Let me preface this post by saying that I hate the Arkansas Razorbacks. I didn't hate them at all until two years ago. It's not so much that I hate the team. As for the players and even Bobby Petrino, I couldn't care less whether they won or lost. It's the fans. We have received so much crap from them every single week. 10-20% of our comment threads have some mention of Arkansas even if the article never says a word about them.
It's despicable. That's why this prediction is difficult to write.
I think Arkansas will beat us. There. I said it.
It's not that I'm down on the team or have given up hope. Lest you forget, I predicted that Arkansas would beat us before the season even began. They're just a very difficult matchup.
Unfortunately, they have gotten to be an even more difficult one. Ryan Mallett is very, very good, and their receivers are excellent. They don't use the running game as effectively as I thought they would, but they haven't really needed it all that much. Bobby Petrino knows the passing game, and I'm sure he has noticed that our defense struggles against misdirections and delayed runs. I look for Michael Smith to have several runs of over ten yards, and it wouldn't surprise me to see freshman sensation Ronnie Wingo Jr. do a lot with the football. The key will be to perform effectively against the Arkansas passing offense. They won't beat us with the run. They'll beat us with the pass. DJ Williams is an excellent tight end. Greg Childs and Joe Adams are also great receivers (though Adams may not play in the game).
I know that the Arkansas defense has been pretty bad this season, giving up several long passing plays per game. I just don't know if that will be enough in this game. Until Jevan Snead proves otherwise, I'm counting on at least two picks from him every game that we face decent competition. If we give their offense the ball two more times than they would get it normally, it will spell defeat for the Rebels. Brandon Bolden and Rodney Scott will be fine, but the blueprint to stop Ole Miss is going to stop those two.
The word is out. To stop Ole Miss, you put eight in the box, blitz, and double cover Shay Hodge. Jevan doesn't get enough time to look Shay off because our offensive line is quite bad. Then he throws a pass that he shouldn't into coverage, and against a defense that doesn't suck (see: not UAB), defensive backs catch it and try to make something happen. We have to give Jevan time for an entire game against a legitimate opponent. If it starts in this game, we could possibly win. I don't think that will happen though, so I'm predicting...
Arkansas by three.
Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it.