Predicting the Season Game 11: The UTEP Miners at the Arkansas Razorbacks

It's not often the Miners play a non-conference game in November, especially at an SEC stadium.  Heading to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks is never an easy task.  This season might be more difficult than others as the Hogs have become a very trendy pick to take the SEC East.  Why the hype?  Well, it all starts with quarterback Ryan Mallett.  A transfer from Michigan, Mallett has all the tools, measurable, and upside to make Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay get amped up in April.  He's 6'5", 240 lbs, and has a cannon for an arm.  Mallett's favorite receiver, Greg Childs, also returns.

The Hogs should also be better in year two of Bobby Petrino's tenure as head coach.  In his first season, Arkansas finished  8-5 and defeated Conference USA Champion East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl (20-17).  Arkansas blew out Texas A&M and Auburn and lost to Florida and LSU by only three points a piece.  

The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced that Arkansas, not Houston, will be the best team on UTEP's 2010 football schedule.  Why?  Well, simply put, the Hogs play defense. Arkansas finished 2010 with the 44th best scoring defense in the nation.  UTEP, under Mike Price, has given some BCS conference goes some tough outs here and there (see Texas Tech and Colorado) but hasn't beaten one.  

So, who ya got?

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