College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Alabama vs. Arkansas 12/12/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Alabama visits Arkansas on 12/12/2020 at 12:00PM.

Alabama and Arkansas face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. Alabama has a record of 9-0 this season. Arkansas is 3-6 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Alabama Team Defense Preview

Alabama has had 88 total defensive drives this season and they yield 5.24 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Passing plays make up 52.93% of their opponents’ play calls.Alabama tends to face teams that prefer to air it out or opponents want to air it out against them.

Alabama is not doing anything particularly special as far as their ability to create negative yardage plays on the ground. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Alabama can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 2.63 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. This is also a team that is allowing running backs and quarterbacks to get to the second-level in an average fashion. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

Disruptive plays are a part of the fabric of this team’s defensive effort. Game changing plays that drive Offensive Coordinators and Quarterbacks crazy, they find ways to deliver. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Alabama is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Alabama Team Offense Preview

Alabama has had 88 total drives this season and they generate 5.26 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Any defense is in for a challenge with Alabama, given their ability to accrue more than 5 yards on 1st Downs and their ability to convert on 3rd and 4th Downs. They put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses.Passing plays make up 51.62% of their play calls.Alabama tends to pass more than other teams.

Move the pile forward, falling forward, making progress, ensuring north-south running, smart Quarterback reads, well-adjusted alignments to ensure leverage, and an offensive line that is getting a great push forward are cornerstones of this offense. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 3.27 yards per carry. This is an elite offensive line when it comes to generating a push for the running game. They know how to create creases for running backs to break loose. Playing 7 in a box may not be enough for opposing defenses, this is a great O-Line. This is a team that is rather above-average when it comes to gashing defenses. The threat of the run should force opposing to play more honest and assignment defensive football is a must. They feature a relatively average explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play, but it is not something to count on from them.

Alabama has bullied and controlled defenses this season, defenses have not been able to dictate what this offense is able to do to them. Opponents should consider a containment strategy. Alabama is among the best in the country at keeping defensive front sevens at bay. Opposing defenses need their secondary players to step up and cause trouble in order for this Offense to be disrupted. Alabama is a better passing team than running team this season.

Arkansas Team Defense Preview

Arkansas has had 113 total defensive drives this season and they yield 6.03 plays per drive. The struggle is real. Arkansas cannot find a way to get opposing offenses off the field. Three and outs are not common and if the team needs a three-and-out late in a game to get the ball back, it is just not happening.Arkansas has shown an inability to stop defenses from converting on 4th Downs and they let opponents get into manageable 3rd Down situations where an RPO may be especially deadly. Arkansas opponents pass the football 50.07% of the time.Opponents typically have some form of run/pass balance against them.

Defenses want to stop offenses from getting into a 3rd Down where the options are plentiful. Unfortunately, this defense is too porous to limit those choices. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Arkansas can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 3.13 yards per carry. This defense lets offensive lines have too much control over them on the ground, too much push from the opposing offensive line. This is also a team that is allowing running backs and quarterbacks to get to the second-level in an average fashion. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

This is not a disruptive Defense and they get pushed over way too easily. Perhaps they are too vanilla with playcalling. This front seven is simply unable to make an impact, something must change or else the problems will repeat. Arkansas has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Arkansas Team Offense Preview

Arkansas has had 110 total drives this season and they generate 5.14 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Arkansas is not a team that runs many plays per drive. The offense is either prone to faltering and struggles to notch first downs or extremely explosive, we will need to find out a bit more to get answers. Arkansas has shown a capability to be explosive on first and second down to avoid third downs and has converted well (relatively) on 3rd and 4th Down situations. Arkansas passes the football 48.50% of the time.Relatively speaking, this is a team that favors run/pass balance.

On first downs, getting ahead of the chains is crucial and running the ball well on first down can get a team there, Arkansas has done a good job avoiding the negative yardage rushing plays. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 2.99 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average offensive line as far as their ability to set up the running game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Arkansas Offense. Front sevens are causing an average amount of trouble for the Offense. Arkansas is a better passing team than running team this season.

The Alabama Roster

The Players to Watch for Alabama

Mac Jones QB 6-2 214

This season, Mac Jones has put up 3113 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has thrown 3 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 210.8thus far this season. Mac Jones has thrown 3 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Mac Jones has -3.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 18.36 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 22.0 times this season, which puts him in the 57.41 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 1.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Najee Harris RB 6-2 230

This season, Najee Harris has 1038 rushing yards on 169 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 20 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Najee Harris picked up 247 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 26 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Devonta Smith WR 6-1 175

This season, Devonta Smith picked up 1305 yards. He caught the ball 80 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 15 receiving touchdowns this season.

Phidarian Mathis DL 6-4 312.0

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for Alabama, Phidarian Mathis has 27 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 4 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 82.04 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 66.28 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 1 fumbles this season.

Jordan Battle DB 6-1 210.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Alabama, Jordan Battle had 50 tackles which puts him in the 94.77 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 71.77 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Jordan Battle as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes this season, which puts him in the 83.84 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

The Arkansas Roster

The Players to Watch for Arkansas

Feleipe Franks QB 6-6 228

This season, Feleipe Franks has put up 2017 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has thrown 4 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 163.4thus far this season. Feleipe Franks has thrown 4 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Feleipe Franks has 229.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 87.65 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 92.0 times this season, which puts him in the 95.37 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 1.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Trelon Smith RB 5-9 185

This season, Trelon Smith has 641 rushing yards on 115 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 5 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Trelon Smith picked up 135 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 21 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Treylon Burks WR 6-3 232

This season, Treylon Burks picked up 804 yards. He caught the ball 49 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 7 receiving touchdowns this season.

Jonathan Marshall DL 6-3 317.0

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for Arkansas, Jonathan Marshall has 31 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 6 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 90.39 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 66.28 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Jalen Catalon DB 5-10 189.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Arkansas, Jalen Catalon had 89 tackles which puts him in the 100.0 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 2 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 86.1 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Jalen Catalon as a ball hawker was able to pick off 3 passes this season, which puts him in the 98.17 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

Alabama vs. Arkansas Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Alabama 45 Arkansas 19

Spread Pick: Arkansas +32.5 -110 SkyBook
Moneyline Pick: Alabama -2912 SportsInteraction
Total Pick: Under 68.5 -105 5Dimes