Ole Miss Football: Three Questions with Chop Chat

Nov 7, 2015; Clemson, SC, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) carries for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2015; Clemson, SC, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) carries for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports /

The experts of Ole Hotty Toddy sat down with the experts of Chop Chat to discuss the Ole Miss versus Florida State game.

1. With the loss of Maguire and Henry, will the game plan be more conservative with Francois in the backfield?

Jason Parker: One thing you can say about Fisher’s tenure in Tallahassee is that he doesn’t start the game conservative – he waits until he builds a 21-0 lead, then makes fans cringe as they hold on for a 21-17 victory.

All kidding aside, having the luxury of Dalvin Cook at running back along with several upperclassman at wide receiver and a defense that may be one of the best in the nation means the Seminoles can afford to be a little more open with Francois for the sheer fact that he doesn’t have to win the game by himself.

Kelvin Hunt: I don’t think so. Francois has the ability to hurt teams with his legs, but I think he’s very much a pass first, run if a play breaks down type of player. Jimbo Fisher was asked this very question last week and pretty much said teams can’t afford to play that way (scared or conservative), and he’ll do whatever it takes to win the game.

If that’s running Francois, they’ll run him. It looks like Maguire is healing faster than anticipated, so FSU should have some QB depth by the time the Louisville game rolls around. Make no mistake about it, if Francois were to go down early in the Ole Miss game…FSU would be in a world of trouble with JJ Cosentino under center.

2. Do you believe that these kinds of games are important to the game of college football?

Kelvin Hunt: Absolutely. I’m always a fan of watching two quality teams compete. That’s the beauty of college football, not to mention this is the first game of the season so we’ve had all off-season to dissect and anticipate!

There are NFL caliber players on both teams, it’s primetime, and the atmosphere should be electric even if it is a “neutral site” game (but not really…haha). There are ACC/SEC bragging rights on the table!

Jason Parker: Of course you want the best taking on the best – and that’s something we will get with two of the top 11 teams in the country facing off in the shadow of Mickey Mouse. With that being said, I can also understand the hesitation considering the loser of this game has absolutely no wiggle room the rest of the way (since the Rebels takes on Alabama 12 days later ahead of a monster SEC slate, while FSU still has at least four more ranked games left, with as many as seven possible).

3. What is FSU fans perception of the Ole Miss program? Further, does playing an SEC team in the opener add fuel to the fire for the FSU fan base? 

Jason Parker: As to the first part of the question, all most FSU fans know about the Rebels is what we see on television: a team that has upset the defending league champs two straight years with nothing to show for it, yet still seems to come across as slightly braggadocios. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of respect from FSU fans and players for what Ole Miss brings to the table, but also a little bit of wondering when the other shoe is going to drop each season and send them to a mid-major bowl.

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I think there is some amount of the fan base that does get amped up playing the SEC in the opener, especially a team other than Florida that we see every season. For years, the Seminoles get compared to SEC teams since we are probably the closest thing to a prototype of a program in that conference without actually being in it. There are some who are still upset about not being invited to the conference a quarter century ago, but for the most part it’s about getting bragging rights over a conference that we’re constantly being told is the best in college football.

Kelvin Hunt: That’s a good question. There isn’t any recent history between the two schools, so I’m not sure how much casual FSU fans know about Ole Miss other than they’ve beaten Alabama the last two years, and they’ve probably heard about the NCAA issues.

I get a sense that FSU fans respect Ole Miss, and that could be attributed to them being in the SEC or whatever.

I don’t think playing an SEC team in the opener adds any fuel to the fire. This is a fan base that thought FSU was going to make the playoffs last season (and wrongfully so as it was a rebuilding year). So expectations are always high in Tally.

FSU plays Florida every year and whipped them the last five out of six games. Jimbo Fisher is 7-1 against the SEC since becoming head coach (beat Spurrier’s USC team in 2010 bowl). Also, FSU has played huge OOC games early in the season in years past against Oklahoma (2010, 2011), Oklahoma State (2014), Notre Dame (2014). The fan base is used to being in primetime spots, so Monday will be business as usual for the team and the fans respectively.