Predictions Anyone?

My last predictions post ended with the idea that Texas would beat Ole Miss 31-28, that the Longhorns would play with emotion and exploit the Ole Miss corners.

They did neither.

It was a dominant second-half showing by the Rebels in all three phases and a big win over a very talented program albeit one experiencing a bit of turmoil.

What Ole Miss accomplished in Austin should not be overlooked because Texas coach Mack Brown made a change at defensive coordinator.

I’ll go ahead and tell you, however, that if you need me to predict an Ole Miss win in Tuscaloosa to have a good Thursday you’re going to be disappointed.

With a three-game body of work for both teams right now, there are some matchups that tend to favor Ole Miss.

Alabama has struggled to run the ball consistently, while Ole Miss has stopped the run. If the Rebels can stop the run again, they’ll be able to rush the passer in favorable down-and-distance situations. If not, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron will hurt them with the play-action pass.

The success of Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans against the Alabama secondary has been well-documented. Ole Miss will bring two physical receivers to the table in Donte Moncrief and freshman Laquon Treadwell. Vince Sanders is getting back in the mix too, and freshman tight end Evan Engram has emerged as a bonafide threat.

Alabama appears to be getting healthier in the secondary with the return of cornerback Deion Belue.

For Ole Miss to have its best night passing the football it will have to run it. It’s unlikely that Jeff Scott will get the corner as often as he did against Texas. That will require more success between the tackles, so we could see more of I’Tavius Mathers. Freeze calls him the Rebels’ best inside runner. Mathers turned an ankle late in August camp and hasn’t carried much this year. He had a very physical run of 35 yards against Southeast Missouri but had just 14 yards on four carries at Texas.

Special teams play will be huge. Alabama’s Christion Jones has already returned a punt and kick for a touchdown, both against Virginia Tech. Ole Miss’ kick coverage units have improved, but Jones hurt the Rebels last year with a 99-yard kick return score.

We’re seeing an Alabama team that is showing some uncommon vulnerability, but we’re also seeing one that just went on the road and scored 49 points against a team right now ranked No. 10. Alabama won a difficult, emotionally-charged game in a hostile environment and was ahead comfortably in the latter stages of play.

Ole Miss can make this a fourth-quarter game, and anything can happen then.

Unlike just a year ago when these two teams met there is right now a belief and expectation among Ole Miss players that they will win. For five straight games over two seasons that’s proven true.

That belief has been in place at Alabama for a much longer period of time. Ultimately the savvy that goes along with that, the experience that comes from it, will propel the Tide in this game.

Prediction: Alabama 34, Ole Miss 28

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football
  • Cid Riley

    We Believe??? 3 and 0 , headed for a total beat down in Ttown..we believe? That really worked for your counterpart down south last year..Bama 53 sharkfins 6..

    • keith

      Ciiiiddddd… you going to Tuscaloosa for wsp?

      • Cid Riley

        I am not going to make it. I have to go overseas on business. I depart this Sunday. Bummer.

  • Killer_Beeze

    The Rebels will send the crowd exiting in the middle of the fourth quarter. I won’t predict a score–that’s akin to picking a winning lottery number IMO, but I will predict that Coach Freeze gets that “signature win” in T’town. :))

    **I predicted an Ole Miss win against Texas–just didn’t predict the score. Who would’ve thunk that Ole Miss would travel to Austin and beat the Longhorns (by 3 TDs) before 100,00+ fans? That shocked me2.

  • Flareb

    I’ve had a knot in my stomach all week about this game……….That funny feeling along with an unsure feeling. I gave up trying to predict outcomes. All I have ever asked Ole Miss to do from top to bottom is compete. Line up and knock the snot out of the competition. Last year they went to Tuscaloosa and hit, hit and kept hitting. I do believe that Bama has not forgotten that and they are focused on this game. I also believe that Rebs have this one circled. This is not your Momma’s Bama this year. They look suspect, trying to repeat and the pressure that goes along with that is going to catch up with them. Watching Book of Manning the other night brought back memories of where this once proud program was and its relevance in the SEC…Saturday night brings an opportunity to get back on the map. That is all you can ask. Its there if they want it. Hit them in the mouth early and you’ve got a shot. Should be a good one.

  • keith

    bama scores first to go up 7-0 . A couple of possessions swap. Ole miss kicks a fg. (7-3).
    Bama scores again (14-3)
    OM kicks another fg (14-6)
    Bama t.o. and OM capitalizes ( 14-13)
    Bama scores fg before half-time (17-13)
    OM hits big play to go up(17-20)
    Bama misses fg
    Om kicks fg (17-23)
    Bama storms back with kickoff return by jones (24-23)
    bo throws first pick and its bad a pick 6 (31-23)
    Om doesn’t blink and answers on long drive (31-30)
    Bama punts and om misses fg
    Bama kicks a fg (34-30)
    Om misses a fg and Bama goes on a loooonnnnngggg drive to put game to bed.
    Final – 41-30 bama
    God I hated doing that but it’s what I really think. Hope I’m wrong……….. how’s that for a prediction ??? Hahaha

  • JB

    Alama 47 Ole miss 17

    • JB

      should read Alabama 47 Ole Miss 17

  • papatoLC

    Ole Miss 28 Alabama 35 I think it will be close and know that Ole Miss can win this game. I also believe that Alabama would win 8 out of 10 games. Here is hoping that Sat. will be one of the two that Ole Miss wins.

  • Missouri Rebel

    I think the timing of this game works against the Rebels. I wish we had played Alabama last week. The week off has given us too much time for talk about this game. Too many player comments and too much fan hype.
    The best chance to beat Alabama is the week after they have a big game. It seems the Tide tends to lose focus after those emotional wins. The Colorado St. game was like a week off for Alabama and the Rebels will be their biggest challenge left this season other than LSU. I don’t think we will be sneaking in under their radar.
    I like our chances better this year than in recent years past but the Tide aren’t the two-time defending national champs for no reason…I’m afraid they will be ready.
    Alabama 35 – Ole Miss 24

  • bigreb

    Ole Miss wins Saturday 31 to 13. Bama fan caught in grove tuesday night with can of poison wearing hounds tooth hat and nothing else.

  • Noggin

    33-32 Ole Miss

  • jayspoon

    Ole miss 38 Alabama 28

  • Larry Box

    Rebs: 31
    Tide: 27

  • rcpylon

    My swag is “whomever has the ball last wins”. this will be a close one and decided in the 4th. both will be over 30 pts. for tv, id love to see an ot game with a few back and forths.

  • Matt Lambert

    Bama 38
    Ole Miss 20
    Hope I’m wrong!!!!

  • Roger Davis

    It would be monumental if Ole Miss won, but I wouldn’t bet on that. I think it will be a close game until the 4th quarter. A late Crimson Tide TD will bump the lead to 14 and an Ole Miss turnover should put the game away. The Tide wins by 21 in a game that was much closer than the score indicates. But if the Rebel defense prevents Bama from getting a little breathing room, the shocker heard around the world…is possible.

  • The Ghost of Col. Reb

    Ole Miss 42, Bama 28

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