Let me say this is more about predicting patterns within the game than predicting the outcome. I do not expect Ole Miss to win.
That being said, upsets happen, and here is how one could happen for Ole Miss against Arkansas Saturday morning.
One, the Rebels tackle better. When you have a clean shot in the backfield against the opponent's top running back, as Justin Smith did against Trent Richardson, you have to make the stop or at least slow him down long enough for help to arrive.
Arkansas doesn't have nearly the run game that Alabama has. In fact, the Razorbacks have been quite average in the run game, but average beats bad, and the Rebels have been bad against the run. Yes, Alabama is very good, but not 389 yards good, and that's what the Tide had against Ole Miss. Jalston Fowler? That was Alabama's third back with 125 yards and two touchdowns.
If there's been a bright spot defensively for Ole Miss it's been the pass defense. Still, teams have been able to complete passes at a high percentage. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, like Alabama's A.J. McCarron, protects the football. Wilson has thrown 12 touchdown passes this year, just three picks.
The Ole Miss secondary has been much better with grabbing interceptions this year but had none against the Tide. Also, the Rebels go into this game with a different look at corner, probably a committee deal involving a mix of Charles Sawyer and freshmen Nick Brassell and Senquez Golson. Using Sawyer at corner means not using him at safety where he's been very productive.
Wilson spreads the ball around to a number of very good receivers. One of them, Greg Childs, is getting back to full strength after knee surgery.
It will be interesting to see if the off-field issues have an impact. Within the last week the Rebels have had four suspensions, a dismissal and two key injuries. How hard will the suspended guys play now that they're back? Will Brandon Bolden make a difference? Arkansas has been susceptible to the run.
The Rebels have to have a run game to have a chance to win. Get the play-action passing game going, move the chains and keep the Ole Miss defense off the field.
That will be the recipe for success. It could happen, but in the end I suspect Arkansas will get it done in the air. That Hogs have scored at least 38 points against every opponent except Alabama.
This game still means a lot to Houston Nutt. Nutt has a reputation for getting us players up for big games and pulling off an upset, but that really hasn't happened since November of 2009 against LSU. Not sure he has the hosses to get the Hogs this time.
Arkansas 42, Ole Miss 21