|College Football: Arkansas at LSU Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 21 November 2007 04:44|
LSU's Les Miles doesn't want to talk about the coaching vacancy at Michigan - he has plenty of other things to worry about.
Miles and the top-ranked Tigers will be trying to keep their national title dreams alive on Friday when they host star running back Darren McFadden and Arkansas.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made LSU –11.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Friday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on LSU –11.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Miles is one of the top candidates to replace Lloyd Carr, who will retire as Michigan's coach after this season. However, Miles, who played for Bo Schembechler at Michigan, said that he didn't want to think about the possibility of returning to the Wolverines.
"Michigan has not called. It's unfair to Michigan to say that they should, and it is unfair to me and my time," Miles said Monday. "What I am doing is what you should be doing - let it rest.
"I am playing football for LSU. I am preparing for Arkansas. I am going to be ready for the next game and the game after that. I love this team. I would not do anything to hurt it."
Miles has LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) atop the AP and BCS polls, and the Tigers earned their first outright Western Division title with Saturday's 41-24 win over Mississippi. They set a school record by winning 10 games for a third straight season, and a victory in the SEC title game should earn them the chance to play for the national championship.
However, LSU struggled against the last-place Rebels, allowing them to gain 466 total yards - 91 more than the Tigers have allowed any opponent this season. LSU still ranks second in the nation with 257.6 yards allowed per game.
The offense sputtered, too, picking up just 396 yards - its fifth-worst output of the season. Matt Flynn threw for only 168 yards on 17-of-25 passing and no touchdowns after throwing for three TDs in each of the Tigers' previous three games.
"We've still got some work to do," safety Danny McCray said. "We still have some games to play. I think we still have time to improve."
The Tigers defense will now have to figure out how to slow down McFadden, who ranks fourth in the nation with 138.1 rushing yards per game. The Heisman Trophy candidate holds the school record with 4,279 rushing yards and is just 25 shy of Bo Jackson for third place on the SEC career list.
McFadden rushed 28 times for 88 yards in Saturday's 45-31 win over Mississippi State and also caught a touchdown pass and threw for a score. Quarterback Casey Dick also had a big day, throwing a career-high four touchdown passes to boost his season total to 17.
The Razorbacks (7-4, 3-4) were already bowl eligible, but the win padded their resume. Ten SEC teams have the six wins necessary to earn a bid, and the league doesn't have enough bowl ties to accommodate all of them.
"It was a great day," said Dick, who was named the conference offensive player of the week on Monday. "Guys caught the ball and ran the ball well."
Arkansas' other star running back, Felix Jones, has been bothered by a bruised thigh and had no carries and one reception for no gain last week. He has rushed for 1,032 yards and 11 TDs on 114 carries this season, but has just three yards rushing and no scores in the last two games.
Nutt said Monday that Jones would be ready to play against LSU.
"I thought Darren McFadden - once again we had to lean on him because Felix wasn't there," Nutt said. "And look at what he does. Everybody in the world knows he's going to get the ball, but he's such a warrior."
Nutt has been battling coaching rumors of his own. After the win, he vehemently denied reports that this year will be his last at Arkansas.
The university has strongly denied that any decision has been made on Nutt's future. However, many fans have been asking for Nutt's ouster after the team, ranked in the Top 25 at the start of the season, lost its first three SEC games.
"All you want to do is coach football," Nutt said Sunday. "One of my dreams has been to coach at the University of Arkansas and I've had the privilege to do it for 10 years. I'm very thankful for that. All I want to do is concentrate on LSU. That's all I want to do."
LSU leads the all-time series between these teams 33-17-2 and has won the last four meetings.
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