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Vassallo: Expectations Running High for 2015 Rebels

Regions Grove Bowl, photo by Joshua McCoy - courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics
Regions Grove Bowl, photo by Joshua McCoy – courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

I predict (which is scary) that this chapter of Ole Miss football history will be one of the greatest of all time. That’s a bold forecast, however, it’s based on the strength of the team which includes depth at QB more than Dusty Springfield’s “Wishing and Hoping.”

What we saw Saturday during the spring game was most encouraging. Our coaching staff has done an incredible job in all aspects of the operation. The recruiting, strength conditioning and overall development of players have been nothing short of sensational.

Since my freshman year (which was now 50 years ago in 1965) I have seen quite a bit of Ole Miss football. There have been good teams, bad teams and in a few instances…great teams. This year’s team has the potential to be great. Let’s quickly preview the season.

To start with, the two nonconference games in Oxford versus UT Martin and Fresno State should be victories with little stretch of the imagination. Going to Tuscaloosa we should be 2-0 and will probably be 2-1 when we leave there. Can we win over there? Absolutely, but don’t bank on it. They will be waiting for us knowing that the SEC West could well be determined by the outcome. Since the game falls on my birthday (September 19th), I can think of no better birthday gift!

On to game 4 with Vanderbilt at home. Vandy is still in a down spiral and in all reality is the 14th best squad in a 14 team league. That will place us 3-1 going into Florida, a game that I see is winnable in every respect. However, the swamp is still the swamp and as Ringo sang once upon a time, “It Don’t Come Easy.”

Now we’re 4-1 headed back to Oxford with New Mexico State as opponent #6. This will give us a 5-1 worksheet headed into Memphis which is an ambush in the waiting. This one will be anything but a walk through Overton Square, although I believe our depth will win the day leaving the team 6-1 on Sunday morning coming down on October 18th.

The final five games remind me of Amen Corner at Augusta National. Fortunately four of these are inside the Magnolia State with the odd game at Auburn on Halloween. Our team should be as up for this game as much as any after what happened last year. I know we have the potential to win all five of these, however four wins would be outstanding. That juncture of the season, injuries play such a critical and unknown factor as it’s hard to project this far in advance.

I’ll go out on a limb forecasting a 10-2 season with both losses coming on the road in Alabama. My recollections of winning at Auburn in these past 50 years are few and far between. In fact our record there during that span has been 2 wins and 13 losses. Not a record that would give anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling.

In any event this year will once again be exciting with a large number of extremely talented players getting the headlines. Plan on another major bowl and hopefully another Egg Bowl victory in the process.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford.You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at (985) 852-7745.

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