Arkansas and Ole Miss may actually be one of the best rivalries in the SEC.
The Rebels have had great seasons. The Hogs have had great seasons. Both have been miserable. Both have been mediocre. Often they’ve done all of these things at the same time.
But 2022 has been different. Ole Miss has a chance to clinch its second straight 10-win season with a victory inside Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on Saturday night. Arkansas is just hoping to make it to six wins, something that would yield bowl eligibility, at least.
As to how long the odds are the latter will happen, well, they are. Arkansas should have quarterback KJ Jefferson back in the fold after a shoulder injury kept him out of last week’s loss.
But even with him back, can the Hogs have a shot?
Ole Miss, Arkansas 30 (editor E. Wayne)
PROVO UT- OCTOBER 15: KJ Jefferson #1 of the Arkansas Razorbacks throws a pass against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half of their game October 15, 2022 LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)
Obviously this is working under the assumption that Jefferson will be healthy enough to play the full game and play it well. Arkansas has the talent to be better than a five-win team going into the finale.
Ole Miss 20, Arkansas 17 (contributor Connor Goodson)
FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS – NOVEMBER 12: Head Coach Sam Pittman of the Arkansas Razorbacks walks onto the field before a game against the LSU Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 12, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Limiting the Rebels to just 20 points would have to be a boon. The question about whether a Jefferson-led offense could do enough to overcome those 20.
Arkansas 28, Ole Miss 24 (contributor Kendall Hilton)
Oct 9, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Trey Knox (7) catches a pass for a touchdown against Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
There’s the one. Hilton may be playing to the fans here, but picking Arkansas isn’t totally out of the question.
KJ Jefferson is responsible for three-or-more touchdowns
Oct 9, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) carries the ball against Mississippi Rebels defensive back AJ Finley (21) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
If this prediciton seems familiar, it’s because we’ve had it before. If it comes true, Arkansas has a shot. If it doesn’t, then, well…
A fourth-quarter turnover will play huge
Arkansas tight end Trey Knox (7) is tackled by Missouri State linebacker Von Young (30) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Whether it’s a Dart interception, a Jefferson fumble, a muffed punt, whatever, something just feels like it’s going to go awry late and it could change the complexion of the game.