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Defending SEC Champs Auburn Look To Make Statement In Opener Versus Arkansas

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/25/2014 9:51:02 PM

The probability of Auburn recapturing the type of magic they showed on their incredible run to the BCS Championship game a year ago is very low. That said, this Tigers’ team still has the potential to be very good. The schedule makers didn’t do the defending SEC champions any favors with one of the toughest slates in the country beginning with a date against Arkansas in their season opener this Saturday. Head coach Guz Malzahn didn’t seem to get caught up in the hype over the offseason and he certainly won’t underestimate what the Razorbacks will bring to the table this weekend.

Arkansas Razorbacks @ #6 Auburn Tigers

Saturday August 30, 2014 – 4:00 PM ET

Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama

College Football Betting Line: Auburn -21

Auburn is listed as a 21-point favorite and it’s the details that make that a reasonable spread. Senior quarterback Nick Marshall is back with an impressive cast of playmakers and an excellent offensive line but the defense needs to be better after it was exposed far too often last season and an emphasis will be placed on the front-seven against a massive Razorbacks’ front in this game.

College Football Betting Preview: Arkansas

6’6’’ and close to 320 pounds is the average size along the offensive line for Arkansas and head coach Bret Bielema will try to pound the rock every opportunity he gets. Junior running back Jonathan Williams is the team’s most complete back but Alex Collins was the 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year and Korliss Marshall rounds out an impressive running back core. Junior quarterback Brandon Allen is healthy again and he should benefit from the talent around him including sophomore tight end Hunter Henry, who earned second-team All-SEC honors last season. The real issues are on the defensive side of the ball where the Razorbacks return just four starters. Senior defensive end Trey Flowers earned second-team All-SEC honors a year ago but the talent around him is thin.

College Football Betting Preview: Auburn

The Tigers will look to exploit the holes in the Arkansas defense with a potentially explosive offense led by Marshall, who has the potential to be the SEC’s best quarterback in 2014. Marshall is a dual-threat passer that gained valuable experience during last year’s run to the national title game and he welcomes back two of his top playmaking receivers in juniors Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis. A year of experience in coordinator Ellis Johnson’s scheme will help on the defensive side of the ball. Johnson is set to debut his “Rhino” package that includes a beefed up defensive line capable of handling the Razorbacks’ size in the trenches while the secondary is much more prepared led by senior cornerback Jonathon Mincy and safety Jermaine Whitehead.

College Football Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The Tigers face an uphill climb with a much tougher schedule this season and there are a lot of question marks about just how much magic Marshall and this team has left. However, Auburn is fresh, motivated, and has had plenty of time to prepare for its season opener and the offense should be able to score more than enough points to make sure they cover the 21-point spread against an Arkansas team that is headed in the right direction but still has too many holes on the defensive side of the ball.

College Football Betting Pick: Auburn Tigers - 21

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