No. 5 Arkansas (10-1 overall, 7-0 in SEC) vs. No. 9 LSU (9-2 overall, 5-2 in SEC)
Site: War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Radio/TV: The ARSN network will broadcast the game on radio affiliates. The game will be carried on national TV by CBS (locally on KTHV, Channel 11).
What James says: I’m asked to pick the winner of football games based on what you see, what the facts are. In this game, I don’t have a great feeling about Arkansas winning the football game. The reason is they have captured the Western Division, and a lot of times that is intoxicating. LSU, even with only losing two games, has had a bad season based on the expectations. Their coaches basically are trying to persuade their kids to show the fans on national TV that “you should be the West champions and that you’re going into Little Rock and win the ball game.” That would improve their bowl situation. Pound-for-pound, player-for-player, LSU should be better, but in my opinion they have not put together a great game against a quality opponent. I have a gut feeling this will be the game. I hope I’m wrong as I was against Auburn.
What to look for: Don’t be surprised to see Arkansas run the option out of the “wildcat” formation. Expect to see trick plays out of LSU and Arkansas. The surprising thing about LSU is how poor a kick receiving team and punt coverage team they have been. Those two areas could play a big factor. Quarterback Jamarcus Russell has not had a big-time game against a quality foe on the road. Even at Tennessee, he almost lost the game before he won it at the end. He has not played up to the expectations against a quality team. Can Arkansas force him into errors? If they can, Arkansas is going to win. If he can pick us apart or loosen us up to where their running game works, it could be a long day.
The pick: 24-21, LSU. Don’t be surprised if it goes to overtime.
Watch former Arkansas All-American defensive end Bruce James along with David Bazzel and host Steve Sullivan on KATV, Channel 7’s “SportsWeek” Sundays at 10:30 p.m.