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Arkansas Vs. Vanderbilt Preview: Offense Makes the Difference

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Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Vanderbilt Commodores, 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC Network

If Vanderbilt just had a little bit more offense. That's the thought I keep going back to when I wonder whether Vanderbilt could actually pull off the upset. Arkansas has been through a grueling stretch that includes close games against Texas A&M and Houston Nutt's Ole Miss, as well as the wipeout against Alabama and the revenge showdown with Auburn for last year's shootout. And next week brings South Carolina to Fayetteville for the latest in that interdivisional rivalry.

So it has all the makings of a trap game for the would-be SEC West contenders. If only the Commodores could score enough points to even scare Arkansas.

Because this defense is not by any means bad -- about middling in the SEC -- but it's also not the kind of shutdown unit that's going to hold the Hogs to fewer than 21 or probably even 28 points. With Arkansas' -- how do we put this kindly? -- suspect defense, that might be enough for a competent offense to spring the upset.

Alas, Vanderbilt is not a competent offense. There's no doubt that James Franklin has things moving in the right direction -- but "moving in the right direction" in this case means having the Commodores at tenth in the conference in total offense, instead of dead last. Barring some sort of outside emotional factor -- see: Houston Nutt playing Arkansas -- a team is going to need a little bit more than that to take down the Hogs.

Vanderbilt will get some yardage here and there, but it's not going to be enough to make a difference in the outcome of the game. And, with the offense being unable to give its defense much of a rest, here's betting that the defense also folds in the end.

Arkansas 35, Vanderbilt 14