Last season, Ole Miss pulled off the shocker in Oxford. We explore why the Rebels can pull off the upset at Tuscaloosa.
As the writers here at Saturday Blitz did their College Football Playoff predictions, I was the only person to predict Ole Miss as one of the four teams to make the playoff. Certainly there are no sure things when projecting what is going to happen in January all the way back in August. That said, there were reasons for my selection and these reasons factor to in to why Ole Miss is capable of pulling off the upset Saturday night.
We all saw how good Ole Miss can be at the beginning of last season. There is no greater example of that than the upset the Rebels pulled off against the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss suffered injuries to players like Laquon Treadwell and did not play well down the stretch. However, we saw what the team is capable of when at full strength.
Secondly, Hugh Freeze has brought in talented recruiting classes year after year. These recruits are finally becoming veterans on the team this season.
The truth is we do not know how good the Rebels are right now. What we do know is against inferior opponents Ole Miss has displayed the same dominant defense they showed last season with an even better offense.
Like many SEC teams, the question hanging over Oxford was how well Chad Kelly would play. The answer is even better than Ole Miss could have hoped. He is completing 72 percent of his passes and thrown six touchdowns compared to one interception.
All this brings us to Saturday night. Alabama benefits every preseason by starting in the top five in the polls. In most cases it is by brand recognition. While it does not necessarily mean the Crimson Tide do not deserve to be there, this early in the season it is difficult to know how good any team is with such a small sample size.
There are two factors that have me picking against Alabama. Alabama will start inexperienced quarterback Jacob Coker against what many consider the best defense in college football. Secondly, this Alabama team is good but I do not think this is the same caliber Crimson Tide team we have seen in years past.
Derrick Henry has been the x-factor for Alabama, but the Rebels have the ability with their front seven to at least slow Henry down. Overall, I think Chad Kelly is the real deal and will provide a challenge for the Alabama defense.
The Rebels defense have the ability to harass the Alabama offense the entire game. I think we see another Ole Miss upset for the second straight year as the Rebels jump into the driver’s seat of the SEC West.
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