It was a more interesting day on Saturday than I anticipated, as Arkansas, who I did not even preview, picked up a big win and gave themselves an outside shot at contending for a bowl game. In all, 3 SEC teams picked up their magical 6th win, Auburn is down to a gossamer thread of hope, and Tennessee has failed in Phase 1 of their quest to win their last 4 games. Let's pick up the action.
Ole MIss 17
If you were playing the percentages, you would have guessed the game would go almost exactly this way. Neither team moved the ball well, but Auburn moved it even worse than Ole Miss did.
Actually, Auburn passed for a LOT of yards, but also threw 3 costly interceptions, all in the second half when Auburn was trying to pass to get quick scores. All three interceptions occurred when Auburn had the ball on the Ole Miss side of the field, and 2 of them occurred when Auburn was throwing to the goal line.
I don't think either of these teams looked very good, but I think Ole Miss is definitely going to a bowl now. Auburn has to pull an upset of either Georgia or Bama if they want to get a shot.
A pass-happy game it was, as Casey Dick passed for almost 400 yards, and had two different 100 yard receivers. For the first time since the Texas blowout, Arkansas running back MIchael Smith did not have a productive day by his standards, accounting for only 89 yards of offense. Considering he is the entirety of their running game, that's bad.
I'm not going to try to describe the action, but Arkansas may well have resurrected their season with this win. They sit at 4-5 with South Carolina, Mississippi State, and LSU remaining on the schedule. None of those teams are unbeatable, even us. Right now, I would put their chances at making a bowl at about 25%, but we'll see.
Mississippi State 13
In a virtually offense-free game, Kentucky won on a blocked extra point in the 4th quarter. OK, that's not quite accurate, because there was almost a full 14 minutes left to play when that block occurred, and Mississippi State got the ball 3 more times after that, and had a chance to take the lead with a 27 yard field goal and missed.
It was not an impressive offensive performance by either team, as Kentucky had a total of 274 yards, more-or-less evenly split between rushing and passing, and Mississippi State had virtually no running game all night.
Kentucky is now bowl-eligible, with remaining games against Georgia (loss), Vandy, and Tennessee. Eight wins is possible, and that could get them into the Outback Bowl or the Peach Bowl.
Arkansas St. 0
A good all-around game for Bama, with one defensive touchdown, lots of rushing yards, and a pedestrian passing game. With the Texas Tech win over Texas last night and a quietly dominating performance by the Crimson Tide here, Alabama is heading to Baton Rouge as the #1 team in the country next week.