Arkansas has been Ole Miss’ nightmare for two straight seasons. The Rebels get an important chance on Saturday to wake up from the dream.

Two years ago, the Razorbacks destroyed Ole Miss, 30-0. It came three weeks after Laquon Treadwell broke his leg heading into the end zone in what would have been a win over Auburn to catapult the Rebels into a likely Playoff spot. Instead, it was a 35-31 loss that led to embarrassment in Fayetteville and eventually a 42-3 loss to TCU in the Peach Bowl.

Last season, unranked Arkansas pulled off an overtime miracle to hand Ole Miss a 53-52 loss in Oxford. At the time, the Rebels were 7-2 and still in contention in the SEC West. The play that doomed Ole Miss was a 4th-and-25, one in which a backwards pass was picked up after a bounce and taken 31 yards, that led to a touchdown and 2-point conversion for the win.

Flash forward 12 months and Ole Miss is in a similar position. It’s not as similar as the Playoff spot it looked destined for in 2014, but the Rebels are in good shape despite two losses. They are ranked No. 14, and a win on Saturday night in Fayetteville would mean three things for the Rebels.

Still alive in the SEC West: It is still not probable, yet possible for Ole Miss to win the West. Its SEC loss is to Alabama (which beat Arkansas on Saturday). Alabama would have to lose a couple of games, and Ole Miss can’t lose again. To handle their own business, the Rebels have to win out. That starts on Saturday.

A move up the rankings: The Top 25 movement has been insanity. Teams are beating teams that aren’t supposed to on a weekly basis, and teams on a bye are reaping benefits for not playing – unless you’re Louisville. Every Ole Miss win will move the Rebels higher. Wins at Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU combined with the right losses for maybe an Ohio State or Michigan, and who knows? Eventually the top of the Top 25 will be considered for the Playoff’s four, or at worst, New Year’s Six consideration.

Getting revenge: That’s not how coaches will spin it. They may use a phrase like “over the hump.” Either way, it is important for Ole Miss to do something that has held it back from higher goals each of the last two seasons. It’s an endless argument as to where the Rebels would have wound up had they beaten Arkansas each of the past two seasons, but there is no arguing the importance of winning this one if they are to go where they want to go this season.

Based on how Ole Miss has looked against top competition, it would be a big disappointment to allow Arkansas to play spoiler for a third straight season.

The Rebels have jumped out to big leads against all five teams they’ve played this season. The difference has been their ability to hold them in wins over Georgia and Memphis before squandering them against Florida State and Alabama.

The Razorbacks certainly have the firepower to give the Rebels incentive to keep their foot on the gas pedal. After all, Arkansas just got done scoring 30 points against Alabama, throwing for a season-high 400 yards and 3 TDs.

In short, Ole Miss doesn’t have any excuses for not showing up motivated in Fayetteville on Saturday.