Bobby Petrino will try to demonstrate his offensive jujitsu against Mississippi State this weekend.
The "upset alert" trope is more than a bit overused these days, but if there was one for the SEC this week, it would be this game. Arkansas is riding high after hammering South Carolina and Tennessee in consecutive weeks, and there's a game against LSU coming up next week that you might have heard a little something about.
So while it might look like CBS is trying to make lemonade out of lemons in selecting this game from a notably short list of quality SEC games this week, there are a ton of people who are interested in this game for a variety of reasons. Alabama fans want Arkansas to win this weekend; otherwise, they are out of the hunt for the SEC West. A two-way tie ends up badly for the Tide, and so an LSU win this weekend and an Arkansas loss would clinch the division for the Bayou Bengals.
For that very reason, LSU fans would like the Bulldogs to pull the upset and remove any lingering doubts about their trip to Atlanta. And I, of course, have my own reasons for wanting Mississippi State to deny the Razorbacks their tenth win.
Thing is, what's your theory for how the Bulldogs would actually pull the upset in this one? The offense is ranked pretty strongly yardage-wise in the SEC, but the Bulldogs haven't scored more than 30 points in a game against an FBS foe since the Week 2 loss at Auburn, and they rank seventh in the conference and 70th in the nation in scoring offense. The defense has the opposite problem, with the scoring numbers being strong but the yardage numbers being week. If you're going to say that those yards for the offense have to produce points eventually, the same is true of the defense, and a Petrino team is probably a safe bet to capitalize.
That said, Arkansas' defensive numbers aren't pretty themselves, even after limiting Tennessee to just seven points on 376 yards last week. It'll be a high-scoring and relatively close game until late, when Arkansas pulls away.
Arkansas 44, Mississippi State 31