Ole Miss is coming off one of their most successful seasons in over a decade. The Rebels defeated Oklahoma State 48-20 in the Sugar Bowl to finish the year at 10-3.
Unfortunately for Ole Miss they have to deal with what could have been. The Rebels had control of the SEC West thanks to a 43-37 win at Alabama early in the year.
Despite ugly losses at Florida and Memphis, they were in the driver seat with just 3 games left. Then came a heartbreaking overtime loss at home to Arkansas. A game they were in position to win until the Razorbacks converted a 4th and 25.
Ole Miss ended up 1-game back of the Crimson Tide in the West and had to watch Alabama go on to win it all. On the bright side, the Rebels should remain a threat in the division under head coach Hugh Freeze.
|Date||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|9/5||Florida State (Orlando)|
|11/12||@ Texas A&M|
|Estimated Wins: TBD|
*We take the win chance by using the college football win percentage chart for each point spread.
The Rebels won’t have to wait long to remind everyone that they are still one of the best in the SEC. Ole Miss opens the season with a monster non-conference matchup against Florida State.
Then after an easy home game against Wofford, get to host Alabama and Georgia to kick off SEC play. After that a revenge game against Memphis and two big road games versus LSU and Arkansas.
If the Rebels can avoid a major setback early in the season, things will get easier down the stretch. Their final four SEC games are against Auburn, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
While easier than the gauntlet they open the year with, those are guaranteed wins by any means. Auburn will be much improved, as well Texas A&M, who they have to play on the road. You also can’t count anything in their in-state rivalry against the Bulldogs.
Coming into last year there were major questions regarding the offense. Ole Miss had to replace a 3-year starter in Bo Wallace, who left as the second all-time leading passer. Behind only Eli Manning.
There was hope that juco transfer Chad Kelly could fill the void and he certainly did just that. Kelly was better than expected, completing 65% of his passes for 4,042 yards. He had 31 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions and rushed for another 500 yards and 10 scores.
So, while there’s only 5 starters back, there’s optimism with Kelly returning at quarterback. He will have to make due without All-American wide out Laquon Treadwell, who was a 1st round NFL draft pick. Treadwell easily led the team with 82 receptions for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cody Core is also gone (6th round pick).
The good news is the Rebels are loaded at the position. Wide outs Quincy Adeboyejo, Damore’ea Stringfellow and Markell Pack all return. Each had over 30 receptions and 350 yards. Kelly also welcomes back senior tight end Evan Engram.
Ole Miss also loses leading rusher Jaylen Walton, but again have plenty of talent to replace him. Jordan Wilkins and Akeem Judd combined for 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. Both averaging at least 5.3 yards/carry. They are also excited about the addition of red-shirt freshman Eric Swinney.
The key to the offense and how it performs will be a young but very talented offensive line. Ole Miss will send out true freshman Greg Little at left tackle (top recruit at his position). Red-shirt freshman Alex Givens is expected to take over at right tackle. While sophomores Javon Patterson and Joran Sims project as the two starting guards.
There’s several holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball as well. Ole Miss only has 5 starters back and lose 4 of their top 5 tacklers.
On the defensive line the Rebels have to replace All-American defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. However, they do appear to be in good shape up front. They get back starting ends Fadol Brown and Marquis Haynes. They also return former starting tackle Issac Gross, who had to use a medical red-shirt in 2015.
At linebacker the Rebels have to replace the talened C.J. Johnson, but may actually be in better shape. They get back senior Tony Conner, who missed 8 games last year. They also add in Oregon State transfer Rommel Mageo, who led the Beavers with 110 tackles in 2015.
The secondary will have to overcome the losses of All-American safety Trae Elston as well as talented safety Mike Hilton. However, they do get back both starting corners, led by junior Kendarius Webster. The hope is that highly touted true freshman Deontay Anderson can step in at safety and play well.
Regular Season Win Total
SEC West Odds
SEC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
*Odds updated live on our college football odds page
There are going to be those that don’t even think about Ole Miss as a real threat in the SEC West. Most believe it’s a two-team race between LSU and Alabama. While I’m not calling for the Rebels to win the division, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.
Ole Miss is every bit as talented as the other elite SEC teams and should have the best quarterback. For I just think the schedule is too tough to overcome. I have the Rebels going 5-3 in the conference and 8-4 overall.
While the 8-wins is lower than the 8.5 win total set for 2016, it’s not one I recommend betting. Ole Miss is more than capable of getting to 9 and even 10 wins.
Win Total Prediction