The biggest story out of Connecticut this past weekend was that the team that was No. 1 in whatever poll ESPN recognized at the time has lost three consecutive weekends. I'm inclined to roll my eyes at that stat as much as cocknfire is, but let's humor the Bristol bots for a bit.
Could Ole Miss take down the Tigers and make the ESPN-sanctioned No. 1 team fall for a fourth straight week? Here's a comparison table of a few of the factors that played into each of these games.
|Road Game for No. 1||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|No. 1 coming off two tough games||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Opp. is ranked||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Opp. is ranked in top 100 of scor. defense||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Opp. is in top 20 in rushing yds/game||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Opp. allows 1 or fewer sacks per game||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Opp. has positive turnover margin||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Opp. gains 400+ yards, 30+ points/game||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Ole Miss does have a few things going for it that other giant killers had: it's at home, the top team has had two straight tough games, and the Rebel offense has been doing fairly well. Plus, its running game is better than South Carolina's and Missouri's are. Unfortunately, the shortcomings are pretty important ones. The fact that Ole Miss's defense is outside the top 100 nationally in scoring defense is very problematic, for instance.
Two other things readily appear in regards to Auburn's personnel.
First, Nick Fairley is a big issue for offensive lines. Who will be going up against him? Let's check the starting lineup from last week: C Evan Swindall (true freshman), RG A.J. Hawkins (sophomore, moved from center, was injured not long ago), and LG Patrick Junen (true freshman, came to campus as walk-on). That could be a problem.
Second, Cameron Newton is a big issue for defenses. We know the numbers aren't great for Ole Miss's defense, but is there more to the story? Let's check the AP wire for some headlines and... oh. Oh dear. "Rebels' defense looks to solve tackling woes."
Ole Miss might pull off the shocker if it can control the clock with its running attack and Auburn is overlooking the game. Jeremiah Masoli has played on the big stage before, and Houston Nutt has been known to win games he shouldn't. I personally don't hold out much hope though, unless those tackling woes can somehow be fixed in one week. Good luck with that.