FAYETTEVILLE — Mississippi State became the answer to a trivia question on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs were the first team to stand on top of the College Football Playoff’s inaugural poll when it was unveiled on national television.

FAYETTEVILLE — Mississippi State became the answer to a trivia question on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs were the first team to stand on top of the College Football Playoff’s inaugural poll when it was unveiled on national television.


It means Arkansas has an opportunity to make a little bit of history as well when they play the Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. The Razorbacks could become the first team to knock the Playoff’s No. 1 from the top of the poll.


"Obviously we drew No. 1," Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers said about Saturday’s challenge. "So we’re looking forward to it."


It’s the next task on an Arkansas schedule that has lived up to its moniker as the toughest in the nation. The Razorbacks (4-4, 0-4 in SEC) are playing a conference opponent ranked in the top 10 for the fifth straight time, which has never happened in NCAA history according to Arkansas’ research.


Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said it’s a badge of honor to be the first program to venture down that relentless path. But he’d much rather see Arkansas snap its 16-game SEC losing streak against the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 in SEC) no matter the ranking.


"We’re setting all kinds of record for us as far as people that we’re playing, but we came here to set records for wins," Bielema said. "There’s no better opportunity than this week against a very, very talented football team."


It will be the sixth straight season the Razorbacks have played the nation’s top-ranked team. Arkansas is 4-16 all-time against No. 1. Its last win came in the 50-48 triple overtime victory against LSU at the end of the 2007 regular season.


Bielema’s only experience against No. 1 at Arkansas came in last year’s 52-0 loss to Alabama. But he’s confident the Razorbacks are capable of going toe-to-toe with Mississippi State considering what happened last November.


Mississippi State beat Arkansas 24-17 in overtime in Little Rock. The Razorbacks had chances to win the game, but fumbled it away. Mississippi State hasn’t lost since, reeling off 10-straight wins since and has become a national title contender in 2014.


Bielema highlighted Mississippi State’s rapid rise as he prepared his team for Saturday night’s challenge. The message: It wasn’t that long ago the Razorbacks had a chance to beat the Bulldogs. Did they improve that much more than Arkansas?


"That’s kind of him just testing us," said Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams. "We played them a real close game last year and we feel we outworked everybody in the offseason and it doesn’t show on the field. That’s what Coach B was getting at."


To get the results, Arkansas will have to contend with a high-powered offense led by Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott and running back Josh Robinson. Prescott has accounted for 26 touchdowns through seven games (15 passing, 10 rushing, one receiving), while Robinson leads the SEC in rushing yards and has 10 touchdowns.


Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said Robinson will test his team’s tackling. Prescott, meanwhile, will test Arkansas’ ability to contend with a true dual-threat quarterback for the first time since the opener at Auburn.


"We’ve had a lot of time to improve from Week 1," Smith said. "That’s kind of the way we’ve approached it this week. … I know our guys are excited for the opportunity. They’re an excellent offense and it’s going to be an excellent challenge and I think our guys are ready to go."


The Razorbacks will need a similar effort on offense, facing a defense that hasn’t yielded many points (21.6) despite being last in the SEC in yards allowed (439.6).


Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. said the reason is simple: Mississippi State has jumped out to big leads against opponents, forcing them to play catch-up.


"They really haven’t had a down-to-the-wire game yet," Lunney Jr. said. "And the ones they’ve won they’ve won handily a lot of them. So people are by nature throwing the ball more, you know, in the third and fourth quarters. So I think that skews the numbers. … Numbers are numbers.


"I know they play hard and they tackle well and they’ve got a good defense."


It has helped Mississippi State be in control of games throughout the season.


In fact, the Bulldogs have only trailed twice against Alabama-Birmingham and Texas A&M. It covered just 7 minutes, 19 seconds. Kentucky did press Mississippi State in its first test as a No. 1 team last week, but the Bulldogs held firm to win again.


MSU coach Dan Mullen said it was an important test for his team. He knows Arkansas will present another challenge as well despite their SEC struggles.


"I look at Arkansas, and the record might not show this in recent times, but to me, they can play and beat every single team in this conference and do it pretty easily," Mullen said. "With how the program’s going and the talent that they have … You look at them and the style of football they play. They play very, very aggressive defense, a lot of speed on the field. They’re big and physical on offense. They have a great recipe for success, and I think they’ve just got to get over that hump and once they do, you’ll see they can compete with anybody in this league every weekend."


Arkansas, which also has lost 13 straight games to ranked opponents, hopes it shows in Starkville, Miss. The Razorbacks have struggled in SEC play, but defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson said they’re eager about their shot at the top-ranked Bulldogs.


"It’s the No. 1 team in the country and you expect the best effort out of them," Jackson said. "We have a good game plan and the confidence to give it everything we’ve got being the team we know we are."