A tumultuous offseason has not relented for the Ole Miss Rebels. Hugh Freeze was forced to resign after a FOIA request found that he had contacted an escort service with his school issued phone, throwing the program into even greater disarray. That’s a big loss for Ole Miss as it has spent more than a year challenging the NCAA’s accusations surrounding the program. The season is already lost since the Rebels are ineligible for the SEC Championship and the postseason, but new coach Matt Luke is hoping they can at least ruin a few rivals’ seasons.
2016 Record: 5-7 SU, 4-8 ATS, 7-5 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 5.5
National Championship Odds: Ineligible
Odds To Win SEC: Ineligible
If you want a game that was a synopsis of the Rebels season, look no further than the season opener against Florida State. Ole Miss jumped out to a 28-13 halftime lead on the strength of Chad Kelly’s arm, but watched it evaporate within minutes in the second half. The Seminoles outscored the Rebels 23-0 in the third quarter and ended up winning by double digits. The loss proved to be foreboding.
Kelly started the season for Ole Miss, but tore his ACL in early November, clearing the way for freshman Shea Patterson to start. Patterson played well and even led the Rebels to a stunning win over Texas A&M in College Station in his very first start. However, he didn’t look so hot in the two final games of the season as the Rebels got blown out by both Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
The defense was a mess for Ole Miss last year. Ole Miss went from allowing 127 yards per game on the ground in 2015 to 246 YPG in 2016. That’s an insane jump and showed just how much this team depended on Robert Nkemdiche. In the Egg Bowl, the Rebels allowed Mississippi State to gash them for 457 rushing yards and were getting mauled in the trenches.
The best hope for Ole Miss is to not embarrass itself this season. Patterson is rumored to be looking at transfer options and other players may be casting a furtive eye to other schools as well.
Luke should only be a temporary option as the coach, but it may be hard to find another coach willing to take over in Oxford. The situation here is a total mess and the NCAA hasn’t even weighed in with potential penalties from previous investigations.
Ole Miss could have a formidable offense if Patterson decides to stay put. The Rebels brought in Phil Longo from Sam Houston State in the offseason and his version of the Air Raid will play to the strengths of both Patterson and a young, speedy group of wide receivers.
The defense is another story. Underclassmen litter the depth chart and they will be learning a new system. Ole Miss has a ton of speed at every position, but not a lot of size and that’s why it was dominated at the line of scrimmage last season. With Ole Miss’ first two SEC games being road trips to Alabama and Auburn, things could get really bad.
Saturday, September 2: Ole Miss vs. South Alabama
Saturday, September 9: Ole Miss vs. Tennessee-Martin
Saturday, September 16: Ole Miss at California
Saturday, September 30: Ole Miss at Alabama
Saturday, October 7: Ole Miss at Auburn
Saturday, October 14: Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt
Saturday, October 21: Ole Miss vs. LSU
Saturday, October 28: Ole Miss vs. Arkansas
Saturday, November 4: Ole Miss at Kentucky
Saturday, November 11: Ole Miss vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Saturday, November 18: Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M
Thursday, November 23: Ole Miss at Mississippi State
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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