The University of Arkansas has a big task ahead of it this Saturday: to take down its visitor, the No. 1 ranked defending champion the University of Alabama.
But it's not only that. The Razorbacks must take down the Crimson Tide on the back of their shock defeat to unranked University of Louisiana-Monroe. With the loss, the Razorbacks dropped out of the rankings from No. 8. It was the second largest drop out of the rankings in history.
Suddenly that big task is more along the lines of a gargantuan impossibility.
The history between the teams doesn’t indicate anything contrary to an Alabama victory. If anything, most signs pointed directly at that outcome.
If you’re technical, Alabama leads the series 11-8. Otherwise, the series looks one-sided at 14-7.
In 1993, Alabama’s Antonio Langham signed with an agent, so the Tide had to forfeit victories. Alabama actually thumped Arkansas 43-3 that season. Having an agent is in no way an advantage on the field, so that should be a win for the Tide.
Even more technical are Alabama’s vacated wins in the 2005 and 2007 seasons, penalty for the Tide's involvement in obtaining free textbooks for their student athletes.
As a result, the 24-13 and the 41-38 victories in 2005 and 2007, respectively, were vacated. According to NCAA rules, however, Alabama takes a loss but Arkansas doesn’t get credit for the wins. So the real series is 14-7 in favor of the Crimson Tide.
The Razorbacks' last victory over the Tide came in a double-OT thriller, which ended 24-23 and took place in Arkansas in September. The game before that loss, Alabama had beaten an unranked University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Likewise, Arkansas beat Alabama in 2004. This time it was the Razorbacks who were coming off a victory over none other than ULM.
So Arkansas football fans, in the context of Arkansas vs. Alabama, maybe ULM is your good luck charm. Whenever either side has played the Warhawks the game before the Arkansas-Alabama matchup, Arkansas has won.
That’s right. So pay no attention to the 50-odd years of history, the forfeits, the vacated wins or to the fact that in the 14-7 series, Alabama has outscored the Razorbacks 557 to 349.
Instead, focus on the positives: having just played the University of Louisiana-Monroe, this game is as good as a lock.