Thanks to Hayden Sowers for filling in with this post while Parrish Alford is away …
This week we will dive into the 2012 football schedule and what games I think are most winnable for Ole Miss. Ranking them 1-12, 1 being the hardest and 12 being the easiest, we will start today off with what I believe is the most winnable game for the Rebels, the opener against Central Arkansas.
– On offense UCA averaged 32 points per game and 118 yards on the ground and 280 yards through the air per game. Obviously those are some nice stats, but being a FCS team they were obviously facing weaker competition. That was largely due to two former SEC players in former Arkansas QB Nathan Dick and former Ole Miss WR Jesse Grandy. Dick is gone so UCA will be breaking in a new QB with Wynrick Smothers and that always takes time to get the ball rolling. Grandy is back off of his 49 catch, 788 yard, and 9 TD season. Shutting down Grandy as well as Dominique Croom, who chipped in with 38 catches, 518 yards, and 7 TD, will be a huge key for a very thin secondary in this season’s matchup. Leading rusher Jackie Hinton, who ran for 705 yards and 4 TDs, is also back for UCA. Obviously QB is the most important position on the offense, and Ole Miss caught a big break that Dick graduated.
– Defensively is where UCA really struggled last year, giving up and average of 30 points per game, and it looks like it will be more of the same this year after losing 2 out of their top 3 tacklers. UCA gave up 153 yards per game on the ground and 254 through the air. If Ole Miss can get the offense rolling then they will be alright, but being their first real game action working with the new scheme, you never know.
– Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Central Arkansas 10. If Ole Miss can get some early scores it could be much worse, but if you remember the Jacksonville State game in 2010 a FCS team can easily come in and beat Ole Miss especially with the talent on this team a tad bit lower than the talent on this team. I thoroughly expect the Rebels to win the opener moving to 1-0, halfway to last season’s win total.