The journey to the 2011/2012 National Championship promises to be a long and treacherous road.
It starts in Arlington and Atlanta in week one of the college football season and then moves on to Tallahassee in week three. Week four will be our most defining look so far at shaping the National Championship Game. We have not one or two but three games that will go a long way to deciding who will play in January for the crown.
Looking at Week Three we can't talk about the other two games without first talking about the SEC West. Arkansas travels to Alabama on September 24th in what looks like it could be a match-up of the best two teams in the SEC (sorry LSU fans).
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS AT ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
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When: September 24th
Where: Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
As much as I hate Bobby Petrino as a yellow-bellied gutless coward you have to respect what he's able to do on the college football field. As big of a fraud as he was in the NFL, he is the exact opposite when drawing up plays to skin the opposition on the college gridiron. When we put together our Pre-Spring Top 10 we tabbed the Crimson Tide as the #2 team in America. We are currently putting together our Pre-Season Top 25 and I can tell you that it looks like Arkansas is going to be a Top 10 team in that poll. So what we will have on the fourth week of the season is an SEC West showdown of two Top 10 teams. Alabama will come in tested after going to Happy Valley on September 10th and Arkansas will come in rested after playing three smaller out of conference foes (although Troy has been known to put up some points and could be a pesky challenger).
The most intriguing storyline of this game is going to be Alabama's top notch defense matching up with the explosive Razorback offense. Bama is absolutely stacked on the defensive side of the football. In our Pre-Spring All-SEC Team they landed 5 first teamers (including unanimous selections Don'ta Hightower and Mark Barron) and two second teamers. That's 7 players off their defense on an All-SEC team. Pretty scary when you couple that with Nick Saban's knowledge of defensive football. On the offensive side of the football Bobby Petrino will be breaking in Tyler Wilson as his new QB. The good news for Petrino and Wilson is that they might have the best toolbox of offensive players in the Nation.
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If last year is any indication then we are in for a treat when these two teams meet. Arkansas held a 20-7 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter when Nick Saban applied the smelling salts and Bama woke up. The Tide then scored 17 straight points, capped off by a Mark Ingram TD run with three minutes left in the game, to win the game 24-20. Ryan Mallett threw two late interceptions that helped Alabama with their comeback. You know Petrino and Tyler Wilson are studying film to make sure that doesn't happen again. The winner of this game takes the front-runner seat in the SEC and looks forward to a date with the LSU Tigers later in the year.
15 Games That Will Decide The National Champion:
Arkansas at Alabama- Sept 24