Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds: TCU -3 | Over/under 58.5 (via Oddsshark.com)
This is the 70th all-time meeting between the two schools who used to face off as members of the old Southwest Conference. However, last year’s matchup was the first between the two teams since 1991. Now, the two foes are back at it again, with Arkansas looking to preserve its dominant 44-23-2 all-time lead against the Horned Frogs.
With both Arkansas and TCU coming off opening games against FCS teams that both resulted in complete demolitions of their opponents, this weekend’s clash is certainly the first true test of the season for both squads.
Since Bret Bielema’s coaching seat seems to be eternally on fire—with a bad or mediocre season possibly resulting in his removal as head coach—he desperately needs this ranked win, especially since the remainder of their schedule does his Razorbacks no favors.
Fortunately for Arkansas, it was revealed last week that some of their new guys like Chase Hayden could be solid contributors almost instantaneously, as he ran for 120 yards in his first game for the Hogs.
Beyond their running game, the Razorbacks will look to Austin Allen, their senior quarterback, to try and lead them to a 2-0 record from the get-go. He’s fresh off of a quality junior year in which he threw 25 touchdown passes (and 15 picks), and there’s no doubt that he wants to make sure his final season in Fayetteville is memorable for the right reasons.
However, if Arkansas is to take home this victory, they’re likely going to need a few lucky breaks, especially once you consider the makeup of TCU’s defense. Here’s what SB Nation’s Bill Connelly had to say about that unit in his season preview of the Horned Frogs:
Every primary linebacker returns, including leading tackler Travin Howard, and all but one safety is back. Granted, the one loss is a big one — strong safety Denzel Johnson had 11 tackles for loss and six breakups last year — but the experience is impressive.
Ranthony Texada remains one of the better corners in the Big 12, and if Lewis, James, or Gladney is ready and able to play a solid No. 2, then the pass numbers should stabilize.
I’m personally quite high on Austin Allen and Arkansas this season, and I believe that they will be able to get it done this week in a game that will be much lower-scoring than oddsmakers predict. Neither team has been tested thus far, and I think the home field advantage will play a big role for the Hogs in a big early-season win.
PREDICTION: TCU 17, Arkansas 21