FOOTBALL: Looking ahead for the Rebels

At the risk of selling the Rebels short against No. 2 Alabama, I’m going to look ahead a little bit.

The goals so painfully within reach — a winning season and a bowl game — hinge on the Arkansas and Auburn games.

That will be different, of course, if the Rebels hang on to the football and pull off an upset in Tuscaloosa. They have shown they can play with anyone on their schedule when they reduce or eliminate turnovers and hold penalties to a minimum.

For the sake of argument, say they do not beat Alabama.

Then the Rebels would need three wins in five games … at Arkansas, Auburn, La.-Monroe, at LSU and Mississippi State. Three of those are at home, a fact that provides no certain comfort after witnessing the Vanderbilt and South Carolina games.

I considered the Auburn game a probable loss back in August. Certainly that one is back on the table now.

Many may be considering the Arkansas game a probable win, based on the Hogs’ blowout losses against Alabama and Florida at home and Texas on the road. Those are three top-five teams. The losses aren’t the problem as much as the manner in which the Razorbacks competed … or didn’t compete.

Be that as it may, Arkansas still was unimpressive in close home wins against Western Illinois and my home boys, La.-Monroe.

Now Arkansas has an SEC win at Auburn under its belt. No matter what happens with the Razorbacks this weekend at Kentucky, this is not a good matchup for Ole Miss, because Arkansas will pass. It’s what they do. If anything was proven by a South Carolina it’s that an accurate passing game can beat the Rebels if you block the DL a little bit.

The Houston Nutt thing will be a big story line for that game, but I don’t think it will be a “get Houston” emotional thing for the Arkansas players. Most of those guys didn’t want him to leave. The rift was between Houston and the outside world, not the inside world.

Keep an eye on Auburn to see if the Tigers can improve before they visit Ole Miss. They’re not a passing team, at least not a very good one, even though they’ve tried to be this season.

If they do not win at Alabama, the Rebels will need at least a split between Arkansas and Auburn and a win over La.-Monroe to have bowl implications on the line when Mississippi State visits for the Egg Bowl.

More on the Alabama game later this week. Arkansas has kind of been on my radar given the start time and pay-per-view, and because I think it could be a trap game for Ole Miss.

Pull off another classic upset this week, and the look of the remaining five games changes.

— PA

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15 Responses to “FOOTBALL: Looking ahead for the Rebels”

  1. Chris Says:

    I think that the Rebels are going to be bowling this year with a 9-3 record. Hotty Toddy!

  2. mobilereb Says:

    PA – All the sports talk radio folk here in Mobile are not giving the Rebels a chance at beating Alabama this weekend. As a matter of fact, they are checking off the Rebels as one of only two remaining wins for Auburn this year. I believe Coach Nutt, his staff and our players can win any Saturday in this league. Here’s to a victory on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Keep the faith! HOTTY TODDY!!

  3. Jeff Jolly Says:

    Mobilereb,
    Remember the same sports talk radio folk in Mobile did not give the Rebels a chance to beat Florida. I have a good feeling about this week….the same one I had during the Florida week. Go Rebs.

  4. VA Reb Says:

    In SEC play, you ALWAYS have an opportunity to win…upsets are plentiful throughout the season. It will be tough in T-Town, though. But, like Jolly says, I have a good feeling about this one. Go Rebels!

  5. mobilereb Says:

    Jeff Jolly and VA Reb,

    I’ve got that good feeling too! HOTTY TODDY!

  6. djrebel Says:

    Guys, hopefully the good feelings will be correct. I think the Rebels have shown they can play with the best teams on the schedule if the hold the ball and don’t have too many penalties. We’ll see. I’m sure Nick’s got the Tide watching lots of Florida video.

    — PA

  7. Jeff Jolly Says:

    DJ,
    If our guys execute, it doesn’t matter how much film they watch. Even in the Orgeron era the Rebs played well against the better teams. They just seem to play up or down to their competition. That’s one thing Nutt is going to have to change. The good teams play well every week no matter who they are playing.

  8. mobilereb Says:

    According to the paper down here, Saban has the team watching the film from the Arkansas/Alabama game last year.

  9. djrebel Says:

    Maybe their “film” focus isn’t the Florida game, though I have a hard time believing they haven’t watched some of that tape. I’m sure the Rebels’ win in Gainesville has been discussed on some level. My point is, if Ole Miss slipped up on Florida, they’re not likely to slip up on Alabama. They shouldn’t have slipped up on Florida, but sometimes it takes closing the deal to get peoples’ attention.

    — PA

  10. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    I just wonder what are the feelings of Jevan Snead. He could still be backup QB to Colt McCoy and the #1 Texas Longhorns, enjoying their success. My guess is that he optioned to play rather than ride the bench and collect splinters. The loses by the Rebels are not Snead’s fault. He has done his duty and his performance has justified this. Ole Miss should be undefeated at this stage and rating high in the national rating. Their loses thus far is by their own doings.
    My belief is if they play the Tide as they did the Gators, they will come away with a victory. On the other hand, if they play the Tide as they did SC and Vandy, Rebels fans will have a miserable trip home.

  11. m4rebs Says:

    All the games on our schedule the rest of the way are winnable. They are all also losable. We don’t lay it on the carpet or throw it to the other jersey, we can go 9-3 this season….this is extremely doubtful. I’d be tickled pink with an 8-4 season though. I had us at 5-7 back in August.

    Top 10 Reasons to hate Alabama…..
    10.) The guy that has recently surfaced (last 4 years or so) with the tatoos of Bear on his back and Rammer remmaJ on his arms (yes, he spelled it like that I guess so he could read it in the mirror). A little much, don’t we think?????

    9.) CBS’ love affair with Bama in the 2:30 TV slot. Only on games that ESPN exercises their choice, CBS will DO ALL THE CAN to put Bama as the National Telecast, regardless of how non-competitive the Tennesse-Alabama is going to be that year.

    More to come….

  12. djrebel Says:

    Matt I look forward to the rest of your list.

    — PA

  13. bhamrebel Says:

    Living in the heartland of Sabanade consumption, I have noticed a few things this year that seem to go unnoticed by the cult members.

    HERE GOES:

    1) Clemson is terrible–thus rendering this win less impressive than Ole Miss’ near win at Wake.

    2) Of their two non-conference games, the only beat down was against WKU–also terrible. Tulane put up a good fight.

    3)Arkansas too is terrible and gave the Tide defense copious gifts to pad the score.

    4)Georgia did not show up in the first half, nor were they deserving of the #1/#3 rankings they held earlier in the year. SC could have easily been the winner of their game against Georgia. Ultimately, I think Bama was sky high in that game, playing their best football, and Georgia was more concerned about their “blackout.”

    5) AND finally . . . they almost lost to Kentucky! Now, I’m not knocking Kentucky anymore than I’m knocking Bama here. My point is simply that the Tide should not be feared by, well, anyone really. They are just another good SEC team. The only difference between Bama and Ole Miss right now are a couple of turnovers by the Rebels, better athletes in the defensive secondary, and the fact that the Rebs actually do have a quality win against Florida.

    I mean, what gives! This team has not done anything yet. Tell me why I’m a lunatic. These are just the dark secrets being swept under the rug by the delusional Tide fans, and Nick Saban is the only one who seems to know that the hype is undeserved. These very true words are like kryptonite to the Sabanites–ignorance has been bliss so far.

    Saban’s defense which is based largely on deception, confusion, and pressure will be neutralized by Nutt’s wildcat. I look for McCluster or some other non-QB to throw a TD in this game, and the defense to score one. There will be a battle for momentum, but the Rebels will protect the ball and “stun” another top 5 team.

    Rebels, get ready for some bold predictions:

    Ole Miss 31 Alabama 24 (This is just how these teams match up)
    Ole Miss 42 Arkansas 28 (Hogs have no defense)
    Ole Miss 24 Auburn 10 (Auburn is harmless to our bad secondary)
    Ole Miss 41 LaMo 17 (just a guess really)
    Ole Miss 35 LSU 24 (LSU secondary will be exploited by Snead)
    Ole Miss 24 State 14
    (State is not as bad as some think, and will give the 8-3 Rebels all we want in a close one. A late score will make this one look worse than it was)

    Mobilereb, the media here seems to be a little more knowledgeable regarding the Rebel strengths and Tide weaknesses, so I hope the Bama players are listening to your station down there. As far as Auburn goes, most of the local radio guys (even the Tiger homers) are picking them to lose every game except UT Martin “unless something changes.” I really don’t see Auburn going to a bowl this year. But hey, I’m just an Ole Miss FANatic.

  14. bhamrebel Says:

    PS- Jevan Snead gave an interview on the radio here this morning and he sounded like he thought we should be competing for a national championship. I really don’t think confidence and competitive drive at the QB spot are going to be problems for us this weekend or in the next couple of years. He’s a winner through and through, and sooner or later it’s going to show up on the scoreboard.

  15. tupelobamafan Says:

    As a Bama fan that lived in Oxford and now resides in Tupelo, in response to bhamrebel saying that Bama has not played anyone, well if you would have asked any Bama fan at the start of the year what UAs record would be after 6 games , most would have said 4-2. So to be 6-0 even though we have not played anyone is pretty good. As for this Saturday, Bama will be trailing 24 -20 with about 17 seconds left, they are on Ole Miss 33 yd line, JPW drops back and Julio Jones is streaking down the sideline, he runs 2 yards out of bounds, comes back in and make the winning TD catch, their is no penalty flag, because as we all know, Bama gets all the calls, Bama wins 27-24.

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