FAYETTEVILLE -- You could tell who Ryan Mallett had played just by looking at him.
Mississippi State. It was all over his face. The scrapes, the bruises, the nose discolored.
That's how most Arkansas quarterbacks have looked after battling the Bulldogs.
Certainly that's how Mallett, even basking in a five-touchdown passes victory, looked in Little Rock after the Razorbacks won 42-21 last Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
To old Razorbacks remembering the Southwest Conference, Mississippi State is the SEC equivalent to the Baylor Bears and Texas A&M Aggies.
With Texas, and late in SWC life the Houston Cougars, Arkansas was annually apt to face a better SWC team than Baylor and the Aggies, but none dealing more lasting aches and pains.
Same versus Mississippi State in a league with Alabama, Florida, LSU, etc.
Those aches might not sideline players entirely, but they can still carry over into the next game.
Still remember Arkansas running back Cedric Cobbs as a freshman in 1999 asked for the first time to be the bell cow back against Mississippi State.
Cobbs excelled against Mississippi State but then was too stove up to run effectively when the Hogs got routed the next game at LSU.
That's an Arkansas concern heading to LSU for next Saturday's SEC season 6 p.m. finale Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
Especially the Arkansas defense, it would seem.
Defensively, the Hogs gave better than they got blanking the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter but were rocked by Mississippi State's ground-gobbling, triple option game third quarter.
Just a grinding 11-play 94-yard drive alone the Bulldogs crunched likely has some Arkansas defenders aching from pains they didn't fully realize until awakening the next day.
Nevertheless, it beats how the LSU Tigers must be feeling.
Coach Les Miles' Tigers lost in chaos, 25-23, last Saturday at Ole Miss.
They unsuccessfully tried to organize in time to spike the ball rather than line up for a field goal as the game's final second ticked away with LSU on the Ole Miss 6.
A precious 17 seconds were previously wasted when the Tigers thought they had called and received a timeout they didn't realize hadn't been acknowledged by officials.
The comedy of errors likely is to be played out nationally on the late-night talk shows.
Not to mention recalled with venom in Louisiana coffee shops and on LSU message boards.
Considering Miles' Tigers were 2007 national champions, last year's 8-5 team, including an upset loss in Little Rock to an Arkansas team that upset Arkansas in 2007 in Baton Rouge, didn't render them too happy coming into 2009.
Now they've frittered one to Ole Miss few are apt to let them forget.
They would seem a most unhappy at 8-3, 4-3 in the SEC West, much unhappier than Arkansas' 7-4, 3-4, SEC West.
Bobby Petrino's Razorbacks, only 5-7, 2-5 last year, are bowl bound better than last year on a four-game winning streak they never had last year and feeling great about themselves no matter their aches post Mississippi State.
However, they won't feel so good if they misjudge LSU.
The David Lettermans and Conan O'Briens this week might ask, "how many LSU Tigers does it take to tell time?"
But the 17th-ranked Tigers still have the raw talent right up with there with nationally one-two Florida and Alabama.
And that's no joke.