Top 25 rankings, a huge win over rival LSU and only Arkansas in the way of a bye week - yeah, this game will be three hours of anxiety riddling madness.
Haven’t Rebel fans seen this movie before?
While it may not rank very high for most fans, this series has been an insanely close one in the last 15 years. Since 2008, the Rebels are 7-8 versus Arkansas with a combined score of 452 for Ole Miss and 487 for Arkansas - including a 30-0 throttling by the Razorbacks skewing that number a smidge. So in the other 14 meetings, it’s seven wins per side with a combined difference in points of five whopping points or a field goal and a safety.
Needless to say, these are two programs over time that have been very similar in terms of ups and downs with the highest highs in the Sugar Bowl and the lowest lows in 2-10 seasons. There’s the shared head coach experience of Houston Nutt, powerful boosters on both sides and an eternal struggle of being in the toughest division in the toughest conference in America.
Right now, things are hot for the Rebels though with a 4-1 start and current No. 16 ranking in the Associated Press poll. A win against Arkansas will put Ole Miss a win away from bowl eligibility but also a bye week looms to get healthy before the back half of the schedule. Potentially sitting at 5-1 with games at Auburn, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, at Georgia, Louisiana-Monroe and at Mississippi State? Seems ideal for a possible higher end bowl game.
Meanwhile Arkansas sits at 2-3 without an SEC win and two losses by a touchdown or less. Oddly enough, the Razorbacks haven’t had a home game since Sept. 16 and won’t have another until Oct. 21 - the Hogs are on a slide and likely to do anything to stop it. The back half of the Arkansas schedule seems manageable for a few wins, so Saturday’s showdown with Ole Miss looks to be very huge for this year’s team.
It’s time to exorcise the demons of fourth and 25 though. Arkansas won in embarrassing fashion last year in Fayetteville while ESPN analysts constantly talked about Kiffin’s likelihood of going to Auburn and which players he would want to take. The Rebels are the team with more offensive firepower, and it needs to put it together to continue gaining momentum in the SEC West race.
Let’s tee the damn thing up already, it’s a 6:30 p.m. kickoff and tens of thousands of well-lubricated Rebels are expected in the stands. Cheers!