost to both Clemson and Texas A&M in its first three games. Similarly, Arkansas has lost to Texas A&M and Alabama.
The Hogs are coming off a third-straight year of beating a talented Ole Miss squad, so their confidence is climbing. Auburn, on the other hand, is coming off a bye week rested. Even with two losses already, these two teams have established themselves as competitors among the elite of the SEC West. Yes, neither of them have beaten A&M or Alabama, but they aren’t far behind. Also, Auburn still has a shot at Alabama towards the end of the year in the always entertaining Iron Bowl.
In Saturday’s game, Auburn is surprisingly a 9.5 point favorite. The Razorbacks currently have both the passing and rushing yards leaders in the SEC in Austin Allen and Rawleigh Williams III. While the quarterback has led the way for Arkansas, Allen is tied for the second-most interceptions in the conference with seven.
Auburn doesn’t have their traditional flashy quarterback, but Sean White only has two interceptions to his name this season. White is tied for the fewest interceptions thrown by an SEC starting quarterback in 2016.
He may not do everything that Nick Marshall and Cam Newton once did, but he sure isn’t turning the ball over as much. White is giving his team a chance to be efficient in the passing game, and that’s why he is starting. The Tigers are also the only team to have two running backs in the top 10 in rushing yards, with Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway ranked No. 8 and No. 9 in the SEC.
It might be near impossible for this game to be as exciting as last year’s, but make no mistake it will be entertaining and the winner will solidify its spot as the third-best team in the SEC West. Arkansas will play their best football of the year, and Auburn won’t be able to hang on. The Hogs will win this one 34-24.
No. 17 Arkansas and No. 21 Auburn face off on ESPN at 6 p.m. ET this Saturday, Oct. 22.
Edited by Dalton King
Featured image by Auburn Alumni Association, courtesy of creativecommons.org