This weekend, both the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Mississippi State football team are seeking to get their first SEC win of the season.
One key storyline that should not get ignored as the Mississippi State Bulldogs head northwest to Fayetteville, Arkansas is that Zach Arnett’s team is searching for its first win against a Southeastern Conference team this season.
The Bulldogs are 3-3, but they’re currently 0-3 against fellow SEC programs this season.
Interestingly enough, Sam Pittman’s Arkansas Razorbacks find themselves in a similar circumstance this week. Arkansas is just 2-5 on the year right now and the Razorbacks are 0-4 in SEC play.
That said, while State’s record is marginally better (in reality it’s actually just not as dreadful, there’s nothing particularly “better” about the Bulldogs’ record right now, but it depends on how you want to frame things), the Razorbacks have put up a better fight against SEC teams in their losses than the Bulldogs have.
So far, both MSU and Arkansas have faced a couple of opponents in common: Brian Kelly’s LSU Tigers and Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Bulldogs weren’t remotely competitive in either of those games, losing by scores of 41-14 and 40-17 respectively. Meanwhile, Pittman managed to make Kelly and Saban work for their wins as Arkansas fell by margins of 34-31 and 24-21 respectively.
Mississippi State football vs. Arkansas Razorbacks: Both Bulldogs and Razorbacks looking to bounce back in SEC West
Now, it should be noted that those scores don’t necessarily translate over to this game. There are a number of things that influence those games playing out the way they did and the human element is a rather large one.
One huge thing working in the Bulldogs’ favor right now is that MSU is coming off of a bye week and should theoretically be a little more rested and a little more prepared for this matchup. Arkansas, meanwhile, has played seven games without anything that resembles a break.
We’ll see if that ultimately matters though.
This game is huge for both the Bulldogs and the Razorbacks as these teams try to make it to a bowl game and finish the season strong. Given what’s up ahead for both programs, it seems unlikely that the loser will make it to a bowl game.
The Razorbacks have lost five straight games after starting the year at 2-0. There’s a lot of pressure on Pittman and Arkansas to get things turned around in a hurry. MSU, at 0-3 in SEC play, is fresh off of a bye week. The Bulldogs, like the Razorbacks, have underachieved this season, but this is a great chance for either of these programs to get fan morale back up and pressure off of their coaches.
This matchup is huge for Arnett, MSU offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay, and MSU defensive coordinator Matt Brock. This is one of the few remaining opportunities for the Bulldogs to show they can compete in the SEC, get a win to build some positive momentum, and to go 3-0 in October as Arnett has expressed a desire to do.
The Bulldogs can’t afford to not capitalize on this opportunity.