SEC Showdown: Ole Miss At Alabama
The Lane Train chugs into Tuscaloosa on Saturday as the Rebels are set to take on the Tide. Before you let somebody tell you this game is a lock. Right before they tell you that Saban is 23-0 against former assistants as head coaches. I want you watch how this game went down last year. Although the Gators came closer score wise, no team in college football seemed more capable of taking down Alabama than Ole Miss. Now, two very improved defenses will get their crack at SEC foe in the rematch we’ve waited all year for.
How Ole Miss Wins
I actually see a lot of scenarios where the Rebels pull off the upset. They come back to this game with a better defense, more experience, and believe me when I tell you they’ve been waiting for this game. We may never see a more focused, more prepared, and more pumped up team in the regular season than Ole Miss this Saturday. They want this one.
There are a few matchup advantages here, specifically the fact that the Alabama run game has struggled thus far. Ole Miss typically puts three men on the line of scrimmage, and if you can stop the run game with those three guys, the game is yours. Keep the run game muffled, and when you have eight guys drop back and force a brand new quarterback to make tough decisions, good things happen. Good things like punts, turnovers, and field goals. Those good things put the ball in your hands. And when Ole Miss gets the ball in their hands, expect fireworks.
As a quarterback, facing Alabama is a special kind of challenge. It’s a badge, an accolade, something that can define your college career. Joe Burrow, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, these are the kinds of quarterbacks who stepped up to that challenge. If you believe Matt Corral belongs to that elite club, then you have every reason to believe you can win this game.
How Alabama Wins
Alabama has the advantage of having already been punched in the mouth this year. They’ve identified their weaknesses and appear to be a much improved team in several key areas. The emergence of Jaleel Billingsley and Jameson Williams recently will without a doubt play a factor in this game, as the Tide had no “standout” pass-catches through the first several weeks.
Despite an upgraded receiving corps compared to week one, this Alabama team isn’t as capable of trading points as they were last year. However, I think we see a very different effort from them defensively since last time around. One of the issues Pete Goulding, the defensive coordinator for Bama, ran into last year was how easily Ole Miss was flipping it out to their running backs and tight ends. Those two position groups combined for six receiving touchdowns last year for Ole Miss. This year, Alabama has been playing two linebackers and two linemen on the line of scrimmage, meaning there’s more speed to break horizontally on the field and turn 15-20 yards gains into gains of less than five. An improved defensive product and another stellar showing for Bryce Young spells out a Bama win Saturday.
Alabama. Ole Miss is talented enough to beat this young Alabama squad, at least I believe that. However… one distinct memory from last season is haunting me. In 2019, LSU went on the road and took down the Alabama Crimson Tide on their way to a national championship. Anyone who remembers “Roll Tide, what?” knows where I’m going. If you don’t, google it, but I won’t say those words here. My point being, Alabama was beaten and taunted, Saban remembered. All the talk before the Bama-LSU 2020 rematch revolved around the Saban revenge angle. Bama won that game 55-17.
Now, Ole Miss wasn’t able to BEAT Bama last year, but they embarrassed them. Believe that. Alabama let up nearly 650 yards. They. Were. Embarrassed. If I’m going to make any sort of prediction on this game, I’m going to predict that Saban remembered that feeling. Now, he’s looking to make a lesson out of the Rebels.
Any time Saban is angry, give me Bama by 40.
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