Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
How to watch online: WatchESPN
Odds: Ole Miss opened as a 6.5-point favorite. The line was bumped up to 7.5 points later in the week. Odds come via OddsShark.
Arkansas and Ole Miss will meet Saturday for the 63rd time in a rivalry that has turned into must-see TV. The Rebels will look to maintain pace in a tight SEC West race, while the Razorbacks hope to bounce back after consecutive division losses to Texas A&M and Alabama.
Here are three things to watch this week:
Does Chad Kelly’s latest incident affect his play?
Chad Kelly gonna Chad Kelly.
Last week while he was home in Buffalo, Kelly was caught on tape storming the field trying to protect his younger brother who took a “cheap hit.” This is only an issue because of Kelly’s past. You can look back at his mental breakdown at Clemson, while also pointing out his threat outside of a club in Buffalo to reasons why Hugh Freeze would be concerned with this latest ‘transgression.’
I can assure you that Kelly is not the first person to run out of the stands and onto the field during a high school football game, but his profile as quarterback of Ole Miss does not allow for that type of behavior to be tolerated. I don’t think that Kelly will have any difficulty jelling with the offense, but I still question where his head’s at sometimes.
Can the Arkansas defense stop Ole Miss?
There is no denying that Arkansas has struggled on the defensive side of the ball the past two weeks. A&M put up 388 yards on the ground, while throwing for another 217, on the way to just shy of 600 yards of offense.
Last week, Alabama totaled 517 yards of total offense, posting 250+ yards on the ground and through the air.
The Hogs will once again face an offense that has posted ridiculous numbers. The Rebels boast the SEC’s second-best offense, putting up about 490 total yards per game, while scoring 41 points per game. Given what the Razorbacks have allowed in their last two league games, it’s going to be extremely difficult to envision a scenario where they win this game without 40+ points of their own.
Ole Miss seeks revenge
It was 4th down and 25, and Ole Miss was one stop away from staying atop the SEC West. Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen dropped back and completed a pass to tight end Hunter Henry, who after being stopped well short of a first down, heaved the football backward, only to be recovered by running back Alex Collins, and was run in for a first down. The Hogs would later score, and then go for two, ending the Rebels’ bid at its first SEC West title.
I would imagine that the Rebels are just as upset with this result as they are with the embarrassing 30-0 loss the last time they visited Fayetteville. Compounding those two factors, and the consecutive division losses for Bielema and his crew, and that’s a bad recipe even at home.
You can play the ‘what if’ game all you, but there is no denying that Ole Miss has looked like a Top 10 team this season. To quote Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are.” For the Rebels, that truly is unfortunate because I do believe that they are better than a two-loss team.
This fact is also unfortunate for Arkansas, who I believe is a very good football team stuck in a division that features maybe three of the best teams in college football. I think that Bielema’s team will play hard and make things tough for Ole Miss early, but the Hogs just don’t have the talent or firepower to keep up with the Rebels.
Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Arkansas 28