Considering the Arkansas-Ole Miss series is full of drama, craziness and a disagreement over trivia, it probably isn’t too silly to think Saturday could be wild.
The Hogs and Rebels usually bring out a big effort in each other, but no series has created the collection of zaniness this one does.
The trivia argument is one that would just cause a massive rolling of the eyes these days, but in 1914, the Razorbacks claimed Ole Miss used an ineligible player and recorded a win, despite being on the short end on the scoreboard.
Here’s some others:
• 1954: No. 1-ranked Ole Miss was stopped early on the goal-line by the Hogs, then backup Buddy Bob Benson sailed a 66-yard pass to Preston Carpenter for the game’s only score and a 6-0 win in Little Rock. That game was the first to really put Arkansas in the national spotlight and the first overflow sellout at War Memorial Stadium.
• 1960: It looked like the teams would play a 7-7 tie after a short field goal was called good after referee Tommy Bell had called a timeout on a first attempt for “excessive crowd noise.” He signaled the second one good as soon as it was kicked and was wide and fistfights broke out all over the stadium.
• 2001 Seventh Heaven: Arkansas won a barn-burner in Oxford, going seven overtimes to win against Eli Manning and the Rebels. It was a game that seemed to never end.
• 2008 Familiar Coach: Houston Nutt left Fayetteville after the 2007 season for Oxford, beat the Hogs two out of four times and got fired.
• 2015 Henry Heave: In yet another game that appeared headed to lasting half the night, Arkansas faced a fourth-and-25, tight end Hunter Henry caught a pass and wasn’t going to get the first down and threw the ball backwards. Alex Collins got the first down, the Razorbacks scored and Austin Allen converted a 2-point conversion for a 53-52 win.
Those are just the highlights. Twice as many have had all sorts of drama and surprising finishes and everything is there for a crazy game this year.
Ole Miss is a slight (-1.5) favorite but the Hogs have a 57.4% chance of winning, according to the ESPN Power Index.
Maybe the best-looking bet is an over-under of only 76.5. Considering Ole Miss’ offense wasn’t stopped last week against Alabama and their defense couldn’t stop the Crimson Tide, what Kendal Briles comes up with on the Hogs’ offense may be the key.
Assuming, of course, Barry Odom doesn’t have something cooked up to slow down the Rebels’ attack.
I’ll take the over and the Hogs in what may come down to who gets the ball last.
Arkansas 56, Ole Miss 45
Before last week’s games started I told Pete Morgan there would be a crazy week, but I didn’t know when. It turned out to be last week … and it may not be the only one is a wacky season. We were both 3-4.
Pete leads by a single win with a 15-6 mark.
• Auburn (-2.5) at South Carolina
Two weeks ago the Tigers would be a much bigger favorite but, apparently, the oddsmakers took notice of Auburn’s theft of a win over the Hogs last week. Now Auburn has to go on the road with a team that hasn’t looked as good as it’s rating in the polls.
It is beyond temptation to take the Gamecocks here, but I’m not convinced they can pull out a win.
Auburn 24, South Carolina 21
• Kentucky at Tennessee (-6.5)
At 43.5, take the Under in this one. Both teams have really good defenses and the Vols started fast against Georgia before the Bulldogs stomped them last week. I’m going out on a limb here, but the Wildcats’ running game will be the difference in this one.
Kentucky 21, Tennessee 20
• Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Neither team’s fans really know which one of these dual personalities for both teams will show up in this one. The Aggies shocked Florida and me last week. The Bulldogs shocked by their ineptitude against Kentucky. The Bulldogs can’t run at all and the guess is their free-fall continues.
Texas A&M 31, Mississippi State 28
• Georgia at Alabama (-4.5)
With the news Nick Saban tested negative after his positive test earlier in the week, he may actually be on the sidelines for the game and the guess here is he’ll be there. It may be the difference for the Crimson Tide, who win this one big.
Alabama 31, Georgia 21