Look At Arkansas Vs. Tide Statistically

Is it too early to look at statistics? Truth be known, there's almost never a time when statistics give a true picture of what to expect in a college football game. Unequal schedules, injury issues, and dozens of other factors can skew the equations. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean statistics can't provide some information.

Final Stats:

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has quoted statistics frequently, as do most coaches. All of them look at statistics.

In looking at this week's Bama vs.. Arkansas game, the first thing that stands out is that Arkansas has played only two games. The Razorbacks were scheduled to play Texas last week in Austin, but that game was postponed due to Hurricane Ike. So the Hogs have played and won two games—28-24 over Western Illinois and 28-27 over Louisiana-Monroe.

Alabama is 3-0 and ranked ninth in the nation. A case can be made that the Crimson Tide has played the strongest non-conference opponent of any Southeastern Conference team. Bama defeated Clemson, ranked ninth at the time and now ranked 23rd in the nation, by a 34-10 margin in the season-opener. The Tide's other wins have been 20-6 over Tulane and 41-7 over Western Kentucky.

This is the SEC opener for both Arkansas and Alabama. The teams kick off at 11:30 a.m. CDT Saturday from Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Raycom will have the telecast regionally.

At the end of each game, the statistics that matter are "points scored" and "points allowed." Alabama is averaging 31.7 points per game, Arkansas 28. Bama is allowing 7.7 points per game, Arkansas 25.5 (which is worst in the league).

Coaches put a lot of stock in third down conversions, and Alabama and Arkansas rank one-two in the SEC. Bama has converted 23-42 for 54.8 per cent. Arkansas has been successful 54.2 per cent of the time, 13-24. But on defense, the Tide has a clear advantage. Bama opponents have made 11 of 41 opportunities, only 26.8 per cent. The Razorbacks have been worst in the SEC with opponents making 13 of 32 for 40.6 per cent.

Turnover margin is another key statistic in the eyes of coaches. Alabama hasn't done as well as Saban would have liked, but the Tide is on the plus side. Bama has recovered two opponents' fumbles and made two pass interceptions, given up two fumbles and one interception for plus one. This is another area where Arkansas ranks last in the league. The Razorbacks don't have a takeaway while Arkansas opponents have two fumble recoveries and a pass interception.

Saban was looking for improved Red Zone performance this year, and Alabama has been better, but still not great. When reaching inside the opponent 20-yard line, Bama has scored 14 of 17 times (nine touchdowns and five of six field goals), which is 82.4 per cent success. Arkansas is a little better on a percentage basis (85.7 per cent), but with fewer opportunities (six touchdowns, one missed field goal).

Alabama hasn't given opponents many Red Zone opportunities. Tide foes have scored on three of their four trips inside the 20, all field goal chances, for 75 per cent success. Arkansas opponents have scored on six of seven opportunities, five touchdowns and 1-2 on field goals.

Arkansas has been impressive passing the football. The Razorbacks lead the SEC with 320.5 yards per game. Bama is down in ninth place at 176.3 yards per game. In pass defense, Alabama has been a bit vulnerable, allowing a 57.3 completion percentage (63-110) for an average of 178.7 yards per game. Arkansas holds opponents to 50 per cent passing (33-66) and 187.5 yards per game.

McFarland and Jones are gone, and Arkansas isn't the rushing beast of the past couple of years. The Razorbacks have only 57 carries for 259 yards, a nice 4.5 yards per carry average, but only 129.5 yards per game. The Razorbacks will be going up against the nation's number one rushing defense team as Alabama has allowed 68 carries for 128 yards, only 1.9 yards per carry and 42.7 per game.

Alabama is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 206.3 yards per game (125 carries for 619 yards). Arkansas is 11th in the SEC in rushing defense, giving up 114 yards per game and 3.2 yards per attempt (72-228).

In total offense, Arkansas averages 450 yards per game, Alabama only 382.7. Bama has allowed 221.3 yards per game and the Hogs have given up 301.5.

One interesting statistic doesn't always have a correlation to winning. Time of possession is a meaningless statistic if a team has quick-scoring ability. Still, there's something to be said for keeping the ball since the opponent has a more difficult time scoring when its offense is on the sideline. Alabama leads the SEC in time of possession at 33:59 per game. Arkansas is down the list averaging 27:59.

BamaMag Top Stories