Stepping up in the bowls: Arkansas

Arkansas ended the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the SEC. Now the Hogs try to keep it going in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.

It's Arkansas' first-ever trip to a BCS bowl and the first time the Hogs have been to the Sugar Bowl since 1980.

Who needs to step up?

Arkansas junior quarterback Ryan Mallett: A no-brainer, right? Mallett played brilliantly down the stretch and was a big reason the Hogs ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak. He passed for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns and is a lock to be a first-round draft choice next April if he chooses to come out, which he almost certainly will. But in Arkansas' two losses this season, Mallett didn't have big games. He threw three interceptions against Alabama, including two costly picks in the second half. And against Auburn, he was knocked out of the game in the first half with a concussion. Ohio State will be one of the best defenses Mallett has faced this season. The Buckeyes lost their nickel safety, Tyler Moeller, to an injury back in October, but have remained rock-solid against the pass. They're ranked fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense and have given up just seven touchdown passes all season, which is tied with Miami for the fewest in the country. The Buckeyes play a lot of their nickel defense and will probably be in that alignment for most of the game against the Hogs. Mallett has been a master at spreading the ball around, and he's gotten better at dumping the ball off to his backs. He's also used tight end D.J. Williams a lot more this season. The Hogs will need Mallett at his best to win this game.