Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Saban has had Arkansas' number
Alabama coach Nick Saban watches his team practice prior to a Sept. 15, 2012 game at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. The Crimson Tide beat Arkansas 52-0.
FAYETTEVILLE Perhaps more than against any other team during his run in the Southeastern Conference, Nick Saban has had Arkansas' number.
That number isn't pretty for Razorbacks fans, who have watched their teams beat Saban just twice in 11 tries since he was hired at LSU in 2000. Few of the games have been close, with Saban's teams outscoring Arkansas by an average of 18 points.
The Razorbacks last beat Saban in 2002 - a 21-20 win over LSU in Little Rock in which Arkansas scored with 9 seconds remaining.
Since that time, Saban's teams have outscored Arkansas by 31, 29, 3, 35, 28, 4, 24 and 52 points - an average margin of 25.8 points per game. Only Steve Spurrier (27.9 points) has a greater average margin of victory in his career against the Razorbacks.
Saban's teams have made some of Arkansas' best look bad. The Razorbacks won nine games in 2003, but lost 55-24 at LSU as the Tigers went on to win a national championship. Arkansas lost only twice in 2011, the first of which was 38-14 to Saban's Crimson Tide, who also went on to win a national title.
Last year, Saban handed Arkansas its worst loss ever at Razorback Stadium and in the SEC - 52-0. The Razorbacks have only lost by single-digits twice to Saban's Alabama teams in 2007 and 2010.
Numbers from past years obviously mean little heading into Saturday's game, though based on recent outcomes, this year's game could mimic several recent ones.
With supreme talent both on the field and the sideline, Saban's teams tend to expose weaknesses. As South Carolina pointed out with a 52-7 last week, there are several of those this season for Arkansas, which enters the game a loser of four straight overall and seven straight in SEC play.
Despite giving up 42 points to Texas A&M last month, the Crimson Tide are allowing only 11.5 points per game this season and rank in the top 10 nationally of five defensive categories. In its last four games against Colorado State, Ole Miss, Georgia State and Kentucky, Alabama has allowed only one touchdown.
The Razorbacks' offense has struggled as the defenses have improved over the last month. Arkansas has scored only one touchdown in each of its last two games against Florida and South Carolina, and has been held to less than 300 yards of total offense in three of its last four games.
Arkansas is also minus-4 in turnover margin during its losing streak and Rutgers, Texas A&M and Florida all scored non-offensive touchdowns against the Razorbacks. Alabama has scored five non-offensive touchdowns this season and recorded a safety.
Just about everything will have to go right for Arkansas to have a chance Saturday against a coach who has a history of making things go wrong.