After the good news Ole Miss football fans have received since the past Egg Bowl victory you knew somebody would have to try to rain on our parade.
The 2017 college football season is barely over yet many Ole Miss football fans have already been looking forward to 2018. With our season ending Thanksgiving night it has left us without our college football team just a bit longer than fans for some others. Sure we didn’t get to a bowl game because of self-imposed sanctions. However, we’ve had a lot of really great news for the Ole Miss program since that time. You can’t blame us for wanting to see more of our Rebels asap.
Of course, the confetti was still falling from the top of Mercedes-Benz Stadium when the first ‘way too early’ article was posted on the upcoming season. I’m a huge fan of the early angle when it comes to prediction articles. One of those I happened to see was from one of my favorite sports magazines of all time, Athlon. I grew up reading the Athlon rags when I was younger and have always had the deepest respect for their rankings.
However, I had no idea in the modern age Athlon was in the ‘way too early’ ranking business. Just to be fair it was just an ‘early’ 2018 SEC prediction piece. Considering it did come out Jan 10, 2018 I’ll still put it in the ‘way too early’ category for sake of the falling confetti argument. At any rate, Athlon put out a piece predicting the finish of each SEC team in 2018. Oh, there were a few really ‘way too early’ surprises.
2018 SEC According To Athlon
Ole Miss Rebels Football
Naturally me being the fan of Athlon I always have been I hit on the link to read the article. Of course I really wanted to see where Athlon would rank the Rebels. Let’s just say I was not really surprised by Alabama getting their fair share of privilege to repeat as leader of the SEC West. Nor was I surprised by Auburn being picked to finish at No.2.
Here’s where the piece began to get just a little sketchy. At No.3 Steven Lassan of Athlon has Miss State. Ok, not taking anything away from MSU but they have just had a staff overhaul under a new head coach.
Of course, they have LSU at No.4. However it doesn’t mean No.4 is a guarantee. LSU will need more than just the jet sweep to win games in 2018. Still the Bayou Bengals should have been ranked ahead of State College in my opinion.
At No.5 they have Texas A&M and new head coach Jimbo Fisher. This is one which I believe Athlon nailed. As much as Jimbo Fisher is being hyped he never really did much with FSU talent. Still no Ole Miss. Do you see where this is headed? Needless to say Steven didn’t have us at No.6 either which leaves Arkansas in that spot. Another situation with another new head coach, staff and system. On to good old No.7.
The Problem With No.7
First, nobody likes being picked to finish last in the SEC. However, I’m a Ole Miss fan and I’ve seen years when I picked them to finish last also. Think Houston Nutt’s final season. Of course, this team is light-years ahead of that Ole Miss team and this is a new era in college football.
There is the fact a team which finished 6-6 and has a second year head coach is being picked to finish worse than they did in 2017. How do two first year head coaches get the nod over Matt Luke and perhaps the most potent offense in the SEC? And especially when one of those teams finished below Ole Miss last season.
I really have no qualms about Ole Miss being picked by pundits to finish last in the SEC when it is warranted. However, in this case it isn’t. The honest truth is at this point nobody has a clue of how well or how poorly any given team may do in 2018. Way too early predictions are seldom based on certainty and have been known to be wrong. I don’t have much faith in the Athlon picks for the SEC West. Of course, the SEC East picks didn’t look much better in my opinion. Hotty Toddy!