Ole Miss Football: Grove Grinder, Bama Is Not Mission Impossible

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 8: C.J. Miller #8 of the Mississippi Rebels greets fans during the walk into the stadium before a game against the Southern Illinois Salukis at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 8: C.J. Miller #8 of the Mississippi Rebels greets fans during the walk into the stadium before a game against the Southern Illinois Salukis at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Ole Miss football opens their SEC schedule with the No.1 Alabama Crimson Tide and a lot of Rebels are worried when we already know anything can happen.

Its been a rough week for a lot of Ole Miss football fans as we get closer to Saturday. In recent seasons Rebel Nation has enjoyed success against the Tide and fans have looked forward to the matchup. However in 2018 for a lot of Rebels it has been hard to get excited for No.1 Alabama coming to Oxford. After last years 66-3 blowout loss and last weeks first half defensive meltdown many fans feel let down having expected a much better defense this season. For some of us it was a wakeup call.

After coming off an impressive week-one win over Texas Tech it’s easy to see how the team could lose focus with this Saturday looming ahead. This season before Bama there was no bye week to prepare for Bama. Coach Matt Luke took the blame as expected and said the first half was a result of him not having the team prepared and focused for the game. Whether or not that was the problem with the defense I bet they will be focused this Saturday Thankfully the offense was unaffected by the same issues.

Rough Series For Rebels

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Alabama holding a 50-11-2 series record is ugly. Actually it is very ugly. In recent seasons the Rebels have found success against the Tide winning 2 of the 4 meetings. Older Ole Miss fans know there have been some losses to Alabama but some of them were devastating losses in very close games. Of course those were before Nick Saban rolled into Tuscaloosa. Since then there have been some rough losses indeed.

there was 2014 in Oxford with Bama heavily favored but Ole Miss walked away with a huge 23-17 win over the higher ranked Tide. Yes Ole MIss was ranked No.11 and had a much better defense then but thats not why we didn’t beat Bama that day. We beat Bama because we simply outplayed them and took advantage of opportunities. The win broke a 10 game losing streak to the Tide.

In 2015 Ole Miss went to Tuscaloosa with a No.15 ranking, good offense and nasty defense. Although Bama outranked the Rebels the Rebels once again outplayed the Tide and got the 43-37 road win over a stunned Bama crowd or what was left of it. The win was huge for the Rebels who would play in and win the Sugar Bowl that season over Oklahoma State. Of course, when you beat Bama it is usually indicative of a good season.

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Excitement, Worry And Doubts

While the series has been heavily lopsided the game is a highlight for many Ole Miss fans each season. There is an element of mystery and hope which exist about each season leading up to the Bama game. Bama has been the measuring stick by which every SEC school measures itself each season. This season for the Rebels and others it is really no different. Every SEC school who sees Alabama has that game circled. Despite the series record and Vegas odds makers Ole Miss has found recent success against Bama and could once again.

Yes Bama is good even very good but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yes Bama is favored over the Rebels and that should also come as no surprise. In no way am I taking anything away from this Bama football team because we know what to expect from Alabama. There really are no surprises when it comes to Nick Saban and Alabama. In fact they have become somewhat predictable unless they have a very rare meltdown. What bodes well for Ole Miss is the Tide really doesn’t know what to expect from the Rebels and that makes this Rebels team very dangerous.

This Game Could Be Close

So we wait to see what transpires Saturday night when the Rebels host the Crimson Tide in the Vaught. The Tide will be ready for a battle from the Rebels as well they should be. This Rebels team is not a bad football team and will compete for 60 minutes putting forth their best effort. While many fans both Ole Miss and Bama are expecting the worst for the Rebels not everyone agrees. There are a number of us who believe it could be much closer.

A Bama friend of mine and I were discussing the Vegas line on the game and he wasn’t impressed by it. “It’s just 21 points. If it’s that close Ole Miss is still a threat late in the game and that is not what Saban and Bama fans want to see. Ole Miss is that good on offense,” he stated. One thing is certain, Nick Saban is not underestimating the Rebels when they meet Saturday and he will run the score up if he gets the chance because he doesn’t want a shootout in the fourth quarter. If Saban takes this team serious then Ole Miss fans should as well.

This Saturday is college football in the SEC and this is what it is all about. Would it be any better to enter the Vaught Saturday night against any other team? No, Bama is the No.1 team in the nation and the Rebels are the underdog and you couldn’t ask for a better win than this week against the Tide. It would be an upset and would shock and stun the Bammers far and wide. Remember it wasn’t that long ago we were watching the Tide get rolled by the Rebels and it was nice seeing Alabama nation worry some of their own. Will it happen again in 2018?

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We can’t be sure until they have played 60 minutes and that is the beauty of SEC football. You never can tell how the game may flow or how it may end. Sure, a win would be awesome and we have every right to expect one. Does it hurt to believe the Rebels can win against Bama? Not at all, in fact it could happen as we’ve seen it happen before. Regardless we need to support this Rebels team until the final snap. Good luck to coach Matt Luke and the Rebels! BEAT BAMA! Hotty Toddy!