Ole Miss vs Alabama preview
Bruce Newman via USA TODAY Sports
Ahead of Saturday’s matchup between #1 ranked Alabama and #12 ranked Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin has had fun bringing back up the topic of rat poison that Coach Saban made famous in a rant after a sluggish win over Texas A&M in 2017. Last week Lane Kiffin posted a rat emoji followed with a poison emoji after praising his quarterback Matt Corral poking fun at Nick Saban and his rat poison view of media praise of his team. Earlier this week Lane Kiffin tried to spread some rat poison to the media when he said Alabama has “no holes” and even if they did, they filled them with “free agency”. With all the references to rat poison floating around this week, we could call this game the Rat Poison Bowl.
Both teams come into this matchup highly ranked. Bama comes in ranked #1 while Ole Miss has shot up the rankings to #12 after a 3-0 start. Alabama holds a 52-10-2 edge in this series. Alabama has won five straight games in this series. According to 247 Sports roster rankings Alabama has the #1 ranked roster in the nation while Ole Miss enters this game with the 27th ranked roster.
According to many Vegas lines, the point total in this game is 79.5 points. This may be the highest point total ever projected by a Vegas line for an SEC matchup. Vegas expects a shootout and everything else points to a shootout this Saturday. Current spread has Alabama a 14.5 favorite. The way points may be adding up on the scoreboard like a pinball machine makes a 14.5 line seem much smaller.
Ole Miss brings a very talented and a very experienced offense into this game with one of the nations top play callers as head coach and and a very creative offensive coordinator calling the plays. This will bring a huge challenge to an Alabama defense that was expected to be much improved with most players returning on that side of the ball. Florida brought some doubts as to how good this Alabama defense can be this year when they racked up 439 total yards and a more disturbing 244 yards on the ground.
Ole Miss is not just a passing team. They can run the ball and run it very well.The Ole Miss offense is averaging 635 yards per game with 298 yards coming on the ground per game. The Ole Miss defense has shown improvement giving up 344.7 yards per game with 208.67 yards allowed through the air and 136 yards on the ground.
Alabama enters this game averaging 465.5 yards per game in total offense. Bama averages 313.75 yards per game through the air and 151.8 yards on the ground. There are some questions about the Bama running game after being held in check by the Florida defense that only allowed Bama 91 yards on the ground. The Bama defense is giving up 288.8 yards per game with 168 yards per game being allowed through the air and 120.8 yards per game on the ground.
Alabama has faced two ranked teams early in the season while this will be the first ranked opponent Ole Miss has faced this year. One advantage Bama has is that they have had to play in a couple of pressure games. One turned out to be pressure throughout the game versus Florida while Alabama quickly extinguished the pressure in the other game versus Miami. One big question entering this game is how will Ole Miss react to the pressure of playing against the top ranked team in the country. Most of these players were on last year’s team that pushed Alabama to the limits before Alabama finally defeated the Rebels 63-48.
Ole Miss had a bye week before entering this week’s game. Ole Miss had three opponents that they could coast against and hide some of their playbook. It is certain the Bama defense will see alot of up tempo stuff that Lane loves to run and there will be a few plays and formations that even Alabama’s vast film archive with all their administrative assistants have not seen. Also Lane Kiffin’s offense can go even faster this year with most players returning in his uptempo system. This is a perfect scenario for Ole Miss to pull off a huge upset being able to point to this game since the start of fall camp. On the other hand Alabama has the players to exploit any weakness Ole Miss has on defense. Scoreboard operators will be very busy Saturday.
Who will win the Rat Poison Bowl? This game will need a warning label for those who have weak hearts. This is the type of game where a 21 point lead will not be safe until there are zero’s left on the clock. The ultra fast tempo of Ole Miss and the balance of run and pass will give the Bama defense the ultimate test. I am sure the fire Pete Golding tweets will flood twitter before the end of the first quarter. This is the style of game that even Georgia’s elite defense would give up a ton of yards and points based on the tempo and number of possessions each team will likely have. Alabama will face every bullet Lane Kiffin has in his coaching chamber to win this game. You don’t have to be a mind reader to know how much he would love to beat his former boss and be the first of Nick Saban’s assistant coaches to actually beat Coach Saban as a head coach. How ready is Alabama? Alabama will be much more prepared for the ultra fast tempo Ole Miss ran last year and the defense has more depth than last year. But the tempo both teams run will have success. I don’t expect over 100 points scored like last year, but it will not be far from that mark. The Rebels will bring a ton of ammunition to try to take down the top ranked Pachyderms in Bryant-Denny. It may take until late in the fourth quarter before the Capstone Tuskers can outflank General Kiffin and his Oxford sharp shooters to win the Rat Poison Bowl. Final, Alabama 48 Ole Miss 40
Article written by Randy Bell. Twitter: RandyBelk1