Way Too Early Game-by-Game Schedule and Predictions for 2013 . Part one A Glance at the Vanderbilt Matchup.
Seph Anderson, Sportswriter to The South, focuses his sports writing and photography skills on covering timely Ole Miss and SEC news, among all things sports across the South.
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For Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels, the future is bright. Not only did Freeze resurrect an Ole Miss football program that was in the wilderness, he also brought in signatures from some of the nation’s very best high school prospects in 2013.
In 2010, Houston Nutt’s Rebels posted a 4-8 overall record. The next year, the reverend posted an even worse 2-10 record at Ole Miss. Times really couldn’t have been any worse for the people in Oxford. Tired of the product Nutt was putting on the field, he got canned and Hugh Freeze was hired.
Suddenly, Hugh Freeze was stepping into a program that many across the nation thought would take years to rebuild. Well, in year one Freeze halted a 15-game SEC losing streak, defeated rival Mississippi State for the first time in three years and led the Rebels to a BBVA Compass Bowl victory over Pitt. Next, he signed the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation (per ESPN). It surprised everyone.
All of this being said, the 2012 season is now in the past.
In college football, it’s a game of, “What have you done for me lately?”
If QB Bo Wallace can return healthy from off-season shoulder surgery and stay healthy all year, then Ole Miss has a chance to do something very special in 2013. On the other hand, an injury to the junior would leave the Rebels likely turning to true freshmanDevante Kincade or Ryan Buchanan.
Could a trip to Atlanta be in the cards, so soon, for Hugh Freeze’s Rebels?
Let’s take a look at what the future may hold for the Land of Hotty Toddy in 2013.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (August 29)
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: It’s a game that may be the most important for both clubs in 2013.
Last season, the Rebels blew one of their many second-half leads in a loss to the Commodores.
As the result of a 26-yard touchdown strike from Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers to WR Chris Boyd in the final minutes of the game, Ole Miss allowed Vanderbilt to come back from a 16-point deficit.
In recent years, the series between thee two clubs has been tight with the Commodores having won six of the past eight meetings.
James Franklin has his work cut out for him this spring and summer as he tries to fill the voids left by a number of graduating players. In particular, Franklin must find a new starting quarterback, running back, two offensive guards and three defensive linemen.
As for the Rebels, they return essentially every key contributor from the 2012 campaign, minus offensive weapon Randall Mackey. Freeze should be loaded on offense and defense in 2013.
It will be imperative that Ole Miss find a couple of guys to fill the dynamic role Mackey provided last season. Offensive coordinator Dan Werner should have no trouble finding his men.
Having been on the losing side of this rivalry in recent years, look for the Rebels to win this one.
It’s simply too big of a game for the Rebels to drop, and they won’t.
Way Too Early Prediction:
Ole Miss 31, Vandy 17
Overall Record 1-0 (1-0 SEC)