Both teams have plenty at stake Saturday when Arkansas hosts No. 8 Ole Miss in an SEC West clash. The Rebels likely saw their hopes of reaching the inaugural College Football Playoff evaporate with consecutive losses to LSU and Auburn by a combined seven points, but they bounced back to thrash Presbyterian 48-0 before an open date last week. Arkansas is one win away from becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011 and is after its second straight win over a ranked opponent after beating LSU 17-0 last week.
The Rebels got some help over their bye week with Mississippi State and Auburn both losing, meaning Ole Miss could still claim the SEC West crown if it wins its final two games and Auburn beats Alabama. "We've preached to them all along that you play until the end and see what happens," Hugh Freeze told reporters. "There's so much football left to be played. Regardless of what happens out there, the results certainly kept us alive with some very important, lofty things that we could accomplish." Ole Miss has won the last two meetings and hasn't won three straight in the series since a four-game run from 1990-93.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ole Miss -3.5.
ABOUT OLE MISS (8-2, 4-2 SEC): The Rebels lean on one of the best defenses in the nation, leading the country in scoring defense (11.9 points per game) and fewest touchdowns allowed (13). Their biggest strength is defending the pass, as they rank second nationally with 19 interceptions — nine by Senquez Golson — but that might not be a huge factor against Arkansas' run-heavy offense. The offense, led by quarterback Bo Wallace (2,554 passing yards, 22 TDs, eight interceptions), took a huge blow when receiver Laquon Treadwell was lost for the season Nov. 1 against Auburn.
ABOUT ARKANSAS (5-5, 1-5): All five of the Razorbacks' losses have come to teams ranked in the top 10 at the time, and three of them were by a touchdown or less, so last week's breakthrough against LSU doesn't come as a total surprise. The Razorbacks boast an excellent backfield duo in Jonathan Williams (932 yards, 11 TDs) and Alex Collins (886 yards, 11 TDs) and might be able to exploit an Ole Miss defense that surrendered 264 and 248 yards on the ground in its two losses. Arkansas' defense has been solid all season but was at its best against LSU, allowing just 123 total yards.
1. Ole Miss has forced a turnover in 33 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation.
2. Wallace (9,872) needs 113 total yards to break Eli Manning's school record for total offense.
3. Collins is 114 yards away from becoming the first Arkansas player with consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Darren McFadden from 2005-07.
PREDICTION: Ole Miss 24, Arkansas 20