Ole Miss vs. Arkansas is a Win-Win for Bulldogs


Nov 15, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Fans take pictures of the Arkansas Razorbacks mascot “Tusk IV” before the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State fans will be focusing their attention on the Bulldogs’ game with the Vanderbilt Commodores at 6:30 tonight. But the game tonight is against easily the worst team in the SEC, it’s at Davis Wade Stadium, and it’s senior night. The Bulldogs are favorites by 30.5 points and the game is more about how much Mississippi State will win by than it is if Mississippi State will actually win. So what will Mississippi State fans do in the mean time?

Most will turn their attention to the Ole Miss and Arkansas game on CBS this afternoon. It’s a tricky game for Ole Miss. They are the better team by most accounts, but Arkansas finally got an SEC win last week against LSU. The Hogs will be playing with more confidence, and they are playing in front of a raucous home crowd in Fayetteville. It should be a good game, as the Rebels are only a three point favorite.

The game presents a dilemma for Mississippi State fans. We love to see our Bulldogs win more than anything else, but we always enjoy watching the Rebels lose. And that’s a problem this week. If Ole Miss loses, the Rebels will enter the Egg Bowl with 3 losses and somewhere around 15th in the College Football Playoff Rankings. If State were able to beat the Rebels, a higher ranked Ole Miss team would look better on the Bulldogs’ body of work than a win over team that is clinging to stay in the Top 25. The pessimist would see this as a no win situation. Bulldogs fans can’t bring themselves to root for the Rebels, but they also don’t want to actively cheer for something that will damage the Bulldogs. I say, lets be optimists. And here is how we do it.

If the Rebels win: This works out great for the Bulldogs. The Rebels will likely not move up in the rankings next week unless Ohio State, Baylor, or TCU lose this week. I’m going to assume all those teams still have one loss after today, so Ole Miss would stay at 8 if they won in Fayetteville. This just gives Mississippi State a chance to make a statement in the Egg Bowl, and then we can all pull like crazy for Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

If the Razorbacks win: This also works out great for the Bulldogs. The Rebels will have lost which always makes most Mississippi State fans happy. The Razorbacks also will have just handed the Rebels their third loss in four games. The Rebels’ dreams of making it to the SEC Championship, College Football Playoff, or even a New Years’ Six bowl will be gone. The only thing the Rebels would have to play for is a chance to spoil the Bulldogs’ season. That can normally be a solid motivator, but it normally only works for teams that haven’t had much to play for all season. Look at what happened to Alabama last year in the Sugar Bowl. Their dreams were crushed, and the Crimson Tide laid an egg on the national stage.

So what should you do? Whatever makes you feel the happiest. If you just can’t bring yourself to pull for the Rebels, then take solace in knowing that it probably makes the Egg Bowl that much easier for the Bulldogs. If you feel like you have to pull for the Rebels because it could have a great impact on the Bulldogs’ season, just know that your effort will be rewarded if you do with a meaningful result for Mississippi State. Whatever happens in Fayetteville, just know that the optimist knows that any result is a good thing for the Bulldogs.