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Alabama Vs. Arkansas Preview: The Python Strategy

He plays to win the game. And not do much else.
He plays to win the game. And not do much else.

Alabama Crimson Tide Vs. Arkansas Razorbacks, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Whenever I think of a game like this for Alabama, I think back to the time they played South Carolina in 2009. The Gamecocks came in as a Top 25 team with a 5-1 record. It was an ugly game for South Carolina, with Mark Ingram launching his Heisman career and the Gamecocks unable to score for almost 27 minutes to start the game. And for all that, Alabama won 20-6.

I call it the Python Strategy -- Nick Saban's ability to take a lead, like a constrictor snake wrapping itself around it's next meal, and then slowly squeezing the hope out of a football game. Somewhere in the middle of Ingram's single-handed touchdown drive to ice the game in the fourth quarter, it dawned on you that it didn't matter how close the game technically was; South Carolina didn't have a chance.

That's why I'm not sure this game is going to be quite the blowout everyone seems to assume it will be. Nick Saban has more significant games to worry about later in the season. Tennessee and LSU are the marquee teams on the list, but almost any game in the SEC right now would likely worry Tide fans more than Arkansas, particularly if Tyler Wilson isn't able to take the field today.

Instead, expect Saban to do what he generally does in these sorts of game: Work up a big lead early and then coast to a win. He doesn't have to completely destroy Arkansas to prove that he could completely destroy Arkansas, and he doesn't really gain anything by blasting a team everyone already thinks is in a tailspin. It will still be ugly, but Nick Saban can prove his point without a 40-point blowout.

Alabama 35, Arkansas 6