Predictions Anyone?

All those countdown clocks hit zero today as college football returns at full speed.

There are 27 FBS and FCS games this evening, another 11 tomorrow. That’s 38 games before Saturday even arrives.

I was thrilled to see the Rebels’ opener against Tennessee (the Martin campus) set for 11 a.m. It won’t take long for the other shoe to drop with the Alabama game already set for 8:30. I expect much more late football than early.

But let’s talk about what to expect Saturday.

This is the long and rambling predictions post, a Thursday morning blog tradition.

Leave your predictions and your logic at the bottom.

I’ll say 35-6 Ole Miss. It may be a lot worse than that, but I don’t typically predict massive blowouts.

Martin put up 367 yards against MSU last year and almost 400 (398) against Kentucky. Both games were blowout wins for the SEC, but it does indicate that the Skyhawks had stretches of success on offense.

When the rubber meets the road Ole Miss will be much better in the red zone and will clamp down there if not over the entire field all the time.

Respect for opponent is important here. You won’t catch that theme in much media coverage, but it is worth noting.

Occasionally Appalachian State beats Michigan. Occasionally Jacksonville State beats Ole Miss. Those were really good FCS teams. Martin is competitive at its level, but not like those teams were.

We become cynical for these games because they so often play out like we expect. That’s a credit to the big-school coaches who have their teams prepared and help them deal with the mental realities. It’s natural for SEC players to expect themselves to be much better than FCS level players. Their recruiting experiences tell them this, and you don’t have to be a coach to see that big school players typically are bigger, stronger, faster.

There is talent at the FCS level. There just isn’t as much elite talent spread among FCS teams, and there isn’t great depth of talent.

So, small teams have a chance to win at kickoff. After that it often depends on the mental make-up of the big school, and I think Ole Miss will be prepared. We’ll see.

What could keep the Rebels from 50 points is Hugh Freeze’s intention of playing all three quarterbacks.

The likelihood that all three will be pressing to get something done in their limited window of opportunity could cause things to bog down at times.

As late as last night Freeze was unwilling to fully commit to Chad Kelly as the starter. I suspect it will be Kelly, but this is not a scenario where a guy with a hot hand stays in the game. There will be a lot of moving parts among the quarterbacks.

There’s all that goingt on plus the fact that Martin will run a 3-3-5 defense, which is not a look the Rebels will see a lot.

The FCS game is often one in which the SEC team has a huge size advantage in the trenches. Not so with Martin. The Skyhawks average 283 with their DL starters, 285 with their OL starters.

A lot of eyes willl be on the Ole Miss quarterbacks, no doubt, but just as many should be on the offensive line. The run game was dreadful last year and needs to take a major step forward. Obviously running backs come into play, but I put more of that on the offensive line.

I think this group will be better. There are certainly more players that Freeze appears to trust. That leads to more depth and to Freeze’s announcement that he’ll play 10 offensive linemen and will play them early in the game Saturday. The heat comes into play there, but it’s more about getting snaps for these guys and trying to see who he can really trust in game conditions.

Maybe Ole Miss comes out, plays to its ranking and off-season hype and dominates wire to wire. I suspect, however, that some first-game kinks will be evident.

For that reason, it’s good to start off with the FCS game.

Personally, I like to see the FCS game later in the year, like November, especially since the Rebels have just one open date this season.

So, a few predictions.

Kelly shines, Judd shines. Treadwell takes a lick, bounces up and does Treadwell type things. D.J. Jones does something to make people say, ‘Wow,’ and so does Kendarius Webster.

The run game looks fantastic, and media come back and say, “Yeah, but it was Tennessee-Martin.”

That in fact will be the correct response to any great team or individual success in this game.

Remember the opponent, temper expectations and don’t expect the Rebels be in mid-season form, because that’s not what time it is.

Prediction: Ole Miss 35, Tennessee (the Martin Campus) 6

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.

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  • Lee814

    I look for OM to have a good day on the ground this week. I know Freeze will still be trying to evaluate the QBs, but he will also want to give the running game an early boost.
    OM 48-3

  • papatoLC

    Ole Miss 35 Martin 0 @ the half. Second half will be everybody without a red shirt left or not using one playing. Who knows how that will work out.

  • bornarebel

    The running game ends up with more yards than the passing game.
    Ole Miss 45
    UTMartin 9

  • JB

    Ole Miss 21, UT Martin 0

    • Bob

      Most people give their predictions for the entire game and not just for the first quarter.

      • JB

        my prediction is for the whole game, and however I had to struggle and with goodness of heart, be as generous as i was to give your Black Bears this advantage of which could be the score in reverse, But on the other hand they are playing a small community in Tenn.and should be victorious. We will see you in the Swamp soon. Go Gators..

  • Killer_Beeze

    I’m ready to feed the Sharks!
    I’m ready to see Treadwell in full beast mode!

    Chad Kelly–over the middle–to Evan Ingram!
    Nkemdiche terrifying the Skyhawks QB!
    Ole Miss-gazillion
    UT-Martin-goose egg

    • JB

      KB you are one dedicated Ole miss fan,I wish you and your whatever the mascot is now days,( i prefer Col Rebel) the best of luck, that is until 3 October when the venture into the swamp full of hungry Gators but the last time they came down Ole Miss beat the Gators, but don’t think so this time around. Best of wishes to you and family, JB

      • Killer_Beeze

        Top of the morning JB!

        My preference for the Rebel mascot is the SHARK. The black bear just doesn’t do it for me.
        Fans have taken to bringing inflatable shark balloons to the stadium. They look pretty cool. And the band plays the theme from “Jaws”. Awesome!
        Well, I do wish the Gators lots-a-luck this season but it ain’t gonna happen October 3rd. Because THAT is my birthday and only good things happen on my b/d. 🙂

        SEC Network analysts Clint Stoerner and Chris Doering recently predicted each game of Ole Miss’ season.
        Read and weep. 🙁

        • JB

          I am not weeping, Gators are in the rebuilding stage, a new coaching staff and a good recruiting class on hand not near as good as ole miss has done, but I think they will surprise some this season, I have read and seen where the Ole Miss and Rebel name will disappear sometimes soon. the coaching staff is against and a shamed of their own State Flag so that tells me where the coaching staff stand, SO long Rebels and Ole miss or what ever your name will be in the future. Maybe the Mississippi Mudcats.

          • Killer_Beeze

            I’m just messin’ with you JB. Coach McElwain has proven to be a very good coach and could very easily turn the Gator’s program around in his first season. I hope y’all win all your games with the exception of October 3rd.
            I don’t believe we’ll see names changes in my lifetime to ”Rebels” or Ole Miss. The $alumni$ would NOT take kindly to that.
            Have a good 1 JB.

          • JB

            I hope no name change it would not be like the UofMiss without ole miss or Rebels connection.. By the way Tula (Lafayette Co.), MIss is still my home town and always be

          • Killer_Beeze

            Tula or Tchula?

          • JB

            Tula, 15 miles SE of Oxford on HWY 331, i was born there and went to HS at Yocona and from there to North west Miss Jr college and then into the USAF for 29 plus years. Ole miss my favorite football team all those years and then something happened???My favorite years with ole miss was Johnny Vaught days, Archie Manning and son Eli. i have seen some great football games played in Hemingway Stadiun, but the best one in memory was Egg bowl 1962, Soph Jim Wetherly, sub for all-american QB Griffin pulled off a miracle play that won the game for ole miss

          • Killer_Beeze

            You cover a LOT of history there JB. Once a Rebel, always a Rebel.

            Gynn Griffin is still “active”. In fact, I saw him yesterday morning walking into his office which is next door to my dentist. For a man in his mid seventies, he’s in pretty good shape.
            Click on link below:


          • JB

            Seems like the New York Giants football is an ole miss collector, I think Griffin went to the Giants, Charley Conley went there for Pro bowl , and my hero Eli not only QBs but other Rebel players as well some to all-pro status, Jim Patton, DB all -pro Gene Hickerson Cleveland Brown All-pro Off Lineman and many others that don’t come to mind as yet, 49er’s Patrick Willis all-pro LB and the list goes on and on. Most John Vaughlt players

          • Killer_Beeze

            Right now the Giants have Eli, John Jerry, Trumaine McBride and Ashlee Palmer.
            I’m optimistic about the Giants. If they fix the problems on their O line then Eli will shine.

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