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Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Mississippi Rebels Preview + Free Predictions

#9 Arkansas Razorbacks (5-1, 1-1 SEC) vs. Mississippi Rebels (2-4, 0-3 SEC)

As far as SEC West division match-ups go, this one seems to break pretty well for the visiting team. The home side Rebels haven’t looked good at all in 2011, poor play has been highlighted by no steadying presence under center and a slew of injuries and suspensions to important contributors.

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford MS
Saturday, Oct. 22, 12:21 pm EST
NCAA Odds from Sportsbook.com:
MoneyLine: Arkansas -667, Ole Miss +465
Spread: Arkansas -15.5, Ole Miss +15.5
Over/Under: 56

They do a fantastic tailgate in Oxford, Mississippi, but sadly for the fans the only prettiness to observe has been the co-eds at the party, rather than on the football field.

Arkansas has the dangerous offense to decimate Ole Miss. The Hogs do most of their damage via the passing game; aside from a loss to Alabama (a team that might be the best in America) the Arkansas aerial fireworks have worked swimmingly. Head coach Bobby Petrino’s kids have a couple nice wins over ranked opponents in Texas A&M and Auburn. Quarterback Tyler Wilson is inching closer to 2,000 yards passing on the season and back-up RB Ronnie Wingo has filled in decently for the considerable amount of injured depth in front of him (Knile Davis and Broderick Green, to name two).

The Hogs offense should have ample opportunities to put points on the scoreboard. Not only are the Rebels incapable of generating offense, they rank 80th in the nation in points against – they are surrendering 30 points per game. The Rebs are missing bodies in the secondary as well as their defensive captain, senior DE Wayne Dorsey. Arkansas will likely use the dangerous combination of WRs Jairus Wright and Kobi Hamilton to torch the Ole Miss back seven. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Arkansas is just coming out of its tough three-game stretch, in which it faced ’Bama, A&M and Auburn. The Hogs won two of those three crucial contests, and now enjoy consecutive (relatively) powder-puff weeks of Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. South Carolina and LSU still remain on the schedule. The Hogs must simply stick to their game-plan; they must not loosen the reins too much and then get caught napping.

Even if Petrino’s players weren’t at their best, though, Ole Miss has been so hapless offensively that it might not be an issue. The Rebs have scored more than 30 points against Fresno State (38-28 W) and FCS Southern Illinois (42-24 W) but other than that, haven’t managed to crack 13 points in any of their contests, all losses. The quarterbacking has been miserable and the offense has been without star RB Brandon Bolden throughout most of the season, due to injury and suspension. The offense ranks a miserable 109th in the nation in passing yards and 108th in rushing.

As the West division begins to take shape, it is becoming clear that it is a collection of haves and have-nots. The top four teams in the division (LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas) are all ranked in the Top 20 and have no record worse than Auburn’s 5-2 (3-1 in SEC play). The Mississippi schools, meanwhile – both Ole Miss and Mississippi State – are at the other end of the spectrum. Both schools are winless in the conference and both have four losses.

Ole Miss actually might be able to drop a couple scores on the Arkansas “D”, as it is by no means a crack unit, but it looks nearly impossible for the Rebels to keep up to the visitors’ high-flying attack. Ole Miss has two outstanding players in recent memory, one on both sides of the ball in QB Eli Manning (now with the New York Giants) and LB Patrick Willis (now with the San Francisco 49ers). However, glory has been a long, fruitless pursuit for your average Rebels fan, and it likely won’t change for the better this Saturday.

Score Prediction: Arkansas 38, Ole Miss 17
Over/Under Prediction: 55

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