coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 11/24/2013 07:21 AM in NCAA Football

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. LSU Tigers: Preview and Pick

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. LSU Tigers: Preview and Pick

The college football season has plenty of great games to watch this weekend that are all around the Thanksgiving holiday. On Friday just one day after Turkey day you can get another heaping helping of good football when the Arkansas Razorbacks head to the Bayou to take on the LSU Tigers. Although Arkansas is not having a good season, this game is always good as both teams battle for the Golden Boot.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. LSU Tigers Odds

The college football odds for this game will be obviously favoring the LSU Tigers. Not only are they ranked and a much better team, but they are at home and they recently defeated the Texas A&M Aggies and Johnny Manziel. This line will most likely move in favor of the Tigers leading up to kickoff.

The Tigers will ride that momentum of a big win into this game. The win against the Aggies was a win for LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis. On Saturday, Chavis' defense full of raw players who have endured some severe growing pains held Manziel to 224 yards on 16-of-41 passing, intercepting him twice and holding him to 54 rushing yards. Chavis sent his defensive ends upfield and told them to stay in their lanes. So even when Manziel ran, he was funneled inside to waiting tacklers. Time and again, Chavis asked his cornerbacks -- including freshmen Rashard Robinson and Tre'Davious White -- to cover Texas A&M's receivers, including 6-foot-5, 225-pound Mike Evans, one-on-one. They did more than cover, they shut them down and won big.

The latest college football trends reveal some interesting wagering angles that favor the Tigers. Arkansas is 1-8 straight up in its last 9 games when playing on the road against LSU and 3-6 against the spread (ATS) in its last 9 games when playing on the road against LSU. The total has gone over in 5 of Arkansas's last 7 games when playing LSU and the total has gone over in 5 of Arkansas's last 6 games on the road. Arkansas has struggled this year has these trends show. Arkansas is 0-5 straight up in its last 5 games on the road, 0-4-1 straight in its last 5 games overall and 2-11 ATS in its last 13 games on the road. LSU is 17-6-1 straight up in its last 24 games overall and 21-3-1 straight up in its last 25 games at home.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. LSU Tigers Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/25/2013 01:42 PM

For LSU fans, it'll be a fun week of feasting on the national media's pre-holiday accolades, thanks to Saturday's thumping of previously top-10-ranked Texas A&M. Kicking Johnny Manziel's Heisman hopes to the curb was just a little whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.'s Andy Staples covered the game and wrote, "Since Manziel has occasionally likened himself to Superman during touchdown celebrations, (defensive coordinator John) Chavis must be a mustachioed Lex Luthor. He owns college football's biggest pile of Kryptonite; no defensive coordinator has had more success against Manziel."

Analyzing LSU's Aggie beatdown,'s Tony Barnhart praises the LSU defense and writes, "Every time this season when A&M was in trouble, Manziel was usually able to put his team in position to win. It didn't happen in Baton Rouge."

And Barnhart's colleague Jerry Hinnen writes, "It was, in short, the worst performance of Johnny Manziel's career. And it came at the worst possible time for his chances of repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/26/2013 01:06 PM

When unranked Arkansas enters Tiger Stadium on Friday, it will be fighting to salvage a season that has seen a Razorback squad go winless in Southeastern Conference play.

The Razorbacks (3-8, 0-7 SEC) are coming off a 24-17 home overtime loss against Mississippi State on Saturday. First-year SEC coach Bret Bielema will lead Arkansas into an LSU team fresh off a dominating 34-10 victory against No. 19 Texas A&M and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Though Arkansas has struggled in 2013, the Tigers (8-3, 4-3 SEC) aren’t taking their final regular season opponents lightly.

“You know the history with Arkansas,” said junior linebacker D.J. Welter. “They can be 2-8 or 8-2 and they’re still going to play us the same. It’s the end of the year for them, and we have to really show up. They’re a good team, and they have great athletes, so we have to be ready for them regardless of their record.”

Last season, LSU traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., escaping with the Golden Boot in a 20-13 win.

In the past eight years, the Arkansas-LSU victor has won by five points or less five times. Junior defensive tackle Ego Ferguson said he knows how close this rivalry can be.

“Every year it feels like a close game with them,” Ferguson said. “I feel like each year we’ve played them, it’s gone down to the wire. We just have to take this game and build off of last week and come with it this week.”

With only one regular season game remaining on the schedule, several junior Tigers will have a key decision to make in the near future.

Ferguson, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, all juniors, will soon decide whether or not they want to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Sophomore running back Jeremy Hill could also declare after the season.

Beckham said the decision will be made after he discusses it with his family.

“It’s crazy and a scary feeling at the same time,” Beckham said. “It’s almost like you’re about to go out into the real world. People think college is the real world, but you’re still protected here. It’s going to be a growing experience.”

The same cannot be said for the 2013 senior class, as Friday will be their last contest in Tiger Stadium.

Ferguson said the squad will be playing for the veterans this week.

“I know those guys don’t have a choice,” Ferguson said. “They can’t come back, and [the Arkansas game] is all about them. [I’ll decide] after the season, after we finish what we’ve got to do.”

LSU senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger needs 74 yards against Arkansas on Friday to become the third player in Tiger history to throw for 3,000 yards.

Only former Tigers Rohan Davey and JaMarcus Russell have eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark.

The Watkinsville, Ga., native said he would be lying if he’d be happy with a 73-yard performance against the Razorbacks, even in victory.

“It would definitely be a nice moment for myself, but at the end of the day, I want to win more importantly,” Mettenberger said.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/26/2013 01:06 PM

It’s become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition in Louisiana, but LSU fans will gladly wish it farewell.

LSU and Arkansas will play Friday this week — likely for the final time in the foreseeable future — ending a nearly two-decade run of Black Friday matchups.

Though the Battle for The Golden Boot received its first prime Friday afternoon slot this year on CBS since 1996, it’s never been a popular playing time with fans or players.

Neither LSU coach Les Miles nor the Tigers were dripping with sentiment about the finale of the Friday series.

“I like the traditional week,” Miles said. “It’s one of those things that a coach can get used to — the schedule.”

With so few Saturday night games already on recent home slates, the fanbase never embraced the set Friday slot.

Other than a top-5 matchup in 2011, the actual Tiger Stadium crowd has traditionally been far lighter for the Friday games.

The ire regarding the weekday kick mildly obscured what has been a meaningful and competitive series in the last dozen years.

LSU or Arkansas has represented the Southeastern Conference Western Division in six of the last 11 SEC Championship Games, with two of the meetings going to overtime and another four decided on the final possession.

“We know what Arkansas brings, and it’s not on the fans or anybody else to bring the fire to a rivalry game,” said junior receiver Jarvis Landry. “You saw how tough it was last year up there and we embrace a chance to play them whenever we can.”

At LSU, Miles is 5-3 against Arkansas and 6-3 in weekday games.

But the Razorbacks have recently used the short week to their advantage, playing above their pay grade in upset wins against LSU in 2007-08 and during close calls in 2005 and 2012.

Miles said the quick turnarounds are usually hard on his team’s health, which could be an issue after a physical 34-10 win against Texas A&M.

“Obviously there’s not a lot of time to get health back, and if you’ve lost health in that game ... it’s tough,” Miles said. “[It’s a] new challenge. Our guys look forward to it. It’s a let’s‑play‑quicker kind of thing.”

Though Miles pointed to the physical aspect of an abbreviated week, Landry identified the mental side as the toughest facet of playing six days later.

“You have to embrace the grind,” he said. “Everyone knows about the physical side, but it’s getting to the video and getting in the film study that’s compressed for time. Sometimes, you have to study on Thanksgiving.”

In 15 Friday matchups, LSU owns a 10-5 advantage against Arkansas.

The tradition goes the way of the old SEC next year, as Texas A&M becomes LSU’s final regular season game. The Tigers will travel to College Station for a Thanksgiving Thursday feast in 2014, and the Arkansas game shuffles up to an earlier Saturday.

That means, at least every other year, a weekday game will likely remain on LSU’s schedule. The Tigers take a bye week before next year’s A&M game, but that may not always be possible in future seasons.

Landry said he understands the fan’s disdain for the games, but emphasized that it keeps LSU in the spotlight.

“Watching teams play during the week, it shows a lot about the diversity of football and the different days people want to watch,” Landry said. “People want to see LSU play in primetime, so sometimes that means a Friday or a Thursday.”

But for now, no one’s crying about the final Friday finale, though the Tigers were quick to point out they’ll be sacrificing a little bit of Thanksgiving dinner for the sake of football.

“You’d rather be eating all that turkey, stuffing yourself with all that food,” said junior running back Terrence Magee. “I think we’ll pass up letting turkey settle to get a victory this week.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/27/2013 12:22 PM

When running back Terrence Magee and his LSU teammates met to review their dominant victory over Texas A&M, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron made a comment about their upcoming contest which got their attention.

''Coach Cam said, `When you come out and you play that well, the next week you have to back it up or people are going to say it's a fluke,''' Magee said Monday, as No. 15 LSU began preparations for Friday's regular-season finale against Arkansas.

''For us, it was no accident,'' Magee continued. ''We prepared hard, and, you know, you want to peak at the end of the season and I feel like we're just starting to peak.''

If that's the case, it's bad news for the Razorbacks (3-8, 0-7 SEC), who hope to close out their season by celebrating the end of a losing streak which has grown to eight games.

Arkansas' struggles, combined with LSU's absence from SEC title contention, have taken some of the luster off of the rivalry known as ''the battle for the Golden Boot.'' (The boot is an unwieldy trophy in the shape of the states of Louisiana and Arkansas).

But it remains a meaningful game to the teams themselves for a number of reasons.

Arkansas' Bret Bielema has never coached in the game, which has traditionally come at the end of the season, right after Thanksgiving - but which will be moved to an earlier date next year. Bielema also has never coached in Tiger Stadium. If he wanted to demonstrate progress in his first season, giving the Tigers a tough test in Death Valley would help.

The coach has done some research, learning that LSU and Arkansas first played more than a century ago, in 1901. He said he also gave his players ''a little bit of a history lesson.''

''I'm going to try to give them a little bit more on what it means, and hopefully have a bigger impact on the game,'' Bielema said, adding that he asked his players to embrace their last days together before the seniors leave for good.

Bielema said he told them to ''have fun with it, try to make the most of a very difficult situation and be something that you can remember for a lifetime.''

LSU (8-3, 4-3) still has an opportunity to put Les Miles in a special place in school history by making him the first coach to win double-digit games in four straight seasons, something the Tigers say would help preserve the program's elite status.

''It's one of those streaks that we've got going, one of those positive things,'' receiver Jarvis Landry said. ''Unfortunately, that doesn't take away the losses, but to get to double-digit wins speaks a lot about the players, coaches and the program.''

The Tigers' 34-10 victory over the then-No. 9 Aggies on Saturday, in which they made Heisman Trophy quarterback Johnny Manziel look ordinary, kept alive LSU's shot at 10 wins - if the Tigers beat Arkansas and win a bowl game.

LSU has been scouted by officials from the Cotton Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Gator Bowl and Outback Bowl, among others. LSU is also still technically alive - albeit as a longshot - for the Sugar Bowl, and officials from that bowl have requested credentials for Friday's game.

Miles was in no mood Monday to discuss bowl possibilities. He answered questions on the subject by saying his focus was purely on planning for Arkansas and making his seniors' final game in Death Valley one they'd remember fondly.

Beyond that, he said, ''I know this - that with victories open opportunities, and it's just that simple. We're going to pursue that victory as hard as we can.''

LSU has been listed as more than a three-touchdown favorite by odds makers, but Magee said the Tigers don't want to hear about how big of an underdog the Razorbacks are.

''It's their Super Bowl. This is their bowl game,'' Magee said. ''They're going to come in and give us everything they got.''

LSU has won two straight and three of four in the series.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/27/2013 12:32 PM

The Arkansas Razorbacks will try to pull off a shocking upset as they conclude their regular season against the 15th- ranked LSU Tigers in a SEC bout at Tiger Stadium.

Since winning their first three games of the season, the Razorbacks have suffered eight consecutive losses. Arkansas battled Mississippi State last Saturday into overtime, but fell to the Bulldogs, 24-17, to drop to 0-7 in conference action. In his first year as the program's head coach, Bret Bielema will experience his first losing record after seven straight trips to bowl games at Wisconsin. He kept his team's spirits high, hoping to send his seniors off on a successful note.

"Hey, obviously I'm disappointed in not being able to win the game on Saturday. We did a lot of positive things and did enough things that prevented us from winning," said Bielema. "We've got six days together. We've got six days that this room is going to be the exact same that it is right now. After that, the seniors will leave us and you never know what happens with any year. So let's embrace these next six days, have fun with it, try to make the most of a very difficult situation and do something that you can remember for a lifetime."

Unfortunately, Arkansas will be colliding with a red-hot Tigers squad that just dispatched Texas A&M, 34-10, last week to improve to 8-3 overall. LSU will be looking to improve to 7-0 at home on the season as it competes with the Razorbacks for "The Boot". Coach Les Miles has guided his team to a 4-3 SEC record.

LSU defeated Arkansas, 20-13, in Fayetteville on Black Friday in 2012 to improve to 36-20-2 versus the Razorbacks in history. Miles is not taking anything for granted heading into this week's matchup despite the recent woes of the visitors.

"The Arkansas team is a very good football team," said Miles. "They are a team that has talent and they are a team that can run the football and they are a defense that flies to the ball, as well. Coach Bielema has done a great job at getting them to play. They play hard every week."

The Razorbacks have had growing pains this season as 90.8 percent of their total offense has come courtesy of underclassmen. They have produced only 20.1 points per game to rank second to last in the SEC. Arkansas was held to just 339 total yards by MSU last week. Nine different players contributed positively to the 225 rushing yards with sophomore tailback Jonathan Williams leading the pack with 59 yards on eight carries. Freshman halfback Alex Collins is pacing the Razorbacks on the season with 998 yards on 179 carries.

Sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen completed 10-of-17 pass attempts for only 114 yards and was intercepted once by the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3 signal caller has completed only 47.6 percent of his throws this season to average 137.4 yards with 11 TDs against nine interceptions. Javontee Herndon is the Razorbacks leading receiver with only 38.2 ypg.

Arkansas has not been much better on the defensive side of the ball as it is 12th in the conference in points allowed per game (30.7) and 11th in total yards allowed (408.3). The Razorbacks surrendered 488 total yards to MSU last week, but they held the Bulldogs to just one touchdown and one field goal on five red zone trips. Alan Turner made a game-high 16 tackles in the loss, while Trey Flowers registered 2.5 TFL to bring his season-total to 12.5, which is the second most in the SEC.

Arkansas will have its hands full as it tries to slow down LSU's star running back tandem of Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee, who racked up 149 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries versus Texas A&M last week to spearhead the charge.

"Basically what you ask Terrence Magee, is, hey, Terrence, I need you to do this," said Miles. "He says, "Yes, Coach, "and he just does it and does it with everything that he has and every ability and talent. I think he adds to this team greatly."

While Magee led the team last week, he is still the Tigers' second option on the ground with season totals of 556 yards and six TDs on 72 attempts. Hill has rushed 155 times for 1,040 yards and 13 scores. LSU is not one-dimensional by any means.

For the first time in school history LSU has a 2,500-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger needs just 74 passing yards to become the third player in school history with 3,000 yards in a season. The veteran has completed 65 percent of his attempts, with 22 TDs and only seven picks.

Jarvis Landry (67 catches, 1,059 yards, 10 TDs) and Odell Beckham Jr. (56 catches, 1,101 yards, eight TDs) form one of the most dynamic wideout duos in the nation. No other team in the FBS has more than one 1,000-yard receiver entering the final week of the season.

Defensively, LSU is allowing only 22.3 points and 348.7 yards per game. The Tigers held the Aggies to only 299 total yards and 10 points last week, both of which set single-game lows for TAMU under second-year coach Kevin Sumlin. Senior linebacker Lamin Barrow has recorded a team-high 80 tackles and will be one of the key players on the defensive side of the ball for his final game at Tiger Stadium.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/28/2013 11:52 AM

Bret Bielema has done his best to stay positive throughout a difficult first season at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks' coach continued that approach after a school-record eighth-straight loss.

Standing in front of a team burdened by two seasons of ill fortune since the firing of the scandal-ridden Bobby Petrino, Bielema's message was a simple.

"We got six days together," Bielema told the Razorbacks on Sunday night. "We got six days that this room is going to be the exact same that it is right now. ... So let's embrace these six days, have fun with it, try to make the most of a very difficult situation and be something that you can remember for a lifetime."

Arkansas (3-8, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) will have a final chance at a conference win when it travels to No. 15 LSU on Friday.

The game will bring an end to Bielema's first season. A loss to the Tigers (8-3, 4-3) would give Arkansas nine losses in a season for the first time in school history. Combined with last season's 4-8 record, the Razorbacks are 7-16 since Petrino's firing in the spring of 2012.

The losing has been difficult to accept for a fan base that had grown used to success, such as when Arkansas was a combined 21-5 during the 2010-11 seasons. Only 45,198 attended last weekend's overtime loss to Mississippi State in Little Rock — the third-lowest crowd for an SEC game in War Memorial Stadium.

Bielema has struggled as well in the first year of his six-year, $3.2-million annual contract after leaving Wisconsin last December.

The former Badgers coach had never lost more than four games in a row in his seven years as a head coach before this season and had he ever missed out on a bowl game.

Bielema bristled in the spring when approached by Arkansas fans who offered their sympathy for what he had gotten himself into at the school, which was picked to finish last in the SEC West in the preseason.

Now, he's just hopeful to end the season on a high note in Baton Rouge.

"If we spend one more day being negative or thinking about what's been happening in the past, we're not going to capitalize on this opportunity," Bielema said. "With a shortened week, it allowed us to maybe kind of turn the page a little bit quicker."

As has been the case in five of its eight losses this season, Arkansas led early last week against Mississippi State.

However, the Razorbacks allowed a 25-yard score by Bulldogs' quarterback Damian Williams on the opening play of overtime and were unable to match the touchdown when it got the ball.

The defensive futility was nothing new for Arkansas, which is 12th in the SEC in scoring defense this season — allowing 30.7 points per game.

Neither was an anemic passing offense that gained just 114 yards. The Razorbacks are last in the SEC with an average of 145.8 yards passing per game, and sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen — who is completing 47.6 percent (109 of 229) of his passes this season — arrived home after the game to find his SUV had been egged.

"At that position, you've got to have tough skin," Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "You've got to keep working your way through everything and try to find a way to win a football game, and Brandon's doing that.

"I don't think anything's going to deter him from his goal of becoming a very good college football player, and I believe he's continuing down that path."

Bielema had hoped to secure a win against Mississippi State to end talk of the losing streak, and to provide a dose of momentum entering the offseason.

Now the Razorbacks are left with a much more daunting task — a trip to Tiger Stadium — to end their losing ways.

Still, they aren't ready to call it a season just yet.

"I believe that any winning is beneficial to you, and if you happen to win the final ballgame against a formidable foe, it's even more important to a program," Chaney said. "I want to go down there and play our hind ends off and see what happens."