SEC Predictions: Picking every game against the spread for Week 3

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Oct 4, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels defensive back Senquez Golson (21) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the end zone intended for Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) to win the game during the second half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

  • Date: Saturday September 19, 2015
  • Time: 9:15PM Eastern
  • Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
  • TV Channel: ESPN
  • Spread: Alabama -7
  • Over/Under Total: 51

Like ESPN, we’ve saved the biggest game of the day for last. Ole Miss and Alabama will kick off at 9:15 Eastern (8:15 local time) Saturday in Tuscaloosa in a big time SEC West clash that features two teams ranked among the nation’s top 15. After last year’s thrilling 23-17 upset victory in Oxford, the Rebels aim to make it two in a row over Bama – though the Crimson Tide is a solid touchdown favorite at home.

RELATED: Ole Miss at Alabama Preview: Three Important Matchups to Watch

Ole Miss has been the most explosive team in the nation through the first two weeks of the season. The Rebels beat UT-Martin 76-3 and Fresno State 73-21 by combining a high-octane offense that has been responsible for 634.5 yards of offense per contest and star-studded defense that has scored more points than it has allowed. Ole Miss returned an interception for a touchdown in the season opener and had two more pick-sixes a week ago. Given that the Rebels surrendered a pick-six of their own, that means the Landsharks are outscoring the opposition 21-17. Add defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche’s two offensive touchdowns, and you could say the defense has a 35-17 lead.

But for the Rebels to score another upset, new quarterback Chad Kelly must be just as good as he was over the first two weeks of the season (557 passing yards, 6 TD, 1 INT; 46 rushing yards, 2 TD) and perhaps even better. Alabama is arguably the most talented team in the nation, particularly on defense (though Ole Miss is close on D), and the Tide will provide a bigger challenge for the Rebels’ offense.

On the other side of the football, expect the Alabama rushing attack to control the tempo of the game. Derrick Henry probably won’t have much running room because the Rebels are so good up front, but the 241-pound monster has the ability to break tackles and the speed to pick up big chunks of yardage on his own. Expect a strong performance by Henry, which will open up the play-action passing attack to make a big play to win the game.

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