Predictions Anyone?

It’s Thursday, and welcome to the long and rambling predictions post.

I invite your input below on the Rebels’ Saturday night — This season it’s redundant to say night when speaking of Ole Miss kickoff times — homecoming game against Idaho.

Ole Miss is coming off a thrilling 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU in which the depleted Rebels invested quite a bit emotionally to get things done.

I thought it was the best job of a team being ready to play that I’ve seen covering Ole Miss. That didn’t mean the game was without mistakes, and two big ones — an I’Tavius Mathers fumble and a muffed punt by Korvic Neat — would be reviewed as plays that cost the Rebels dearly had things turned out differently.

For what it’s worth, Neat, who also muffed a punt against LSU in 2012, was not among players fielding punts during viewable practice periods this week.

In addition to being ready to play against LSU the Rebels needed some other things to work out. They needed Zach Mettenberger to take a few shots downfield, and when he did, they needed to be in position to close with big plays, and they did.

They also needed LSU not to pound relentlessly with Jeremy Hill. I don’t feel like that would have favored the Rebels over the long haul. LSU did not pound, and callers to WWL out of New Orleans were the ones to pound relentlessly when I was driving home and listening to that postgame show.

Things worked out for Ole Miss in the end, and Hugh Freeze picked up his first signature win.

The challenge facing the Rebels this week against a bad Idaho team to present themselves emotionally fit again. This is a bit of a different situation for Ole Miss. We’ve seen the Rebels bounce back after a tough Texas A&M loss last year and play well against an SEC team when Ole Miss had the motivation of ending an embarrassing SEC losing streak. We’ve seen the Rebels bounce back from a tough home loss against Vanderbilt and have a chance to win in Baton Rouge, and we’ve seen the Rebels bounce back from this year’s tough Texas A&M loss and play well and win against LSU.

We’ve not seen Ole Miss try to come down from a high against a struggling foe.

I don’t think Idaho wins the game. No matter what level of praise showed upon Paul Petrino by Hugh Freeze and Dave Wommack this week, the fact remains that the Vandals are being outscored on average 43-16 and will likely be starting their No. 3 quarterback.

Respect for opponent is something that should be a part of every game, but that really means respect for yourself as well. Ole Miss needs to play with the discipline that it would against the better teams its already played this season. Five times in six games the Rebels have done themselves proud in that regard. They never really figured out the Nick Marshall thing against Auburn nor did they protect Bo Wallace enough to match the Tigers with offense. There were other factors too.

There is a recent example of Ole Miss giving a lackluster performance against an overmatched opponent, Southeast Missouri. Freeze declared early this week that he would hammer home the message of focus and intensity. Emmanuel McCray followed that with his belief that because the Rebels were lackluster against SEMO, he didn’t expect that to happen again this year.

I tend to agree, but we’ll see.

Wommack spoke earlier this week about the chance for this team to get on a roll. Clearly it’s there. The Rebels are behind the gauntlet, as it’s been called, and as things stand presently would be favored in four of their last five games.

Because the brunt of the schedule is in the rear view mirror doesn’t make the remaining games easy. Ole Miss is a physically beaten up football team right now. If the Rebels play their cards right against Idaho they’ll have the rare chance to get quite a deal of rest before the Nov. 9 game against Arkansas, which, by the way, has allowed 104 points in its last two games against South Carolina and Alabama.

For the rest to happen, Ole Miss needs to come out with the focus and intensity it would against one of the best teams on its schedule. The starters themselves will dictate how much rest they will receive. If Bo Wallace leads multiple scoring drives and builds the cushion that Ole Miss did against SEMO, they’ll get quite a bit. Hopefully the backups will compete better than they did in that game.

This ought to be a game the Rebels can handle easily without Robert Nkemdiche, Cameron Whigham and Mike Hilton.

I suspect they will and that those multiple scoring drives will come about and will enable the Rebels take a bit of a blow Saturday night then head into an open date week.

If things play out that way, the Ole Miss defense will be a lot healthier when the Hogs come to town.

Prediction: Ole Miss 39, Idaho 15

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
  • Larry Box

    I think about 48-14 with the back-ups playing a lot. Great game last week. SO proud of the Rebs!

  • Noggin

    Got to go with the home team on this one, in a shut out….

  • JB

    I have a feeling that Old Mississippi can end a losing streak here, but not sure of it.

    • NorthMSReb

      A losing streak? To Idaho? We haven’t ever played them.

      • Killer_Beeze

        I think he meant Old Miss. State. Hell State!

        • JB

          As it looks now Rebels could very easily wind up the regular season at 8-4 and in a very good bowl appearance. Ole Miss has in the past had problems beating Missouri, but don’t think they will this season. Its all together a new Rebel team from the past. i think the last time i watched Ole Miss -Missouri game it was John Forcade as the Rebel QB very good offensively but NO defense , now that has all changed Ole miss is a very balance team.- Rebel freshmen will earn their pay in this game.

          • bababob

            if Ole Miss beats Mo, it’s hard to see how the finish worse than 9-3 on the regular season

          • Killer_Beeze

            My apologizes JB…I misunderstood your comment about “ending a losing streak here”. You obviously meant in the series against Missouri.
            Well, you may be right, but I want to see IF the Mizzou Tigers can beat South Carolina tomorrow.The Tigers beat a ‘depleted’ Georgia team and Florida (which I don’t think is all that good) and if they knock off the Gamecocks I will be worried. They are a very well balanced team and can be trouble. The Rebels will need all the troops back for that battle.

          • JB

            KB thanks my man, you owe me no apology, i think there is better times ahead for the rebel football team , and baseball team as well.,I think Coach Bianco job could be in peril if he don’t get rebel baseball team to Omaha this season or at the least a Super Regional to oxford.. Ole Miss have some very good and capable coaches, football, basketball and baseball,

          • Killer_Beeze

            JB…I’m with you on Coach Bianco’s situation. I truly like and respect the man BUT (dagnabbit) he has to generate a more productive post season…like hosting a Super Regional.
            Fins Up-Claws Ready!
            Sharks and Bears :))
            Speaking of bears…check out this youtube vid…it is hilarious:

  • Parrish Alford

    Should it be a concern that after both the Tuesday and Wednesday practices Freeze came out and expressed concern about focus?

    • keith

      Yes… always…. however, fortunately this can be afforded this year…. at this time…… in this circumstance. It will be something to watch in the future. Could bite them in the rear let’s say… ohhhhh after missouri????? Let’s keep our eyes and ears open with hopes of a good thanksgiving…….. just sayin

  • Killer_Beeze

    This is playing out just right for the Ole Miss Rebels,i.e., a game where the 2nd & 3rd team get to see a lot of action and the 1st team gets to rest (after the 1st quarter) for 2 weeks and get stronger and healthier. We need everyone ready2go for the final stretch. It’s entirely possible that the Rebels could win all remaining games.
    We’ll know more about Missouri this weekend when they play the “Old Ball Coach”.

  • papatoLC

    Ole Miss wins big but I will take a 1 point win.

  • nonfiction2

    A well-deserved break for the Rebels. Can’t get up for a 1-6 team quite like a powerhouse 6-0 or 5-1 team. Ole Miss wins 42-14.

  • Killer_Beeze

    Prediction? U-G-L-Y 42-10 and the Rebels go 5-3.

  • keith

    52- 10

  • keith

    52-10 rebs

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