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Arkansas at Alabama is the Capital One Bowl Game of the Week

This season, pick who you think will win the Capital One Bowl Game of the Week and WIN! Answer the question on the Capital One Bowl Facebook page before Saturday’s game. If you pick correctly, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to the Capital One Bowl on January 2, 2012!

Alabama lead series, 11-8 (last meeting: Sept. 15, 2010: Alabama 24, Arkansas 20)

The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide opens Southeastern Conference play in a West division matchup with the No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Both teams have compiled a 3-0 record against nonconference opponents and are riding a 13 game nonconference winning streak, the longest in the SEC. The Razorbacks will be seeking revenge from last season after the Tide rallied in the fourth quarter to steal a 24-20 win in Fayetteville.

The Hogs look to junior quarterback Tyler Wilson to guide the offensive unit after a successful start to the season. Although it appears early on that the offense doesn’t stretch the field as much this season, Wilson’s production is almost a match to his record-setting predecessor, Ryan Mallett. In three games, Wilson is 59-for-86 passing for 822 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He leads the conference in yards per attempt at 9.6 and passing efficiency at 68.6 percent. The Hogs lead the SEC and are ranked 8th nationally in passing offense at 346.7 yards per game. Despite offensive success, their defense will need to step up after surrendering 28 points to Troy last week.

Wilson will need protection from his offensive line as the Tide’s top ranked defense prepares to repeat last year, when they led the conference in total defense. Alabama currently leads the country in points allowed through three games. The team posted its first shutout since their national championship season in 2009 with a 41-0 victory against North Texas last week. The Crimson Tide held the Mean Green to 169 yards on 62 plays, which translates to less than three yards per play. The Tide have also locked in redshirt sophomore AJ McCarron as starting quarterback. Although McCarron posted outstanding stats in the first few games, the youngster will have to show he can handle adversity against tougher conference teams.

This contest displays arguably the best offensive mind in the conference in Bobby Petrino against one of the best defensive minds in Nick Saban. Arkansas’ offensive success relies on Petrino’s plan to get key players in position to make plays, while Saban’s NFL-type coverage is fearsome to any opponent.

Extra Point: The Crimson Tide have won 19 straight SEC openers since 1992. They are 22-1 in their last 23 games at home, dating back to the beginning of the 2008 season, when they lost to Louisiana-Monroe.

Expert Picks

Michel Champagne Michel Champagne currently serves as Chairman of Florida Citrus Sports, where his duties include leading Team Selection Committee. He is the Vice President of Operations and General Manager, Orlando Region for Bright House Networks.
Pick: Alabama
Season Record: 2-0
Greg Warmoth Greg Warmoth spent 11 years as the weekend sports anchor for WFTV Channel 9 in Orlando before switching to the news desk in 1997. He currently anchors Eyewitness News Daybreak, Eyewitness News This Morning on TV-27 and Eyewitness News at Noon.
Pick: Alabama
Season Record: 1-1
Marc Daniels Marc Daniels hosts The Beat Of Sports on ESPN 1080 AM in Orlando every weekday morning from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Daniels has over 20 years of experience on the air and is most well known as “the Voice of the UCF Knights” for all football, men’s basketball and baseball games on the UCF ISP Sports Network.
Pick: Alabama
Season Record: 2-0
Jerry Greene Jerry Greene spent 33 years as a sportswriter at Florida Today, the Pensacola News Journal and the Orlando Sentinel before retiring in 2009. He now co-hosts The Beat of Sports with Daniels and contributes to ESPN.com’s Page 2 section.
Pick: Alabma
Season Record: 1-1
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