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AP photo by Michael Woods / LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire runs past Arkansas defender Terrell Collins during their SEC West matchup in November 2018 in Fayetteville, Ark., a 24-17 victory for LSU. The top-ranked Tigers host the struggling Razorbacks on Saturday.

Saturday's Arkansas-LSU football game could make Southeastern Conference history before it even kicks off.

The top-ranked Tigers opened this past Sunday as 46-point favorites, with the line having shifted to 44 as of Wednesday. The largest point spread at kickoff ever between two SEC teams according to ESPN research was 43, when Florida was a decided favorite going to Vanderbilt in 1996.

It's the debut for Razorbacks interim coach Barry Lunney, who not only is facing the torrid Tigers but has to play them in Baton Rouge at night.

"I guess you go all in, right?" Lunney said Monday in his weekly news conference. "It is what it is, and our approach would be the same if we were playing Portland State again. It's about us playing our best football game that we've played all season. Period. End of story.

"It just so happens that we're playing the best team in the country. They're very complete. You've got a team playing confidently, and everybody sees it."

Arkansas had an open date last weekend, and Lunney said the team needed it to "get healed up psychologically, physically and emotionally" following the firing of former coach Chad Morris after a 45-19 loss to Western Kentucky.

The Razorbacks rested with a 2-8 record, while Ed Orgeron's Tigers improved to 10-0 with a 58-37 win at Ole Miss. Orgeron expects to get the best from Arkansas, and he insists there will be no overconfidence from his Tigers

"A regular team would have overconfidence and letdowns, but we had a 21-point victory over Ole Miss, and I was the only one happy in the locker room," Orgeron said Wednesday. "The guys were not happy with their performance. Joe (Burrow) had two interceptions, so he was not happy. The defense was not happy.

"At this point of the season, we're competing with ourselves and playing to LSU's standard of performance. When we do that, we feel like we're going to be fine."

The 1996 Commodores gave their all against a Florida team that won that season's national championship, falling just 28-21. It was a similar result last year when LSU went to Arkansas and prevailed just 24-17.

"We're not going to underestimate them," Orgeron said. "They always play well against LSU."

Pasquali's Pix

N.C. State at Georgia Tech: These teams are a combined 2-11 in league play, so they're out of the running for the unanswerable question "Who is the second-best ACC team this season behind Clemson?" Wolfpack 20, Yellow Jackets 17.

Western Carolina at Alabama: The Crimson Tide have been in the top five of the Associated Press poll for a record 67 consecutive weeks. The Catamounts are 3-8. Crimson Tide 59, Catamounts 6.

Samford at Auburn: The Tigers are 27-0-1 lifetime against the Bulldogs, with the tie coming in 1927, when Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson were freshmen. Tigers 48, Bulldogs 19.

UTC at VMI: A triumph by the Mocs would make Rusty Wright the winningest first-year UTC coach since Bill Oliver went 8-3 in 1980. Mocs 27, Keydets 24.

Texas A&M at Georgia: The Bulldogs were the time-of-possession kings of the SEC until the Aggies had the ball for more than 41 minutes last week against South Carolina. Bulldogs 24, Aggies 17.

ETSU at Vanderbilt: Derek Mason's Commodores are seeking their ninth straight win over an in-state team. Commodores 27, Buccaneers 16.

Arkansas at LSU: The expected win will give the Tigers just their second 7-0 SEC record in program history. Tigers 44, Razorbacks 19.

Tennessee at Missouri: Nobody, and I mean nobody, beats Tennessee 50-17 three straight years. Volunteers 20, Tigers 13.

Other picks:

Kentucky 49, UT-Martin 6

Mississippi State 48, Abilene Christian 9

Wake Forest 34, Duke 25

Virginia 47, Liberty 22

Notre Dame 42, Boston College 21

North Carolina 45, Mercer 10

Virginia Tech 31, Pittsburgh 28

Louisville 30, Syracuse 17

Miami 33, Florida International 24

Oklahoma 36, TCU 23

Ohio State 38, Penn State 16

Texas 35, Baylor 31

Michigan 27, Indiana 20

Wisconsin 32, Purdue 13

Appalachian State 41, Texas State 18

Memphis 39, South Florida 14

MTSU 24, Old Dominion 7

Last week:

Winners — 22

Blown leads — 3

Pasquali is 238-62 overall (79.3%) this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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