Predictions Anyone?

Welcome to the Thursday predictions post.

We took a week off last week just like the Rebels. I still enjoy what I do, but I could get used to that watch games on TV thing.

Sounds like Ole Miss players are pretty excited about an early kickoff. I concur.

They’re also excited about the opportunity to pick up a sixth win and bowl eligibility. I think that will happen, but I’m not sure it will be as easy as some might believe based on Arkansas’ unimpressive body of work within the SEC.

There are certain numbers you look at here that depict a level of ineptitude. The Razorbacks are last in the SEC in scoring points, next to last in giving them up.

Here’s the tale-teller. Arkansas is minus-12 in turnover ratio in conference play, a staggering statistic. That’ll get you 0-5 against the league.

As bad as some things look for the Razorbacks there are some things they do pretty well. Like run the football. And possess the football.

It doesn’t ¬†matter how high-flying your offense is, if you don’t have the ball you can’t score.

The Hogs are No. 3 in the league in rushing at 211.2 yards a game, No. 5 in time of possession at 30:51 per game.

My take on the turnovers is this: As an Arkansas opponent, you can’t go into the game expecting to get those in large number.

Some of those have come when a backup quarterback has been in the game. Some have come with a botched handoff or any number of ways.

The margin is not only affected by the ones you give away but by the ones you don’t recover. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema pointed to a fumble by Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall that Marshall was able to recover in spite of the fact that he had three Arkansas defenders around him.

The Razorbacks’ run game is a weapon, and the good news for Ole Miss is that the Rebels are getting back a trio of their best defensive players. The return of freshman Robert Nkemdiche to the defensive line is significant. The question will be how long Nkemdiche, who hasn’t played since the Texas A&M game, can go at a high level without getting winded. He practiced this week at tackle and could be a matchup problem inside for a couple an Arkansas line that starts freshmen at the guard spots, Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper, who were both recruited by Ole Miss last year.

I like Nkemdiche inside and Bryon Bennett outside as a good run-stopping line for the Rebels. At least a run-slowing line. We’ll see.

Getting back the older Nkemdiche is equally important. Denzel Nkemdiche is a sure tackler. I would expect to see him and Serderius Bryant, another solid tackler, on the field together a good bit.

Mike Hilton is back at corner. The Hogs don’t pass it much, and it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see Hilton used in other ways during the game to take advantage of his physicality.

Prior to last week’s 35-17 loss to Auburn, Arkansas had been outscored 104-7 in losses to South Carolina and Alabama.

The fact that they were down 28-3 against Auburn and closed that gap to 28-17 indicates they are still playing hard.

The Rebels must assume that to be the case. Emmanuel McCray told us on Monday that you have to begin each game as though it’s a championship level opponent and then let it play out from there.

That’s certainly the approach Ole Miss needs to take with focus and attention to detail.

Maybe the turnovers come in bunches for the Rebels, but you can’t write that into the game plan.

Ole Miss has a pretty good run game too, with or without Jeff Scott, and Arkansas, while proficient at moving the ball on the ground hasn’t been proficient at stopping the run, giving up 247.8 yards a game in league play, last in the conference.

Hugh Freeze will strive for balance on offense, but he will need to be careful with his play calling. If he can run a little more than normal and get the job done there’s no sense in risking an incomplete pass, a bad series and a punt.

I figure the Rebels come out focused. They have most of their year and a half under Freeze. I think Arkansas will play hard, and I’m thinking the Razorbacks do a fair job of protecting the ball. At some point that has to turn in your favor, right?

This game will be harder than some might think, but the Rebels will win and become bowl eligible.

Prediction: Ole Miss 36, Arkansas 26

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football
  • JaxRebSteve

    I also think, because of their ability to run the ball and the number of defensive injuries we still have, this game could be a problem if Arkansas gets an early lead. I always worry when we are a heavy favorite in a game, because we usually don’t have the margin of error to overcome bad penalties/turnovers/bad officiating. I’d love a blowout, but I think it ends up Rebels 34 Hogs 31and we all go see our heart doctors on Monday.

    • Killer_Beeze

      IF the Landsharks can stop Arkansas on 3rd downs and Bo Wallace & Company can duplicate the effort put forth in the LSU game it will be an Ole Miss victory. The Hogs QB has a less than 50% passing pct. and the only thing they do effectively is run the ball…especially with freshman sensation Alex Collins. They like to burn clock so it’s essential for Wommack’s YOUNG MEN (not kids) apply a good ole fashion country azz whippin’ to the Hogs.
      Remember we were told that LSU’s Jeremy Hill was going to run it down the Rebel “D”s throat? Didn’t happen. The Landsharks performed above expectations and they can do it again!
      It also helps tremendously to have Hilton, and the brother’s Nkemdiche back in action.
      Are you ready? Hell YES. Fins UP!!!

      • Mike

        I’m not sure what LSU was thinking. I think that was a Les Miles coaching error to not try to pound the ball against our Rebels. The only thing Arkansas does well on offense appears to be run the ball. With the injured defensive guys ready to go now… I think we can stop the run. It may be a close (or slow) game, but I think we win by 10-14. Hotty Toddy!

  • Larry Box

    I think it will be close for a while but the Rebs will pull away in the second half. Rebels 38 Hogs 24

  • Larry Box

    Parrish, will we have to buy an electronic subscription to the Journal in order to continue following your blog?

    • Parrish Alford

      Larry, I have been told that the blogs will remain free to access, but I think they are experiencing some glitches right now. I would direct blog questions to Brad Locke at

  • Noggin

    38-14 Rebels.

  • JB

    I think Mississippi will lose this one to the Razorbacks, Over the years as i remember it, Arkansas seem to always have the edge over Ole Miss.

    • Killer_Beeze

      JB, my pappy always said (before he left this sh!!ttty world)…son, make sure your brain’s turned on before putting your mouth in drive. I.E. do the research because ‘as I remember’ usually turns out to be speculation most of the time.
      Actually the series has been pretty even. If you go back as far as say,1990, Arkansas has only a one win lead in the series 12-11.
      I’d say ‘always has an edge’ is your opinion. And everyone, JB has well, you know the old saying. :))

      • JB

        KB, u da man!, always remember the wisdom passed on from you Pappy, so many of this younger generation today ,ignored the wisdom from their elders and I feel that’s why “this is a sh!!ttty world” as you say, that we live in today. but the Holy scripture tell us that this will happen in the last days.Sorry i cannot support your rebels as i once did, but they left me, not me leaving them. hope you enjoy the game saturday and its comes out to your pleasing, good day and have a good one. JB

        • Killer_Beeze

          JB…You’ll have to ‘splain to all us (some time) just how the Rebels “left you”. If anything, the Rebels should have reeled you back in when the school hired Coach Freeze (a devout Christian) who has (maybe through the grace of the Lord?) literally turned a bitter lemon into a yummy lemon meringue pie.
          All Rebel fans (past & present) should be
          proud of what Coach Freeze has accomplished and the way he’s gone about doing it…the right way. The young men he’s been successful at recruiting are committing to Ole Miss because their parents (the adults) are sold on the sincerity of Freeze who has establish an environment where the players are performing as a ‘unit’ and in many cases sacrificing their ‘star power’ to assist their team mates (ex. Montcrief blocking for Treadwell and vice versa) succeed in the overall team goal: to WIN the game.

          Have a great TGIF day JB!
          Fins UP!

          • JB

            KB I have not drifted too far to the Left as yet still have a warm spot somewhere for the Rebels, After all my son is a Rebel fan and want to keep in good with him. yes i do believe Ole Miss has a winner in Coach Freeze, My thanks to Archie Manning for landing him.. Archie was always one of my favorite Rebels and hero, Eli being another one along with gentle Ben Williams.and the Duece more on the list too Got to get ready for rebel baseball in the Spring, I feel that this is the season for the Diamond rebels to go places they haven’t in a long,long time Omaha.

          • Killer_Beeze

            Oh how I remember “Gentle Ben” Williams. The first ‘Black’ Colonel Reb.
            Thank goodness you haven’t ‘strayed’ too far from the pack JB.
            I hope you’re right about Omaha. Coach Bianco needs to either host a regional game (post season) or a trip to Omaha to stay in the good graces of Rebel Nation.
            Gotta go…have a great weekend.

  • Killer_Beeze

    This game is an interesting matchup. Both Ole Miss and Arkansas are struggling to reach the goals they set for themselves this year and both are playing extremely hard. Despite getting beat last week, there was a lot of positive energy on the Arkansas team and Ole Miss does have that quality signature win this year against LSU.
    I think Ole Miss mirrors Auburn–to some degree–offensively, and beats the Razorbacks: 38-17.

  • SPC

    45-17 Ole Miss

  • nonfiction2

    I give Ole Miss the win simply because it’s in Oxford. Arkansas will probably play good for 2 1/2 quarters and eventually the Rebels will find their stride. Ole Miss 35, Arkansas 24.

  • duece

    young men (not kids)… i like that

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