Time: Saturday, October 13th, 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network/WatchESPN
Commentators: Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers & Cole Cubelic
Odds: Ole Miss (-7)
Arkansas vs. Ole Miss has turned into one of the most fun (usually) non-marquee match ups in the SEC every season. The last three meetings have been decided by a combined total of six points. Last year in Oxford, Ole Miss stormed out to a 31-7 lead in the second quarter, only to end up losing 38-37 after a series of stalled drives and turnovers. A tight 34-30 victory for the Razorbacks occurred in 2016. And of course, who could possibly forget how Arkansas ended Ole Miss’ SEC West title hopes in overtime in 2015?
It’s safe to say that the Rebels really want to beat the Hogs this year.
Looking to end their four game skid against their rivals from the Northwest, Ole Miss enters with the fourth best offense in the nation according to S&P+. In their four wins, the Rebels are averaging 57.8 points per game with the help of the nWo and a surprisingly good rushing attack. Transfer Scottie Phillips boasts 637 yards and a 7.1 yards per carry average.
Ole Miss can simply score and their season has gone pretty much how everyone has expected it to so far, with the exception of the Alabama game. This loss was expected, but what wasn’t expected in this game was the Rebels scoring on their first offensive play and proceeding to score zero for the rest of the night.
The defense has been incredibly porous at times —as expected—and sits at 112 in S&P+, but that doesn’t mean all of their performances have been complete stinkers. Holding an offense like Texas Tech to 27 points is an objectively decent performance with the personnel and depth issues Ole Miss currently faces on defense.
It’s tough to say exactly what the expectations were for Arkansas entering the 2018 season, but a 1-5 start was certainly not foreseeable for most. A comeback loss at Colorado State and a home loss to North Texas were hard pills to swallow in Chad Morris’ first year. But then again, it is his first year.
Establishing a new offensive philosophy has been rocky at times, but Ty Storey has finally solidified himself as the starter after a competition with Cole Kelley. The offense is currently sitting at 82 in offensive S&P+ and riding high after putting up 31 against the Crimson Tide. Now almost half of these points did come in definite garbage time, but we all know how good Bama’s backups are. Also, “garbage time” against the Tide is arguably once you’re down by 14 points.
I feel like this year’s tilt between the Razorbacks and Rebels will be another thriller. There are a lot of “something’s gotta give” factors at play. Arkansas’ below average offense against Ole Miss’ bad defense. Ole Miss’ crazy efficient offense against a decent Arkansas defense (51st in S&P+). I’ll give the edge to the Rebel offense and say Ole Miss ends the mini streak.
Ole Miss 42, Arkansas 34