Tuesday, August 16, 2022

In-depth Preview of the Alabama Game

Last years game between Ole Miss and Alabama. Photo courtesy of Seph Anderson
2013 Ole Miss vs. Alabama./Photo courtesy of Seph Anderson

After the first four games of the season — hopefully all victories —  Ole Miss welcomes the Alabama Crimson Tide into Oxford, on the first Saturday in October.
If both teams are undefeated for the matchup expect tremendous national hoopla with a likely appearance in Oxford by the ESPN College Game Day crew.
This would be a virtual replay of the 2009 game when the Vaught was the venue for a top-twenty bout between the Rebels, then ranked No. 20 in the country and the Crimson Tide was No. 3. Ole Miss suffered only one home loss in 2009 — that’s right, to Alabama.
Last season, the Tide lost the chance to play for another national title when the Auburn Tigers ran a missed field goal back for a shocking win. Then, Coach Nick Saban’s Tide closed out the season with a loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Sugar Bowl.
Coach Freeze spoke to the media on Tuesday after practice about how the team is preparing for the upcoming season.

Alabama lost several players to the NFL, like every year, including clutch quarterback A.J. McCaron. His replacement is highly regarded former Florida State QB Jacob Coker.
During his time at FSU behind redshirt freshman and Heisman winner Jameis Winston, Coker attempted 36 passes in the 2013 season, only completed 18 of them for a total of 250 yards.
Despite the loss of signal-caller McCaron, the Crimson Tide has a lot of offensive fire power coming back this season in the capable hands of wide receivers Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christian Jones. Junior tailback TJ Yeldon returns to churn out yards behind the always-powerful Alabama offensive line.
With a new offensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa, Lane Kifin, Alabama isn’t expected to skip a beat and could clock out a bit faster on offense. Alabama will open the season with West Virginia, Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss and Florida as they prepare for the Rebels and presumably get everything in their offensive arsenal rolling.
In the last game between the two squads, the Tide didn’t allow the Rebels to cross the goal line. Despite shooting themselves in the foot several times, Ole Miss never seemed to quit and made it a competitive matchup. This year the Rebel faithful is after more than competitiveness.
For the Rebels to win, buffed up, re-armed and clean cut Bo Wallace will have to produce in the fashion of one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks, which is the spot where many experts believe he belongs. Saturday’s Down South predicts that Wallace will have a breakout season with 30 touchdowns thrown during the season. Not just Bo, but the entire team, though, will have to execute on all cylinders and stay away from turnovers.
A receiving corps this season led by five-star sophomore Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo will give the Bama corners trouble all game long. Coach Hugh Freeze has consistently said the speedy Adeboyejo is ready for a “breakout” season playing primarily in the slot. Treadwell is ready to use his size and speed to intimidate smaller defenders.
We believe Alabama’s running game will be key to the contest, because they possess a stable of backs who can stampede into the secondary. With Saban’s time-worn strategy of controlling the ball to keep the Ole Miss offense off the field, the Rebels will be in trouble if they don’t keep the game close going into the fourth quarter.
The Rebel defense, on the other hand, looks fast and lethal. The return of defensive end CJ Johnson should greatly enhance the Ole Miss pass rush and new Tide QB Coker could have difficulty distributing the ball to the right receiver as the pressure mounts. Combine the deafening crowd inside the Vaught that we all expect and we think the Rebels will stay close to Bama throughout the game.
Sport Editor Adam Brown’s Prediction: When the game comes to a end after a hard-fought matchup, Adam reluctantly predicts the Crimson Tide will hand the Rebels their first loss of the season.
Editor Andy Knef’s Prediction: Ole Miss defeats the Crimson Tide and remains undefeated jumping into the race for the number one ranking in the polls.
Managing Editor Kate Wallace’s Prediction: With a preemptive, pre-season outlook, Kate sees a close and disappointing loss to the Tide. (However, she also believes that the Rebels play better when she down talks them. Reverse psychology, right?)
Adam Brown in HottyToddy.com sports editor, adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

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