Arkansas has only four guaranteed games remaining on its schedule, and the Razorbacks need to win two of them to become bowl eligible.
There’s a wild, wacky scenario that could have the Hogs in Atlanta if they win out while other teams fall like dominos in the proper order. But Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said his squad will not look past any opponent, especially Ole Miss, which controls its own destiny in the SEC if it runs the table.
Many folks in the nation have their sights set on the LSU-Alabama primetime game Saturday night. Before that happens, the Razorbacks and Rebels will get their national TV audience on CBS.
Here’s what else you need to know about Saturday’s game:
Arkansas Razorbacks (4-4, 2-2 in SEC) at No. 18 Ole Miss Rebels (7-2, 4-1 in SEC)
Kickoff: Sat., Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Weather: 55 degrees, 15 percent chance of rain (Weather.com)
Line: Ole Miss -10
By the numbers
40– Yards needed by Arkansas running back Alex Collins to reach 1,000 yards for this season. His 3,086 total yards make him the SEC’s active career rushing leader.
12 – Number of ranked opponents Arkansas has played in its last 14 SEC games. After this week, the Razorbacks play No. 2 LSU and No. 20 Mississippi State.
117 – Total points scored by Arkansas the past two games, the third-most in a two-game span in program history.
157.6 — Passing efficiency for Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, which leads the SEC.
2,856 — Passing yards this season by Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly — which leads the SEC. Kelly also has 12 interceptions, which is tied for the most in the conference.
Storylines to watch
Will Arkansas have late-season success like 2014?
The Hogs are 4-4 just like this time last year and Arkansas was able to win two of its final four games, shutouts of ranked LSU and Ole Miss in back-to-back weeks. Arkansas also finished the season with a bowl game victory over Texas. Although its offense is hitting on all cylinders, the Razorbacks defense needs to find an identity if they want similar success as 2014.
Can Chad Kelly throw for 450 yards?
UT-Martin quarterback Jarod Neal threw for 380 yards last week against Arkansas, and he didn’t have a guy named Laquon Treadwell catching the ball. Kelly, the SEC leader in passing yards, has more offensive weapons than UT-Martin did, and the Rebels will be in the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Will Ole Miss look past Arkansas?
It might be easy for No. 18 Ole Miss to overlook unranked Arkansas since No. 2 LSU awaits the Rebels two weeks later. But Ole Miss has an open week on Nov. 14 before getting LSU at home. It’s probably a safe bet the Rebels won’t look past Arkansas at all because, you know, of that 30-0 loss in Fayetteville last year. And, the Rebels likely can’ win the SEC if they can’t get past Arkansas.
Prediction: Ole Miss 33, Arkansas 16
The Arkansas offense has piled up points and yards in bunches in the last two weeks, but neither of those teams have a defense quite like the Rebels. Ole Miss has a lot to play for — like running the table to win the SEC West, and the Ole Miss team that beat Alabama in September will show up at home against the Razorbacks.
Look for the Ole Miss passing game to be on fire as Kelly and Treadwell push their SEC-leading numbers even higher. If Ole Miss jumps out early, then Arkansas will have to rely on a receiving corps that’s still limping its way back into form.