Friday, October 16, 2009

Dr. Saturday On Similarities Between '09 Arkansas and '08 Ole Miss

I had also called '09 Arkansas the most likely candidate for our annual SEC West upset. One big difference that should be added to this scenario is that Ole Miss played a close game with the Gators in '07, whereas Florida at Arkansas last year wasn't close (though it was for awhile).

From here:

• Arkansas at Florida.
Arkansas was already designated the Official "Trap" Game of Florida's mythical championship run, a status the Razorbacks solidified by hanging unbeaten Auburn out to dry last week, 44-23. With that score, the 'Hogs have put up 40-plus as underdogs against Georgia, Texas A&M and Auburn in a four-week span, and continue to look alarmingly like the Ole Miss outfit that upset Florida at home last year. The scenarios are a little eerie:

• Florida is coming off a big road win. (Over Tennessee in '08; over LSU in '09).
• Ole Miss, while not hyped at all coming into the season, returned four starting offensive linemen, a deep set of maturing receivers with a lot of catches to their name and eight starters on defense from 2007. Arkansas, with only slightly more respect coming into this season, returned three offensive linemen, a deep set of maturing receivers with a lot of catches to their name and nine starters on defense. from 2008
• Both teams have revamped offenses built around a big, hyped slinger who transferred from his original destination. (Jevan Snead in '08; Ryan Mallett in '09)
• Ole Miss consistently hit Tim Tebow with one of the best rushers in the SEC, Greg Hardy, who had two sacks and made the cover of Sports Illustrated on another hurry. Arkansas has one of the best pass rushers in the SEC in Malcolm Sheppard, who already has three sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss despite drawing more attention following his All-SEC breakout as a junior.

Still, Ole Miss needed three Gator fumbles and a missed extra point to pull out an improbable win then. Even if Arkansas gets that kind of fortune, the otherwise high-flying Razorback offense was tied up in a burlap sack and beaten within in an inch of its life in a 35-7 loss at Alabama, and the only defense on par with 'Bama's at the moment is the one the 'Hogs get here Saturday.

(Dr. Saturday predicted a 38-18 Florida win over Arkansas.)

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