Arkansas Is This Year's Ole Miss, And Not In A Good Way

↵ Last year, Ole Miss was a top-ten darling after 2008 ended with a late charge that saw them pants LSU 31-13 on the road and beat an 11-1 Texas Tech team by 13. They redeemed a 3-4 start by winning out, Jevan Snead was headed for the first round of the NFL draft, and for the first time since integration Ole Miss was going to have a really, really good football team. ↵

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↵This didn't so much happen. Ole Miss finished with the same 9-4 record in 2009 thanks in large part to a miserable nonconference schedule featuring two I-AA teams, 2-10 Memphis, and 5-7 UAB. The Rebels were .500 in the SEC and lost the Egg Bowl by two touchdowns against a typically impotent Mississippi State outfit. Jevan Snead entered the draft early, only to be passed over entirely. ↵

↵

↵This year's Ole Miss, at least as far as upstart SEC programs getting "this ballot isn't last year's ballot" votes in a lot of preseason polls, is Arkansas. The Razorbacks have the touted junior-to-be quarterback that NFL teams are supposedly drooling over (although in Ryan Mallett's case his close resemblance to an artillery weapon will see him, you know, drafted, even if he has a Snead-like addiction to living dangerously), the season-ending push, and the bowl win. Well… sort of. Arkansas's bowl win was not over a one-loss top five team but East Carolina, and the season-ending explosion came against Eastern Michigan, South Carolina, Troy, Mississippi State, and LSU, with the LSU game that finished the regular season an actual loss. But by God, Ryan Mallett can throw it through a wall. ↵

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↵A couple folk have set about knocking down Arkansas's status as a preseason darling already, and here's another brick in the wall: ↵

↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥⇥ ↵⇥ ↵
 20092008200720062005200420032002
Alabama1964786115
Arkansas15-94-4-1-31114
Auburn1-805-3419
Florida722551847-9
Georgia-16-39-111-2118
Kentucky25-115-9-2-1-17
LSU4-1200-9-25-1
Ole Miss-7-2-10-3-5-365
Miss. St.-5-40-52-1-21-15
S. Carolina-4-11-7-2217-5
Tennessee3270-7632
Vanderbilt39-2-2-24-10-14
↵

↵Turnover margin is widely regarded as a near-random event thing and this chart shows that well. There is a tendency for good teams to have positive turnover margins because they have veteran quarterbacks and defenses that put pressure on the other guy's QB, but even good teams with hugely positive turnover margins see those regress towards the mean. Usually wildly. ↵

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↵Arkansas, obviously, bounced up a whopping 22 turnovers and will now be sliding back into the back, in all likelihood. Having a veteran quarterback will help, but not enough to keep that turnover margin at 15. The Tebow child returned this year for Florida and the Gators' margin plummeted from +22 to +7. ↵

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↵Arkansas this year is likely to be Arkansas last year: wildly erratic, capable of beating anyone in the league, capable of losing to anyone. On the other hand, may I turn your attention to Georgia? ↵

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↵(H/T to The War Eagle Reader) ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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