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Around the SEC: How the Rebels Stack Up Against Georgia, Texas A&M


This week we’ll take a look at the consensus favorite in the east…Georgia and an unknown factor in the west (at least for this year)…Texas A&M.

The good thing for the Rebels is we won’t have to face Georgia until at least the SEC Championship game, which is a distinct possibility. And the good news about facing A&M this fall, we will not have to travel to the largest (and noisiest) stadium in the league, Kyle Field, which now seats 102,512 and boasts the largest video screen in America. Alabama and Auburn must travel there along with MSU for their October 3rd contest. Let’s look at the Rebels briefly first.

One of the biggest advantages that Ole Miss has experienced in this fall camp is the fact All-SEC players are going head-to-head with each other on both sides of the line, which will prepare the team tremendously for the challenges ahead. One case in point is with sophomore DE Marquis Haynes, who has been battling with OL Laremy Tunsil in practice.

As a result Haynes should be an even better pass rusher this year! Another Reb turning heads on defense is DE Fadol Brown. He should be outstanding this season, which will make the shark attack even more ferocious.

All three QB’s are still in the mix and everyone knows that competition only forces one to improve. Ryan Buchanan, Chad Kelly and Devante Kincaid will all receive their opportunities to excel. The coaching staff is looking for a team leader at this position who will not force issues on the field committing turnovers in the process. With the season opener now only 4 days away (11 am vs. TN Martin on the SEC Network Alternative Channel) many of the lingering questions and uncertainties will be shortly answered.

The Georgia Bulldogs are once again the solid favorite to prevail in the east. Many experts are forecasting the Dogs to go 11-1, however, several minefields await. Head Coach Mark Richt now in his 15th season (where does time fly?) must host the Crimson Tide for the first time since 2008. Georgia opens the season with LA Monroe at the same time the Ole Miss game kicks off. With SC as the third game ( in Athens) on the schedule, the fifth game versus Bama might be the first real test.

Georgia has a number of weapons this year starting with running sensation Nick Chubb, who rushed for 1547 yards and 14 TD’s a year ago. The 5-10 220 LB. sophomore (size wise) is very similar to Reb rusher Akeem Judd. (Notice the similarity in names also!)

Like Ole Miss there is uncertainty in the QB spot as the trio of Brice Ramsey, Greyson Lambert and Faton Bauta are all competing. Brian Schottenheimer, new offensive coordinator, has replaced Mike Bobo who became Head Coach at Colorado State. He has inherited the highly touted OL ( some say it’s the best in the SEC) and in 2014 the Dogs featured the number one scoring offense in the league putting up 41 per game. Isaiah McKenzie is being counted on to be the deep threat. Georgia’s problem last year was stopping the run, but are highlighting two outstanding LB’s in Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd.

Returning to the western side of the conference, the Aggies also are having questions at QB, however, Kyle Allen seems to have the nod for now. Texas A&M will be tested right out of the gate with a 6pm matchup against Arizona State in Houston. This is a game Reb rooters should play close attention. Last year the Aggies opened at SC with a surprise 52-28 victory although they only ended up 3-5 in the league. Head Coach Kevin Sumlin starts his fourth season with an improved DL thanks to new coordinator, John Chavis.

Line backing sensation, A.J. Hilliard, returns from an injury who will be supported by sack master Myles Garrett. The defense gave up 34 points or more six times last fall, which must improve if the Aggies are going to move up in the west. Aggie fans are anticipating the most as all 102,000 tickets were sold in a whopping 18 minutes according
to sources.

Special thanks to Ole Miss sports; Bleacher Report and Athlon Sports for providing such great insights into the upcoming season.

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. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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