Game Time: Saturday, September 28th, 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 local
Odds: Alabama (-38), -30000 (Alabama Moneyline), +10000 (Ole Miss Moneyline), O/U (61 points)
If there is one thing that can be said about the 2019 Ole Miss Rebels it’s that new defensive coordinator and co-head coach, Mike McIntyre, has turned around a defense that gave up just shy of 35 points per game over the last three seasons.
Yes, they’ve played one FCS team and two Power 5 teams (Arkansas and Cal) that are both averaging less than 30 points per game on offense, but even in a loss to G5 Memphis to open up their season, they held a team that’s currently averaging 36 ppg to just 15.
You may think that I’m grasping at straws, but last year’s Ole Miss team finished near the very bottom of the FBS in scoring defense, so let’s find the silver linings where we can.
The less impressive showing comes from new offensive coordinator and co-head coach Rich Rodriguez’s offense which currently sits at 96th in the FBS in scoring offense, averaging 25.3 points per game. We’re a long way from the days of Pat White and Steve Slaton, here.
Through four games, game manager and co-head coach Matt Luke is attempting to figure out his team’s (2-2) identity, but having lost their two games by a combined thirteen points, it makes one curious if they’re not a little better than last season and we’re just seeing the macro.
Little things like scoring more points with each game before running into a defense that’s allowed less than 24 points per game over the last eleven is a sign of improvement.
Once again, silver linings locating.
Unfortunately for the Land Sharks, they play in the SEC West and they’ve already beaten the only team that will finish with a worse conference record than them. And now they must travel to Tuscaloosa to meet up with that most perennial of machines, Alabama.
The Tide have won their last two meetings with the Rebs by an average score of 64-5. (I laughed whist doing the math.) Of course, those games have no bearing on what occurs this Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium, but Alabama hasn’t done anything to this point to dispel the notion that they’re not a top five team.
‘Bama’s defense may be suspect with up to six true freshmen playing meaningful snaps so far and while RichRod could take advantage with two capable QBs in Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee and a solid RB in Scottie Montgomery, it’s hard to see them making much of a dent beyond a couple of big plays.
(Remember: two true freshmen occupy the two ILB spots on a defense that is dependent on those very positions for ultimate success. Do not overlook this on Saturday.)
Of course, there is Tua. And Najee Harris and Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith and an offensive line that is beginning to figure things out.
McIntyre’s 3-4 scheme may try to crowd the box and stunt to confuse Tide OC Steve Sarkisian’s RPO heavy offense, but, really, what’re you going to do against a team with four receivers that account for 1,214 and 13 touchdowns of offense to this point in the season?
If one guy’s having an off day, another’s going to be right there. I’m sure Ole Miss’ corners are good, but c’mon. It’s unfair.
And if the Tide running game continues to improve with offensive guard Deonte Brown back in the fold, Ole Miss may just be one of several teams with very few chances to stop Alabama’s offense.
Not sure if the Crimson Tide cover, but they’ll win big on Saturday.
Prediction: Alabama 48 Ole Miss 14