Ole Miss's Schedule is Ripe for a Narrative | SEC 2013

Scott Halleran

It's not hard to predict how the storyline will go for Ole Miss this year just by looking at the slate.

This is an overview. Predictions come later.

8.29.13 | at VANDERBILT

9.7.13 | SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE

9.14.13 | at TEXAS

9.28.13 | at ALABAMA

The first month of the season is the most important one for this Ole Miss team. It's going to set the tone and basically write the postseason wrap up. Beating Vanderbilt sends a message that the Rebels are the historical weakling truly on the rise; losing that one says they're still behind the Commodores' reclamation project. Beating Texas, or at least coming close, means the team has come a long, long way from last year's debacle; another bad loss will suggest that not much has changed in a year. The second and fourth games are pretty much set in stone, but those other two games will tell us a lot. Lose them both, and the story is that last year's momentum stalled out. Leave the month 2-2 or better, and this is a hot team ready to compete.

10.5.13 | at AUBURN

10.12.13 | TEXAS A&M

10.19.13 | LSU

10.26.13 | IDAHO

By the time October rolls around, we'll know a little something about where Auburn is thanks to the variety of teams it will have played by now. That will really determine how tough a game heading to the Plains is for the Rebels. It will also be the fourth road game in the first five, a grueling stretch for any team. Then, with no bye week, Ole Miss gets to host a pair of divisional contenders in A&M and LSU. It's going to be tough for the team to be better than 3-4 through the first seven, and the season narrative will surely by then be more on the "what's wrong with them?" side than the "this is what you should've been expecting" side. That's how dumb media narratives work. Idaho is where the season turns to the more favorable side for good.

11.9.13 | ARKANSAS

11.16.13 | TROY

11.23.13 | MISSOURI

11.28.13 | at MISSISSIPPI STATE

Getting Idaho and a bye in back-to-back weeks will be a good chance for Ole Miss to rest up for the stretch run. Arkansas is an intriguing matchup, given the seemingly diametrically opposed philosophies of the guys in charge. Troy shouldn't be much of a problem, and getting Missouri at home will help in that one. Sweeping the three SEC games in this month will be important for making sure the season narrative switches from a tone of disappointment to one of momentum into the next year. It also, depending on how the early part of the season goes, might be necessary for making a bowl.

The West below the top three is hard to predict because of how Auburn and Arkansas basically quit on their coaches early last season. Neither was a disaster the year before, and Ole Miss itself proved in 2012 what can happen by merely removing a coach who has lost a team and replacing him with someone competent. The magnitude of the inevitable rebound at those two schools plus the swing games against the East and the Egg Bowl will really tell the whole story for this team in 2013.

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