It's hard to think of a time that a contender for an SEC division title was so thoroughly outclassed by a team struggling to get to bowl eligibility. Because, despite the fact that Ole Miss narrowly outgained Arkansas, 316-311, and had more first downs than the Hogs, that's what happened today. Arkansas clobbered Ole Miss 30-0, and the Razorbacks looked far more the part of SEC contender than the Rebels did.
Neither is now, of course. Ole Miss is officially eliminated, and Arkansas' resurgence began only after the Hogs went 0-5 in the SEC to begin the year. But after a couple of games in which the Razorbacks pummeled their opponents by a combined 47-0 margin, it's looking less like a question of "if" Bret Bielema will be in the mix for a title, and more like a question of when.
Ole Miss certainly deserves a healthy share of the credit for the outcome. Bo Wallace finally slipped back into full-blown "Bad Bo" mode, throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice. Other Rebels added in two more turnovers. Other mental miscues also hurt the Rebels early, from a bad penalty and a terrible decision to field a kickoff at the 1-yard line to two drops.
The Rebels' once-vaunted defense didn't do terribly, but did allow Arkansas 159 yards rushing on 50 carries. The Hogs did well enough passing (despite the absence of Brandon Allen for much of the game) to bolster the ground attack.
Meanwhile, Arkansas largely shut down the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels averaged 1.9 yards a carry and had just two runs of more than 10 yards. Even when he wasn't throwing interceptions and was able to overcome an ankle injury to play, Wallace wasn't particularly effective (16-of-29 for 235 yards sans the picks). On a per-play basis, Arkansas actually narrowly outgained Ole Miss (4.64 to 4.45).
The loss officially ends Ole Miss' last-ditch hopes for an SEC West title. They would have needed to beat Mississippi State and have Auburn beat Alabama to begin with, and the first part of that equation now seems far less likely than it once did. The Rebels have now lost three straight in SEC play, and could end up at .500 in the SEC in a season that once held the promise of a possible playoff bid.
Arkansas heads to an unexpected postseason berth after getting one more chance to spoil a division championship bid at Missouri next week. Win or lose that game, Arkansas has already made it clear that it won't be too long before the Hogs are making title runs of their own.