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Arkansas Facing Mississippi State Needing SEC Win in Worst Way

After starting 4-0, the Razorbacks have lost three straight in league and are at the bottom of the SEC West

Sam Pittman knows the record and where Arkansas stands in the SEC West pecking order headed into the final month of the season.

He's just hoping the bye week has re-energized the Razorbacks.

After a perfect start in September it took a game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff from the SWAC to salvage at least one win in October.

That caught some people by surprise.

"The West is a beast," he said this week.

Now comes Mississippi State, ranked 17th in the first College Football Playoff rankings and that basically makes anything else not relevant. The media and coaches' polls simply don't matter.

De'Vion Warren

Hogs wide receiver De'Vion Warren

The Hogs expected to be where the Bulldogs are right now. All 5-3 records don't mean the same thing headed into November.

"We’re still not there with Mississippi State because they’ve won several (league games)," Pittman said. "I think they’re one of the few teams that’s beat three Top 25 teams in the country."

Well, really, it's two they've beaten. At least as of right now. 

"That’s a pretty darn good resume and I think that’s why they’re ranked 17th in this latest poll that came out last night and well-deserving," Pittman said.

The Bulldogs have gotten better as the season goes along. They are playing better now than they were earlier in the season.

Championship teams do that. The worst thing to see is a team play it's best game of the year in the opener.

Arkansas' opener wasn't that great, but it may have been the second week when they rode an emotional wave to a huge win over Texas.

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While some fans are okay with that (yes, there are some that would almost take a 1-11 record if they beat the Longhorns).

The Razorbacks need a win over Mississippi State, a team that has been steadily improving as Mike Leach has come up with a scheme to do what his players can actually do.

Blake Kern

Hogs tight end Blake Kern

He doesn't try to fit everybody into his system. Most people don't notice he adapts it to the personnel.

The Bulldogs are actually a running team, they just get the ball to the running backs through the air instead of a hand-off.

With the Hogs' secondary that has gotten burned almost every game this year, that may be seriously tested Saturday afternoon.

For Arkansas to get back to considering being a contender in the SEC West they have to get back to beating Mississippi State.

In the first 20 years the Hogs were in the SEC, they were 15-4-1 against the Bulldogs.

Since 2012, Arkansas is 2-7 against State. Those two wins came in 2016 and 2020.

The Hogs are sitting at 5-3 with their best defensive player (Jalen Catalon) gone for the season. It's a secondary that has given up big passing plays all season. Texas missed several deep shots to wide open receivers.

A win will take some pressure off and could set up a big November to remember.

A loss and, well, you don't want to have Missouri coming into town the day after Thanksgiving and the Hogs desperately needing a win for a bowl game.

That might not be pretty.

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