Arkansas Razorbacks Moving On To Ole Miss Rebels

Blake StansberyCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks signals a touchdown against the Florida Gators October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

On Saturday, October 17, 2009, college football fans across the nation witnessed a game that nearly changed the entire college football landscape.

The instant classic did have an impact on the polls this week, but the Gators still came out as the No. 1 team in the first BCS poll. The Razorbacks, however, seem to have befriended college fans around the nation for 15 minutes of fame and controversy.

The time for those discussions and how the refs changed the outcome of the game are soon to come to an end.


It is time for Ole Miss week. That means the Razorbacks are taking on their old head coach the Right Reverend Houston Nutt for the second time since his much chronicled departure following the 2007 season. Nutt claims year two will be about the players and those emotions are gone now.

Can emotions subside that fast?

Arkansas players and coaches in the Monday press confrences said that it is just the next SEC game. An important game, but just a game. It seems that this team has truly bought into worrying about themselves and preparing that coach Bobby Petrino has preached since arriving on the Hill.

Can those feelings towards Houston Nutt really be gone that quickly?

The answer is a resounding yes. Why you ask? Because both teams need a win more than anything this coming Saturday.

As stated, the matchup between the Razorbacks and the Rebels is a must win for both teams. Ole Miss has looked poor so far this season in any games with a quality opponent. While AR has come out 3-3 from what many believe to be the toughest first half of the season for any team in the country.

Arkansas' last four opponents were undefeated at the time they squared off against the Razorbacks. Tough losses for both teams have them searching for a dire win Saturday to keep their season on track.

Arkansas while being an underdog yet again if the early line stays true seems to be the more confident and "hot" team at the moment. Arkansas has defeated two of those past four undefeated teams, which includes what was a romping of then ranked and hyped Auburn as well as a Dallas showdown with old SWC rival Texas A&M that went all the Razorbacks way after the first six minutes of the game. 

Most recently this past Saturday, Arkansas had every opportunity to defeat the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators in the Swamp on their homecoming game and came out of that close loss believing they can play with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The Ole Miss Rebels on the other hand have watched their Heisman candidate golden boy regress in his second year at the helm. Snead has struggled with poor throws and has been far from what experts expected to see from him in 2009. Ole Miss fans, coaches, and players seem to be optimistic that Snead will return to form and bounce back. If that is going to happen many think that needs to happen this week.

Easier said than done.

While Arkansas statistically ranks near the bottom of the SEC in every defensive category, they are far from playing that way. In the past three games the Hogs defense has harassed the QB and ranks second in the SEC in sacks.

They have played three top-10 nationally ranked offenses at the time and held them all far under the scoring averages and won two of those three games. Convincingly. Something has got to give on Saturday.

Does Snead break out or continue his downward spiral from 2008 to 2009?

The Rebels boast a top defense that hopes to make a difference Saturday. They have not fared well against their top opponents, but rank near the top in most SEC defensive categories. Their obstacles are Ryan Mallett and Bobby Petrino's high scoring offense.

The Razorbacks lead the SEC in passing yards per game and rank near the top in most offensive categories. The Razorback running game has been getting on track the past three weeks against A&M, Auburn, and Florida.

If there is a weakness in the Ole Miss defense, it is their rushing defense. Expect to see the Razorbacks continue to run the ball to set up the pass. Three weeks of success has them believing in what they are doing.

Now to the predictions.

Arkansas moves past the deflating Florida loss in the best possible way with a win in Oxford. Snead continues his poor performance. The Hogs come out angry and confident in what they are doing. Ole Miss continues to look out of sync.

This game gets out of hand early much like the Arkansas vs Auburn game two weeks ago. Arkansas has scored over 40 points in four of the six games and does again in a big statement win.

Arkansas 45, Ole Miss 21