Alabama football: Tide opens SEC play

AP: No. 3 Alabama tight end Colin Peek doesn’t think anyone should pay attention to that rout of Arkansas last season.

That was pre-Ryan Mallett, after all, and coach Bobby Petrino’s offense hadn’t yet clicked into gear. Plus, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban insists the Razorbacks’ defense is much improved.

On the final point, it’s best to overlook last week’s 52-41 loss to Georgia heading into Saturday’s Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup.

“A lot of people may remember last year’s game, but this is a completely different team,” said Peek, referring to the Tide’s 49-14 win. “This is not Arkansas from last year.

“This is Bobby Petrino finally being able to get his offense and his system installed. They’re going to be geared up for this one.”

If it’s unlikely the Razorbacks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) will give up 50 points two straight weeks, it seems even more far-fetched to imagine Alabama (3-0) allowing 40-plus.

This, says Tide cornerback Javier Arenas, is “a classic matchup.” Arkansas has the nation’s No. 2 offense and passing offense led by Mallett, the nation’s most efficient passer so far. The Razorbacks are averaging a whopping 538 yards a game, including 428 through the air.

Alabama has the third-ranked defense, giving up just 185 yards a game, and is second-best against the run.

It’s as intriguing as a potential collision between Alabama’s massive noseguard Terrence Cody (6-foot-5, 354 pounds) and the 6-7, 238-pound Mallett. The Tide has already racked up 10 sacks.
(read the entire AP report embedded in this post.)