No. 6 Ohio State will face No. 8 Arkansas in this evening's All State Sugar Bowl, which will take place at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tonight's game, which will feature a stingy Buckeye defense trying to contain an explosive Razorback offense, is scheduled to kickoff 8:30pm ET on ESPN. 2011 Sugar Bowl Odds and the latest College Football Picks have Ohio State listed as a -3 against the spread favorite and the Over/Under set at 57.
Ohio State, which has posted a 105-22 record under Head Coach Jim Tressel, will make another BCS appearance this evening after finishing the season with an 11-1 record and sixth place ranking in the AP Top 25. BCS bowling has become old hat for the Buckeyes, which have played in one of the big five bowls, including the 2006 and 2007 BCS National Championship Games, seven times since 2002.
Ohio State has fared well enough in those outings, garnering wins over Miami (2002 Fiesta Bowl – National Champion), Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Oregon; however, it has not done well against the SEC. The Buckeyes three losses in that run came against Florida (14-41 – 2006 National Championship), LSU (24-38 – 2007 National Championship), and Texas (21-24 – 2008 Fiesta Bowl).
In fact, dating back to 1992, Ohio State is 0-7 against SEC teams in postseason action. Terrelle Pryor and company, which finished the season on a five game win streak, will try to reverse that trend this evening.
The Buckeyes offense, a unit that ranked 11th in the nation in points per game (39.4), has the tools to score on Arkansas' defense (22.8 points per game allowed), but Tressel will need a solid effort from his defense as well. The Buckeyes gave up just 13.3 points per game this season and only Miami and Wisconsin scored over 20 points against them.
Arkansas posted a 10-2 record in the regular season after closing things out on a 6-0 run. The Razorbacks, which finished second to No. 1 Auburn in the SEC West with a 6-2 conference record, outscored its final six opponents, a group that included South Carolina, Mississippi State, and LSU, by an average of 20.3 points per game.
Arkansas' offense averaged 37.3 points per game on the season as junior quarterback Ryan Mallett threw for 3592 yards and 30 touchdowns. Mallett's 170.53 passer rating ranked third in the country behind Cam Newton and Kellen Moore and his 66.5 completion percentage was 14th best among FBS signal callers.
The Razorbacks have won just two of their last six bowl games, but they are 1-0 in postseason play under Head Coach Bobby Petrino, who guided his team to a 20-17 win over East Carolina in last year's Liberty Bowl.
College Football Predictions Betting Trend: Ohio State is 10-0 straight up and 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 games as a favorite with a total of 54.5 or more.
Ohio State Buckeyes -3 (-110), Over 57 (-110)
Arkansas Razorbacks +3 (-110), Under 57 (-110)