Remember the Arkansas Razorbacks? Yes, that same Southeastern Conference team that boasted a Top 10 ranking in the preseason and even had national title hopes back in August. Well, after opening the season 1-4, Arkansas is one win away from clawing its way back to the .500 mark and pushing to contend for a bowl bid.
The Razorbacks have reeled off back-to-back wins, defeating the Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats. Arkansas, however, must win three of the last five games on its schedule to even be bowl eligible. The Ole Miss Rebels await the Razorbacks. Arkansas and Ole Miss will meet on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Ark.
To ultimately become bowl eligible, in addition to defeating Ole Miss and non-conference counterpart Tulsa, Arkansas will have to pull off last one upset win in the second half of the regular-season. Can head man John L. Smith guide the Razorbacks to wins in three of the season’s last five games?
The Arkansas offense, with veteran quarterback Tyler Wilson leading the way, continues to show improvement. Arkansas has scored 73 points in its last two games, wins over SEC rivals Auburn and Kentucky. Plus, the Arkansas defense, the same unit that gave up 34 or more points in each of its four losses, looks totally different. Arkansas (3-4 overall, 2-2 SEC) limited Auburn and Kentucky to seven points apiece.
Arkansas enjoyed an open date last week. The open date came after the Razorbacks dismantled visiting Kentucky 49-7 in a shortened game on Oct. 13. Arkansas likely made the most of open date in preparation for a formidable Ole Miss football team. In addition to Auburn, Ole Miss (4-3 overall, 2-2 SEC) has defeated the Central Arkansas Bears, UTEP Miners and Tulane Green Wave, none of whom are college football powerhouses. But what Ole Miss has done that is impressive is push the Texas A&M Aggies and hold its own against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Four of Arkansas’ final five games are against SEC opponents. Following a homecoming game versus the Tulsa Golden Hurricane next week, Arkansas will line up against the South Carolina Gamecocks, Mississippi State Bulldogs and LSU Tigers, all of whom will be favored. The Hogs have their work cut out for them, but becoming bowl eligible is still possible.