There is the thought that the No. 9 LSU Tigers might be ripe for an upset Saturday when they face the Arkansas Razorbacks at 6:30 p.m. on Senior Night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
At leas that is the hope of all Razorback faithful who are heading to Fayetteville for the final home game of the season and those that will be tuning in to watch the SEC Network telecast.
Ed Ogeron’s Tigers (7-2, 4-2 SEC) are a 13.5-point favorite over Chad Morris’ Hogs (2-7, 0-5 SEC). It will indeed be an upset, a monumental one, in fact, if the Hogs were to win. That said the Hogs have pulled off unexpected victories in the past.
Next up for the Razorbacks
Opponent: vs. LSU
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
Where: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville
TV: SEC Network
Nov. 17 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 23 – at Missouri
A very bad Razorbacks team knocked off No. 4 Tennessee, 25-24, at Knoxville in the midst of a horrible 3-6-1 year in 1993, and Bobby Petrino’s first Arkansas squad in 2008 provided fans with a hope-for-the-future, comeback win in 2008 to reach five wins by edging LSU, 31-30, in Little Rock.
Matt Jones and DeCori Birmingham connected for a late touchdown pass in 2002 to perform the Miracle on Markham that gave the Razorbacks a 21-20 victory over Nick Saban’s No. 18 Tigers.
Just before his golden handcuffs were released in 2007, Houston Nutt rallied Darren McFadden and the rest of the Hogs for an outstanding road upset of the No. 1 Tigers, 50-48, in a three-overtime game in Baton Rouge.
Even Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks scored an unexpected shutout upset of LSU, 17-0, in 2014 for his first SEC victory at Arkansas after losing 13 consecutive SEC games as Arkansas’ head coach.
There is also precedent for otherwise solid teams to whimper and wilt playing in Arkansas’ late-season cold weather. It’s supposed to be fairly clear and 40 degrees at kickoff, but the temperature is expected to dip into the low 30s rather quickly.
In 1975, the No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies buckled on a cold December day in Little Rock against a very good Razorback squad that went on to win the Cotton Bowl for Frank Broyles.
Ken Hatfield’s first Razorbacks squad crushed a highly touted Aggie team, 28-0, amidst a very cold November rain in 1984. I’ve never seen a Razorback opponent roll up into a ball so quickly.
This game will be a character test of sorts for the Tigers. LSU played and fought hard against Alabama last week, arguably giving the Crimson Tide their stiffest test of the season, but it was all for naught with Alabama posting a decisive 29-0 victory.
In the span of about three hours, Alabama ground LSU’s hopes for an SEC title and a possible shot at the national title into dust. One could understand a psychological letdown by the Tigers this week, but I’m not sure if it is realistic for Hog fans to count on it.
The big question for Arkansas, though, is even if LSU is down in the dumps Saturday and plays poorly would it be enough to get the Razorbacks over the top?
This Razorback squad has shown its character all season, and frankly it has been lacking.
Truly unexplainable losses to Colorado State and North Texas started the Hogs rolling down hill in September, and while there has been some offensive improvement apparent in spurts, it hasn’t been consistent enough for Arkansas to leverage it into a SEC victory.
The last time we saw the Razorbacks, it was to watch Vanderbilt pummel them in the fourth quarter for a 45-31 victory. It’s hard to imagine that one open week could make that much of a change in this team’s mentality to go from losing to Vanderbilt to beating LSU.
As much as I hate to say it, LSU probably has enough talent to just go through the motions and beat this Razorback team, based on what we have seen up to this point in the season.
The single advantage Arkansas has is the home crowd. Maybe the Hogs fans can make a difference? Maybe the crowd can inspire a group of seniors to play their best ball of the season in their final game at Razorbacks Stadium? In turn maybe the play of those seniors will incite the rest of the Razorbacks to follow suit and play above their heads?
It might not be likely, but as long as the game is going to be played, there is a chance.