In a clash of ranked un-defeated teams in Gainesville last night, Ole Miss found out just how hard it is to be the top dog in the SEC.
The upstart Gators who just entered the top 25 rankings over the last week made the most of their chance to knock off #3 Ole Miss and did so in convincing fashion 38 to 10.
The score, as lop-sided as it looks, was not really indicative of how the game played out. Florida looked even better than the 28 point advantage.
Every facet of the game was controlled by Florida except first downs. The most important stat, turnovers, was led by Ole Miss with four.
It’s obvious that as good as Ole Miss has been over the last year or two they are still not ready to full fill their ultimate goal of winning championships.
Florida is a good team but it is unlikely they will win their division, which is the weaker side of the SEC.
The biggest opponent Ole Miss faced yesterday was themselves and controlling the big pressure moment.
It’s easier to get fired up as a underdog. You feel disrespected, you want to prove yourself, you want the higher ranking that your opponent holds.
As the favorite, you have a target squarely on your back. You feel the pressure to perform and if anything goes wrong, doubt and uncertainly starts to creep into your psyche.
The execution that came so effortless against Alabama when Ole Miss was the underdog seems impossible when the roles are reversed and you are the hunted in a hostile crowd.
Ole Miss will have a couple of non-conference games coming up against New Mexico and Memphis and should be 6-1 as they prepare for Texas A&M in Oxford on October 24th.
No one expected Ole Miss to be undefeated at this point in the season anyway and one loss to a East division SEC team does not prevent you from reaching any of your goals as a team.
The challenge going forward remains the same for this Ole Miss team. Can you execute when your back is against the wall, when everything is going against you.
In order for Ole Miss to “exercise the demons” of last years collapse, they must rebound mentally over the next couple of weeks and do their job when they have the chance.
They will have another chance.