Mississippi State gets its shot at Johnny Football this week, while Ole Miss gets its shot at bowl eligibility.
MSU and No. 11 Texas A&M will be Saturday’s CBS game at 2:30 p.m., while Ole Miss will play early for the first time this season, entertaining Arkansas with an 11:21 a.m. kickoff.
The Bulldogs will try to bounce back from a 34-16 loss at South Carolina in the second leg of a three-game stretch against top 15-ranked opponents.
Texas A&M has not scored fewer than 41 points in any game this season, and quarterback Johnny Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner and a favorite for this year’s award, leads the SEC in passing yards, pass efficiency, completion percentage and touchdown passes.
The Bulldogs (4-4, 1-3 SEC) are ninth in the SEC in pass defense efficiency.
Manziel didn’t throw a touchdown but rushed for two with 129 yards on 21 carries in the Aggies’ 38-13 win in Starkville a year ago. He was 30 for 36 passing for 311 yards and no interceptions.
Saturday night, Manziel passed for four touchdowns and rushed for two more as the Aggies defeated UTEP 57-7.
The Rebels (5-3, 2-3) have a chance to reach a bowl game for a second straight season, something not achieved since 2008-2009 under Houston Nutt.
Ole Miss will try to become bowl eligible at the expense of Nutt’s former team, Arkansas, which will enter the game on a six-game skid.
Arkansas (3-6, 0-5), in its first season under coach Bret Bielema, scored 33 points in a 12-point loss to Texas A&M on the SEC’s opening weekend. Since then the Razorbacks closest margin of defeat has been 18 points in its 35-17 loss to Auburn in Fayetteville on Saturday night.
Auburn jumped out to a 28-3 lead, and Arkansas closed the gap to 28-17 before the Tigers tacked on another score.
Arkansas is third in the SEC in rushing offense at 211.2 yards a game but last in passing offense.