If given the opportunity, both Arkansas and Auburn would probably go back to Week 1 and start the season over. The SEC rivals have a combined record of 2-7, including an 0-4 mark in conference play, and neither win was impressive.
Since the option of pressing the reset button isn't available, the Razorbacks and Tigers must make the best of a disappointing situation starting with their clash this weekend. At least one team will earn the win and have a chance to rebound.
With that in mind, here's a glance at all the key information for the Week 6 game along with a preview and prediction as Arkansas takes on Auburn.
Where: Jordan–Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.
When: Saturday, Oct. 6 at 12 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN2 and ESPN3.com
Listen: KABZ 103.7 FM (Arkansas) or WEIS 990 AM (Auburn)
Betting Line: Auburn -10 (Vegas Insider)
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Arkansas: Chris Gragg (questionable, leg) and Eric Bennett (questionable, hamstring)
Auburn: No injuries listed
Key Storyline: Which struggling team will start turning things around?
Arkansas has lost four straight games after winning its opener against an overmatched Jacksonville State squad. Included in that stake are losses to Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers, which certainly wouldn't fall into the powerhouse category, either.
Things have gone a little better for Auburn because all three of its losses came against tough competition. That said, the Tigers really needed to win at least two of those games in order to turn this into a memorable season.
Both teams have favorable schedules over the next few weeks, so a win on Saturday could be exactly what they need to bounce back. If nothing else, there will be no shortage of desperation which should lead to a good, close game.
Top 25 Implications
Both teams have fallen off the Top 25 radar after all of the early losses, and a win on Saturday won't be enough to get them back in the rankings. It would be a step in the right direction, though, especially since it's a high-profile matchup.
The good news for the winning team, regardless of whether it's Arkansas or Auburn, is it has several big games left on the schedule. That will give them an opportunity to get back in the mix if they can get on a roll in the coming weeks.
What They Are Saying
Razorbacks head coach John Smith said his team isn't going to give up on the season even though things haven't gone as expected so far, based on a report from Robbie Neiswanger of the Arkansas News.
"You have to put your arm around them and keep hugging them and encouraging them and kicking them in the tail as well and let them know you can’t give up on each other," Smith said when asked if he feared players would fold. "We haven’t given up on anybody. You have to keep believing. Quit isn’t in our vocabulary and you can’t allow it to be."
Auburn suspended sophomore wide receiver Quan Bray indefinitely after he was arrested in Georgia, according to the Associated Press. Gene Chizik praised Bray, but said his return is unknown.
"He's been a great teammate, he's been an honor roll student. I'm proud of the way, in the last year and a half, he's carried himself and the way he's overcome a lot of adversity," Chizik said. "I'll let you know when he'll be back on the field, but it certainly won't be against Arkansas."
Arkansas Player To Watch: Tyler Wilson
There were sky-high expectations for Wilson following his breakout season, but he hasn't been able to live up to the hype. He's completing just 55 percent of his passes, an eight percent drop off, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
His struggles combined with a rushing attack that has failed to make an impact have meant Arkansas' offense hasn't been able to make up for a shaky defense. So it's not hard to understand why the Razorbacks currently stand at 1-4.
Wilson showed last season that he's capable of carrying the offense on his back. He needs to rediscover that form if Arkansas is going to avoid a complete meltdown in 2012.
Auburn Player To Watch: Tre Mason
Mason has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise disappointing Tigers offense. He's averaging more than five yards per carry and definitely has the look of a star in the making once he gains more experience against SEC defenses.
If Auburn wants to emerge from Saturday's game with the win, the best plan of attack is feeding the sophomore running back early and often. He needs more touches than the nine he received against LSU to be effective.
Even though Auburn has another reliable RB in Onterio McCalebb, Mason is the future at the position and should start getting more looks moving forward.
Key Matchup: Zach Hocker vs. Cody Parkey
Kickers don't receive much attention, but they play a key role in these close SEC games. Judging by the way Arkansas and Auburn have played so far, it wouldn't be surprising at all if this game went down to the final play.
After a terrific freshman season that saw him connect on 84 percent of his attempts for the Razorbacks, Hocker made just 78 percent last season and is only 4-of-6 in 2012. He had a good leg, but those numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
Parkey has been rock-solid for the Tigers. He's made all seven of his field-goal attempts, including two from behind 40 yards. If the game's on the line, Chizik should feel comfortable letting Parkey trot out there to win it.
Auburn 27, Arkansas 24
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