Ole Miss Football: Is Arkansas in Danger of a Letdown?

Bohdi SandersContributor IIIOctober 21, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 11:  D.T. Shackelford #43 of the Ole Miss Rebels celebrates on the field after a sack against the Tulane Green Wave at the Louisiana Superdome on September 11, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

This Saturday, Ole Miss goes to Arkansas in the second of a rugged three-game stretch. The Rebels looked much better against Alabama last Saturday, but came up short.

Arkansas, on the other hand, has endured two heartbreaking SEC losses against Alabama and Auburn, with a close game against Texas A&M in between the two games.

On top of the loss to Auburn, the Razorbacks were forced to play the majority of the game without Ryan Mallett, who left the game with a concussion. Although Mallett is expected to start against the Rebels on Saturday, it is questionable whether or not he will be as sharp as he normally is.

Arkansas is coming off a brutal three-game stretch which, combined with the injury to their first-string quarterback, has to have taken its toll on the Razorbacks mentally and physically. Add to this the fact that Arkansas has to be overlooking the Rebels, at least to some extent, because of the low level of play from Ole Miss so far this year.

Combined, these factors, at least on the surface, would suggest that Arkansas is in danger of coming out flat against the Rebels. Even with Arkansas' hatred of Houston Nutt, all indications point to the possibility of a Razorback letdown.

The question is whether or not Ole Miss will be able to capitalize on the letdown even if the Hogs do come out flat. Arkansas still has a lot to play for this year and most likely won't walk through the entire game. Can an inconsistent Rebel team take advantage of a lackluster Razorback start?

The other question, and probably a more important question, is whether or not the Ole Miss defense can stop the Arkansas offense once they wake up. This is an offense which ripped through the Auburn defense, even with their second-string quarterback.

Can the Rebel defense contain Ryan Mallett if he gets hot and has a good game? The answer is yes, IF they play like they did against Alabama. If they play like they have in every other game this year, this game could get really ugly.

The other factor is whether or not the Rebel offense can get on track early. The Razorbacks gave up 65 points to Auburn, but other than the Auburn game, they have been pretty good this year. This will not be a cakewalk for the Ole Miss offense.

While all conventional wisdom points to Ole Miss getting spanked on Saturday, this could be the big, unexpected upset that Ole Miss teams have been known to pull off on occasions. If the stars line up right and the Rebels get some breaks, Ole Miss could return to Oxford with another win under the belt.

Bohdi Sanders ~ www.TheWisdomWarrior.com