Saban-Petrino Matchup Highlights SEC Clash

Monday, September 15, 2008

This weekend's slate of games offers a number of intriguing story lines, not the least of which will be a matchup between two of the most notorious college coaches in the game today. No. 9 Alabama, led by Nick Saban, will travel to Arkansas to take on Bobby Petrino's Razorbacks.

The paths of the two coaches are eerily similar: abundant success at the college level followed by brief and ineffective stints at the helm of an NFL team, which both ended with ignominious returns to college programs.

However, the paths of their respective teams this season so far have been completely divergent. Alabama scored a huge victory in its first game over Clemson and is 3-0. Arkansas struggled to beat its first two opponents, Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe.

Also on tap: a game between two squads that appear to have been caught looking ahead on Saturday. No. 3 Georgia will travel to the desert to take on Arizona State, and neither team comes in with much momentum. Arizona State fell out of the polls after an overtime loss at home to Nevada-Las Vegas, while Georgia gutted out a 14-7 victory at South Carolina.

One under-the-radar game to watch out for will be Buffalo at No. 5 Missouri. Yes, Chase Daniel threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns to rout Nevada, and yes, the Tigers have one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, but don't be surprised if Turner Gill's Bulls give the home team more than it bargained for.

-- Steve Yanda

© 2008 The Washington Post Company