Tag Archives: MIRS

AP Photo.  LM Otero

Ole Miss vs NCAA: Compare Penalties in the SEC

There is a simple reality we must face as fans of a small market school in a monster college football conference. The rules don’t always apply equally to every school.  Some teams get a pass from the NCAA and some teams pay the price.

(See this article in the next edition of REBEL NATION Magazine!)

If you are on a championship pace and making the conference a lot of money, potential violations and investigations can get put on the shelf or minimized. If your star QB is signing autographs for cash or his daddy is shopping your services to the highest bidder, sometimes the SEC will turn a blind eye for the good of the whole.  And if boosters get real wild, the SEC can always pound on MSU or Ole Miss to make an example for Alabama and LSU.

That should teach ‘em a lesson!

Here is a look back in time at egregious rules violations that never seemed to get any traction from the NCAA investigators.

Compared to these cases, I expect Ole Miss to only lose 7-8 scholarships in their upcoming meeting with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

2004 LSU’s Academic Scandal

Nick Saban gets embroiled in a systematic grade changing scheme unveiled by a University instructor.

The LSU football team academic culture was “appalling” and “like Romper Room” stated the LSU professor in sworn testimony.

Backed up by graduate students and academic advisors, the academic fraud included plagiarized papers, un-enrolled students showing up to take notes and players that often slept in class.

Current NCAA president Mark Emmert, then LSU Chancellor, went to bat for the coach he hired; the coach that made him the highest paid University President at the time. He also went to bat for his own career as he was on an upward trajectory to Indianapolis.

Emmert “investigated” the claims of the academic staff and per USA Today, Emmert found only five minor isolated problems, resulting in self-imposed penalties of two lost scholarships in football.

LSU’s 82 page report on the investigations said, “the allegations were largely unfounded.”

The NCAA accepted Emmert’s investigation and declined to even place LSU on probation.

The academic staff sued the University after being wrongfully terminated.

Under oath, a witness in the case stated the LSU investigation was “whitewashed” to minimize the damage. They interviewed the people they wanted to.  It was typical damage control.”

The attorney for the plaintiffs said academic fraud is systemic at LSU. The University settled with the two women for over $110,000 each according to the USA Today article. (“Digging into the past of NCAA president Mark Emmert”, April 2, 2013, Brent Schrotenboer)

The SEC and LSU was rewarded soon after with a national championship in Baton Rouge in 2004.

2011 Auburn’s Golden Child

Cam Newton is a once in a generational type QB that was forced out at Florida as a freshman due to his possession of stolen property. Even with his questionable background, he was a highly valued “free agent” looking for a place to play for the 2010 season.

Cam’s dad Cecil Newton took the opportunity to shop his son’s eligibility to the highest bidder.

According to investigation documents in the Associated Press article, Mississippi State booster Kenny Rogers worked with Cecil to solicit between $120,000 to $180,000 from MSU for the services of Cam Newton.

(“Auburn releases Cam Newton Docs,” November 5, 2011 AP Reports)

Cam eventually chose to play at Auburn University and according to Auburn University, they were never propositioned for payments.

Auburn’s argument against NCAA penalties for Cam’s illegal recruitment to the NCAA was Kenny Rogers was not a legal agent for Cam. They allege the player never had a written or verbal agreement for Rogers or his dad to act on his behalf.  Rogers was allegedly not paid for his role in the pay for play scheme.

The NCAA investigation found Rogers and Cecil did approach other schools for Cam’s services, specifically Oklahoma and Kansas State.

During the 13 month investigation that coincided with an undefeated season for Auburn and was headed for a Heisman trophy and another national championship for the SEC, the NCAA’s Academic and Membership affairs staff declared Cam Newton ineligible to play on November 30, 2010.

Surprisingly, the NCAA reversed this decision and allowed Cam to play in the SEC championship game the very next day.

The NCAA’s paper thin excuse was Cam didn’t know his father was doing anything nefarious and they couldn’t find any contact between Auburn and Rogers or Cecil during the recruitment.

There were never any penalties for Cam Newton’s recruitment. Cam never missed a game and no other schools were investigated for the proven pay for play plan.

Alabama. (Multiple years over multiple coaches)

Alabama is dirty. That is not an opinion, it’s just a statement of fact.

Even though the Crimson Tide is the most penalized school in the SEC’s history, much of their actual penalties are far smaller than the actual violations. (“NCAA Ruling Indicates a Turning Tide,” June 11, 2009 Ivan Maisel)

1993. Gene Stalling’s hides the fact that corner Antonio Langham has an agent during the Tides sixth AP national championship season. The NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled Alabama would lose 26 scholarships and serve a three-year probation. (The actual penalties handed down were 17 and 2).

2000.  A University of Alabama booster agreed to pay Memphis defensive Tackle Albert Means $200,000. The investigation was only broken when Means’ former high school coach came clean with a Memphis newspaper reporter. The NCAA committee stated Alabama was facing the death penalty.  The school actually received 5 years probation, a two-year bowl ban and lost 21 scholarships.

2009. Alabama’s free textbook program for athletes was uncovered. A systematic buy back program that benefited Alabama’s athletes in every sport that helped put cash in their pockets. The NCAA uncovered 201 players had received benefits in 15 different sports. In this case no scholarship reductions were imposed by the NCAA.

2011.  Alabama player signs an agent during another National Championship run. According to Yahoo Sports , at least $33,755 was given to Alabama offensive tackle by a sports agent to recruit for his business once he became a professional football player. The only problem, DJ Fluker was still in college.

(“Documents, Text Messages Reveal Impermissible Benefits to Five SEC Players,” Sept. 11, 2013, Rand Getlin)

Sports agent Luther Davis had contact with five SEC players in the 2011-2012 seasons, also given cash, transportation and goods to UT QB Tyler Bray, UT defensive end Maurice Couch and Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox and Chad Bumphis.

Yahoo sports received the documents from NFL sources and were authenticated through Western Union, bank statements, airplane receipts and other financial sources.

To date, the NCAA has not levied any penalties against these schools for the illegal agent contact.

The NCAA soon investigated Tennessee and MSU for other violations that resulted in probation through the 2015 seasons but Alabama seems to have been overlooked.

Mar 10, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Andy Kennedy during the first half of the fourth game of the SEC tournament against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

ANDY KENNEDY AT THE MISSISSIPPI CROSSROADS

For Ole Miss basketball, the number 20 has been a charm.

Andy Kennedy became Ole Miss’ 20th basketball coach in 2006 in the middle of the “glory years” of Ole Miss basketball.  Rob Evans and Rod Barnes started the modern day Ole Miss basketball program and it didn’t happen until the late 1990’s.

Ole Miss basketball coaching records through the years are rather abysmal if you have never actually looked them up. If you haven’t researched Ole Miss basketball coaches records you will see a whole lot of losing records and a lot of barely break even records.  Rod Barnes (141 – 109) at 32 games to the positive over seven years and a 56% win record is the best we have ever had.

So even if Andy Kennedy ended his career at Ole Miss today you are looking at amazing success, relatively.  225 wins in 11 years, a SEC tournament win and a couple of NCAA tournament appearances would easily eclipse anything Ole Miss has had in the past.

But success begets success. The aged CM “Tad” Smith Coliseum was replaced with a massive 90 million dollar, dazzling facility.  Andy Kennedy has outlasted a fleet of amazing SEC coaches and is now the gray beard of the bunch.  Everything Ole Miss basketball fans and Ole Miss basketball coaches could have wished for is now here.

Andy Kennedy has to be asking himself, ‘What do I do now?’

The Ole Miss basketball program is at the edge of the known world. Ole Miss was in a small little box for so long.  It was understood that you can’t recruit at Ole Miss.  It was understood that we didn’t have a nice facility.  It was understood that we didn’t have a legacy of winning, and that was ok.

But now, Ole Miss basketball is all grown up and about to drive on the interstate for the first time with a learners permit.

Kennedy has the opportunity of a lifetime. There are fewer and fewer excuses available for losing games and more and more advantages to being at Ole Miss

What does the next step look like and how can we get there?

Coach Kennedy is poised to have a breakout season and there are some specific reasons why.

WHY HE WILL

1) Oxford has the luxury of being close to Memphis and Jackson. While Jackson is not quite the deep pool of basketball talent it was in the 80’s and 90’s, there are still a few NBA players to speak of that Ole Miss could get on the court for a year or two.  The Memphis metro area is over 1.5 million people and is still a basketball recruiting hotspot.

While several schools fight over Memphis area talent, Ole Miss has an advantage over most of the other SEC schools in proximity, except Kentucky for the very elite players.

2) The Pavilion. I can’t explain how great this arena turned out.  Every coach or team that plays here is just amazed, and so are recruits and fans.  It’s not too big, seating is not too cramped, restrooms, concessions, all the little extras are just perfect.  Just a great facility.  The best in the nation right now.

We all know having a new building is nice and is a must, but a building does not recruit. Players don’t care about the building if you can’t win or you don’t have a good fan base or a good coach.  The Pavilion will however get some kids to visit that might not have considered Ole Miss in the past.

3) Coach Kennedy’s offense is a national championship offense.  Kennedy can run and gun with the best of them.  With the right players, Oxford could take over Las Vegas as the new home of the Running Rebels, and in college basketball you don’t need 10 great players, you only really need two or three to make some noise and build that excitement that fuels itself.

His offense has drawn some ire from fans because without very athletic players it is a rather mistake prone offense.

4) Ole Miss owns the state of Mississippi. For the first time in decades, Ole Miss is the premier basketball school in the state.  MSU has always had a little more success in the past and typically got a few more kids from Jackson.

With the loss of Coach Stansbury, MSU has been in a multi-year tailspin and has shown no signs of recovering soon. Andy Kennedy has won 6 of the last 7 games over the bulldogs.

Ben Howland is a great recruiter and he will get his share of players; but for the moment, Ole Miss has the upper hand and must take advantage where they can.

WHY HE WON’T

Of course, there are a lot of efforts working against Andy Kennedy and there is no guarantee Ole Miss can capitalize on the momentary advantages.

1) Ole Miss is not a basketball school.  I can’t imagine a scenario where Ole Miss fans will embrace basketball over football.  Football is king in the SEC and elite national basketball players are going to focus on East coast basketball schools and basketball friendly leagues.

This is a major problem for the SEC, and don’t forget about beating Kentucky. You basically have to be a final four team to win the SEC against Calipari.

2) Emergence of other SEC coaches. Avery Johnson at Alabama, Mike Anderson at Arkansas, Bruce Pearl at Auburn and Ben Howland at MSU are all emerging and could quickly eclipse Andy Kennedy’s opportunity.  Kennedy must find a way to stand out and lead the SEC West.

3) Recruiting. While Coach Kennedy has only recently had a basketball court he was willing to show a recruit he hasn’t recruited very well, or well enough.  He has lived off juco re-treads, second chance players and international transfers.

Coach Kennedy’s recruiting must take the next step if he expects on-the-court results to take another step. He has a good start on recruiting for 2017 but currently he only has 3 commits and is in the top 40 of recruiting rankings (247 rankings).

This is a great time to be a basketball fan at Ole Miss! The next couple of years will be exciting.  We have the best place to watch a game, the best coach we have ever had and next year will possibly be the most talented team Ole Miss has even put on a court.

As fans let’s turn out and do our part and push this program to the top!

 

 

Image by Chris Graythen - Getty Images

The Future of Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze

Ole Miss football is a labor of love for so many of its fans. Not many of us choose to be fans of Ole Miss it is more like an inheritance.  We love the school because we are all deeply invested in Ole Miss both financially and emotionally.

Article originally printed in Rebel Nation Magazine

This is not an uncommon situation in the SEC. This deep rooted love for your home state and school is what makes this conference the best in college football.  We all care a great deal about our college football and it matters to us.

So, I won’t tell you to calm the hell down and just enjoy a five win season. I won’t tell you to let Freeze and Ross Bjork do their jobs and stop freaking out on social media.  I won’t tell you this because you, as fans, are the program.

Without you, there is no program. Coaches will come and go, even big money boosters will come and go.  What lasts are the season ticket holders and the tailgaters.  The folks that show up on Thanksgiving, in the rain, in 35 degree weather.  You guys are the program.

So feel free to write letters and argue and fight with other fans and get it out of your system.

In this article, I will try to address (from my perspective) some of the biggest questions Ole Miss fans have after a disappointing 2016 season.

Why are you not mad as Hell, like me?!

I am not that concerned, not because I know how Freeze’s tenure will work out. I have some insight into the program but I can’t predict what the NCAA will do.  We have all seen they are unpredictable in their rulings and enforcement of their own rules.

I am not concerned because Ole Miss is greater than one coach or athletic director.

Hugh Freeze was hired at Ole Miss in 2012 and promised to lead Ole Miss out of the wilderness. A football coach with only one year of head coaching experience at the Division One level was able to take one of the lowest funded programs in the most difficult college football conference (at one of the lowest points in our history) and he did what he said he would do.

He turned Ole Miss around. He took a team with only 60 scholarship players in 2012 and went to a bowl.  He took this downtrodden program that was decimated by Houston Nutt to the point of collapse and won the Sugar Bowl in just three years.  Something that hasn’t happened around Oxford in 50 years.

Perhaps winning 10 games a year so quickly is not sustainable. Coach Freeze may have outkicked his coverage and that’s ok.  He deserves a down year or even two.

But what has everyone most upset is that 2016 doesn’t feel like a down year. It feels like the end of a cycle.  It doesn’t even feel like we have hit bottom yet.  It’s easy to imagine that 2017 will be even worse with the loss of Chad Kelly and other key contributing seniors.

So I will be fine and will support the Rebs no matter what happens going forward.

What kind of coach do we need after Freeze?

If you are interested in looking for a new coach you have to think about who can be successful at a school like Ole Miss. This is a small school, with a small stadium and little national success.  It will always be a struggle to recruit at Ole Miss against the Alabama and LSU type programs.  You better find a coach that can take less talented kids and beat those top programs.

You need a innovative, exciting, high scoring offense in order to outscore the minor league NFL teams you will play every week. You also need a marketing genius and a motivator that can somehow focus teenagers and keep them out of trouble and in class every day.

The guy that would fit all these criteria is hard to find. Ole Miss has been looking for that coach since 1973 when Johnny Vaught walked off the field for the last time.  The closest thing we have found so far is Hugh Freeze.  He has proven he can win at a high level at Ole Miss.

Can Hugh Freeze survive 2016?

I think that answer will largely be answered by you, the fans with a little input from the NCAA. The NCAA is going on 5 years of looking at the books in Oxford and they have found a few violations like they would anywhere over 5 years.  Over the period in question that basically spans three coaching staffs and two athletic directors, the NCAA found 13 violations against the football program which amounted to monetary benefits of $15,608 total over eight years.

No matter your opinion on NCAA rules violations, $15,608 over 8 years is hilariously minor compared to violations with Albert Means at Alabama, Reggie Bush at USC or Cam Newton at Auburn. But just because Ole Miss didn’t commit egregious rules violations doesn’t mean the NCAA won’t penalize Ole Miss egregiously.  We just won’t know until the NCAA committee meets, makes a ruling and they go through the appeals process (Ole Miss most likely will and should appeal this ridiculous 5 year investigation).

If you as a fan can’t stomach any NCAA bad news then maybe Freeze should go and maybe we should prepare ourselves to be the Vanderbilt of the West. That’s just the reality of college football.

I believe Hugh Freeze can survive and win at Ole Miss going forward. Over the last 4 years comparing the other programs in the SEC west, Ole Miss has averaged 8 total wins and 4 SEC wins per year.  Good enough for 4th in the SEC over that period.  While that is not great it is better than Bielema and Mullen and very close statistically to the top of the SEC.

 

freeze-wilderness-1

Hugh Freeze is competing and holding his own, even with a down year.

Everyone wants their team to be successful losing games is very frustrating, but it’s important to have a little perspective on how Hugh Freeze stacks up against the rest of the league’s coaches, some of which have a lot more resources than Ole Miss.

I don’t know what the future holds but I know that Hugh Freeze is very capable of leading this team. And if it doesn’t work out for Freeze, the current SEC salaries are really nice and will attract a long line of qualified coaches putting Ole Miss in a better position for success than any time in the past.

So, let’s all pull the rope together, because it’s up to us, the fans, if this program sinks or swims.

Ole Miss' Jake Gibbs vs LSU 1960 Sugar Bowl

OM vs LSU Football 2016: Ole Miss’ True Rival

Today’s college football fans are certainly spoiled. There are usually more bowl games than eligible teams, there are more televised games than you could possibly watch and every game is a “rivalry” game.

Article originally printed in Rebel Nation Magazine

In the SEC, teams have played each other long enough to develop endless story lines through the years and you have more than enough reason to drum up vitriol at your pre-game tailgate, no matter the opponent.

For Ole Miss fans recently, MSU has arrived at the Egg Bowl with something to play for besides a Belk or Weedeater bowl birth. Even though they haven’t been very successful against Hugh Freeze, the Egg Bowl means so much more than it ever has in the past, and has taken this rivalry to a new level (or a new low depending on your viewpoint).

Last year, both Ole Miss and State were playing for a Sugar Bowl birth which wasn’t been an option for MSU since WWII.

So, indeed, these are some heady days in Mississippi sports history. However, if you had to pick one team in the SEC to be your biggest clash of the year, I offer the idea that it should be the Louisiana State College to the South West over our little brothers to the South East.

1280px-lsu_ole_miss_1

The recently coined, Magnolia Bowl, has only been in play since 2008 and has been held by the teams 4 years each, but there is a much longer and glorious history between these two teams that should sway your opinion closer to mine.

There are many things; both on and off the field, that sets the Ole Miss – LSU rivalry apart from other teams Ole Miss plays each year.

Ole Miss fans typically see LSU as the polar opposite of themselves. LSU is seen sometimes as the antithesis of the University of Mississippi.

But if you really pay attention, these two teams are closer than either fan base wants to admit.

Both Ole Miss and LSU are flagship schools in their state, holding both the medical and law schools for their respective states and as much as we hate to admit it, LSU is also a well-respected academic institution.

Both fan bases set the world wide standard for tailgating and support for their college football program. After a trip to a game at LSU, you will have a hard time denying that LSU fans love to cook and watching football, and it is questionable which is the greater love.

The opposing fans reap the benefits as you can sample some of the best southern and Cajun cooking anywhere in the state of Louisiana, right outside the gates of Tiger stadium. While it may be less formal, you will have to admit, a LSU pre-game cookout reminds you a lot of the Grove.

Historically, both teams shared a reciprocal “Go To Hell OleMiss/LSU” cheer just for each other that still continues today, no matter if the team is actually playing each other or not. They both shared the ‘Ole’ moniker for a while.  In the thirty’s LSU was nicknamed “Ole Lou” as a counterpart to “Ole Miss.”

And both teams thoroughly embraced the traditions and heritage of an old southern University.

Ole Miss was LSU’s first feature SEC opponent not named Tulane as the teams faced off in Baton Rouge in 1894. LSU was slightly late to the college football party as Ole Miss played a full 8 game season in 1894 with Alabama, Vanderbilt and Tulane on their docket before beating LSU 26-6.

LSU and Tulane became the hot ticket in South Louisiana for the next forty years. Oxford was stuck as a rural outpost that could not get top players or top opponents to visit Oxford.  The rail service in those days was spotty and rail lines un-reliable.  So it took a highway system and an ambitious young football coach from Texas to turn Ole Miss’ fortunes around.

Tulane and MS State’s programs began to fall away in the late 40’s which put the spotlight firmly on the Ole Miss – LSU series each year and for a period of time, this rivalry was as great as any College football has even known.

Because of the remote nature of Oxford, Ole Miss typically played LSU in Baton Rouge or Jackson, MS which made the series even harder for Ole Miss but Coach Johnny Vaught embraced the series.

Vaught said, “I liked to play ‘em (in Baton Rouge) because they were a great football team. We always got half the gate receipts from the games in Baton Rouge.  We’d make a lot of money, and we knew we could whip ‘em.  I always felt they had a lot of coaching changes (four during Vaught’s tenure) and they never did establish a great defense.” (Quote from Ron Higgins article in Times-Picayune 10/21/14).

Ole Miss beat LSU in Baton Rouge 6 straight games from 1952 to 1957 and it began to worry LSU fans and the administration. Finally, new LSU coach Paul Dietzel got wise and began to emulate the great Johnny Vaught.

“Ole Miss is responsible for the success we had. Dietzel said. “In that ’56 game, it was hot as the dickens in Tiger Stadium, and they played us with three teams while we were only good enough to play our starters.  By halftime, we were dead on our feet, so wore out you could squeegee us off the deck.  Ole Miss was fresh.”

By 1958, Coach Dietzel had followed Vaught’s recruiting plan by hiring the SEC’s second full time recruiter, after Ole Miss’ Tom Swayze, and was also using Ole Miss’ training and conditioning schedule, which included 20 full-pad 50-yard sprints at the end of every practice.

Dietzel ran this team for 21 sprints after every practice. Dietzel proclaimed his third team the Chinese Bandits after a popular comic book character at the time and LSU took off, finally beating Ole Miss for the first time under Dietzel in 1958 14-0, making the LSU-Ole Miss series a heavy weight knock out fight every year.

From 1958 to 1962, the SEC title was on the line every time Ole Miss and LSU faced each other. Ole Miss was undefeated in 4 of those 5 years and LSU was undefeated twice.  Only once in this period did a team have more than one loss (1960 LSU).

Four national championships were awarded during this five year stretch with LSU in 1958 and Ole Miss in 1959, 1960 and 1962.

Archie Manning helped continue the series through the late 60’s with two great come from behind games and contributed to the high rankings of both teams for the fall classic in Baton Rouge or Jackson.

From 1958 to 1973, 10 of those games featured at least one team ranked in the top 10 and conference titles were always within reach.

There has not been a greater series before or since in College Football with higher stakes on the line.

The Ole Miss – LSU rivalry lost a little of its luster during the 1980’s and 1990’s but the addition of the Magnolia Bowl trophy has rekindled the fervor between the teams to a championship level.

magnolia-bowl

With both teams back in the hunt for SEC and national titles, Ole Miss’ fans should consider LSU as your biggest rival.

If you need further proof, LSU stormed the field in Tiger Stadium after unsetting Ole Miss 10-7 in 2014.

If that is not a rivalry, I don’t know what one is!

 

Ole Miss Football

Ole Miss Football 2016: A preview in the eyes of a realistic fan.

2015 was a year of historical proportions for the rebel football program.

If you would have told fans of the program the rebels went 10-3 (9 being regular season wins),the first time since 2003, the majority of us would have been content with just that.

When you add on a Sugar Bowl win for the first time since 1970 ,it put the icing on the cake.Talk about “Ole So Sweet!”

The addition of quarterback Chad Kelly helped prevent a drop off at the most worrisome position in spring 2015.

Not only did he prevent a drop off, he put on a clinic on how to play the position throwing for 4,042 yards (3rd in SEC history).Here is just a little taste of what was a great 2015 season for Chad.

Kelly will be an impact player once again in 2016. The Rebels will go as far as their QB takes them.

Its true that the Rebels are a true contender currently  and look to be a contender year in and year out.

However, the difference between a contender and achieving the ultimate goals of a prominent program rely heavily on quarterbacks.(Except for you Ala freaking Bama, How do guys keep this up?!)

Having the best quarterback in the SEC certainly puts Ole Miss near the top but is it truly enough?

Are the Rebels deep enough in the trenches to win 10 or 11 games in 2016?

In this preview, we will look at the schedule and how they shape up against their SEC foes.  Shall we begin?

Projections

September:

             Sept 5 vs Florida State W 23-20

    Sept 10 vs Wofford W 48-10

Sept 17 vs Alabama L 35-31

Sept 24 vs Georgia W 28-14

Points of Intrigue

The Landshark defense will have their hands full with arguably the nations best running back when they play Florida State September 5th.

Dalvin Cook will be a force to reckon with. For those of you who havent seen him, here you go. Dalvin Cook is a beast.However, Florida State will start  redshirt freshman Deondre Francois at quarterback to start the season.

In opening games at premier neutral sites, quarterback play can heavily impact the performance of your team. Nothing against Francois,but  look for Kelly to be more in tune September 5th.

Alabama is Alabama and will be the most prominent team in the Southeast until Saban hangs his hat up. I give the Rebels a loss,but Ole Miss could very well be 3-0 after the bout with the Tide.

The month of September is almost impossible to predict for this Rebel team.  4-0 or 2-2? I say 3-1.

October:

          Oct. 1 vs Memphis     W 35-14

           Oct. 15 at Arkansas W 30-21

Oct. 22 at LSU    L 17-10

       Oct. 29 vs Auburn W 24-3

Points of Intrigue

The true depth and strength of the offensive line will come into play during the month of October.

Without Fahn Cooper and Laremy Tunsil, the Rebels will have two new starting tackles which at the moment have not been announced. (Expect Alex Givens and Greg Little to be in the mix)

The young offensive line will be battle tested against two stout defenses in difficult atmospheres two consecutive weeks in October: against the  Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers.

A drop off in talent for the Razorbacks will hope Ole Miss win in Fayetteville, but the Rebels will not be as lucky come Oct. 22.

Behind the load of Leonard Fournette, LSU is a formidable opponent.  LSU  will have the advantage squeaking out a nail biter by 7 in Death Valley. In order for that to happen, Brandon Harris must play at least serviceable. Can he do it? we will have to find out and see.

For the sake of predictions, the rebels go 3-1 for the second consecutive month at 6-2 going into November.

November:

             Nov 5 vs Georgia Southern W 24-16

Nov. 12 at Texas A/M  L 38-28

Nov. 19 at Vanderbilt W 20-6

                Nov. 26 vs Mississippi State W  45-10

Points of Interest

The Rebels lose at Texas A/M vs arguably the most underrated quarterback starting in the Sec this year.

Trevor Knight, the former Oklahoma Quarterback, will put up big numbers in Aggie land this year potentially.

The talent gap between Ole Miss and Mississippi State is exposed and the rebels beat the bulldogs convincingly,45-10.

9-3 5-3 Citrus Bowl appearance

 

Closing Thoughts

The rebels are continuing to make significant strides in the College football spectrum.

Ole Miss arguably has a top 3 quarterback in Kelly.However that does not mean Ole Miss is without flaws as stated previously.

With question marks on both the offensive line and at linebacker, expect a few hiccups along the way.

One position of little concern is wide receiver, although the departure of Laquon Treadwell will definitely be felt.(Heres a highlight reel of Treadwell if you forgot just how impactful he was.)

Ole Miss returns Damore’ea Stringfellow and Quincy Adeboyjo as the premier targets with 36 and 38 receptions in 2015. Expect to be wowed with the addition of three highly recruited freshmen who will push to see the field quickly.(AJ Brown, Tre Nixon, D K Metcalf)

On the defensive side of the ball, Ole Miss will look to continue their dominance on the defensive line with the return of key contributors.

Issac Gross, the senior from South Panola looks to anchor the inside of the line. Fadol Brown and Marquis Haynes will continue to provide stability and consistency at Defensive End.The defensive line will continue its dominance of 2015.

At linebacker, the rebels look to rely on graduate transfer Rommel  Mageo. Mageo is a former Oregon State Beaver, and brings with him experience this linebacker core is lacking. Mageo had 87 tackles in 2015, leading the beavers defense in the stat.

Realistically the Hugh Freeze led rebels are likely to fall anywhere from 8-4 to 10-2 give or a take a game.

This team will rely heavily on Kelly’s leadership and who knows, we may be playing for a title in November!

Agree? Disagree? let me know on twitter @RebelBramlett

Hotty Toddy and Go Rebels!