Published September 1, 2011 - 3:15pm
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It’s a new season in Oxford, that’s the good news. 2010-2011 was a long year for the Ole Miss Athletic Department. The Rebel football team was 4-8; the basketball team didn’t make the tournament, and the baseball team didn’t make the postseason for the first time in eight years. However, some changes around Oxford could change up the mojo for the upcoming seasons.
There is a new mascot on campus; “Rebel Black Bear” is here to stay after a long and drawn out selection process. I think most people around Oxford realize that this addition of a mascot was mainly for the kids to have something to get their picture taken with; but there are plenty haters out there getting way too worked up about Ole Miss having a Black Bear as a mascot. There is no doubt that other schools around the SEC will refer to the “Black Bears” with turned up noses; but they can continue to drink their Haterade; doesn’t bother Rebel Nation.
There has been a little bit of momentum with regards to recruiting, but I don’t put much on recruiting rankings; I’ll believe it when I see it. Ole Miss has had highly ranked classes in the past and almost all of the 4-stars and 5-stars the Rebels have gotten haven’t quite panned out. People are somewhat excited about our offensive line too pointing to Bobby Massey and Bradley Sowell as the anchors of the line. These are the same guys the fans were getting worried about last year. I hope they are as good as people predict, but I think Ole Miss Fans have realized that pre-season predictions are worthless. Our defense was supposed to be our strength last year…that didn’t work out for the Rebels. Barry Brunetti was named the starting quarterback after Randall Mackey got into a bar fight; we will see how this year’s transfer quarterback works out. ( Sidenote: this paragraph isn’t as exciting as I thought it was going to be when I started.)
Other reasons the Rebels are excited include the announcement of their new $150 Million campaign to build a new basketball arena and add on to the football stadium. But that too is a long way away and doesn’t have much of an effect on the upcoming season. Last year my predictions were a little off, it appears my case of dyslexia got the best of me; I predicted 9-4 and the Rebels were 4-8. Did I mention they lost to Jacksonville State? Here are my predictions for the upcoming year.
Sept. 3: BYU at Ole Miss
Ole Miss 31
This should be a fun game, it’s an afternoon game and the Rebel fans will get their first look at their new squad. Both teams will be hesitant to take any risks in the first half as they feel out their opponent and themselves, but the second half the scoring will make the game fun to watch. BYU has a lot on this game, scheduling an SEC opponent. Losing to a team that is predicted to finish last in their division would kill any chance they have at decent ranking during the 2011 season. A loss to the Rebels would take any wind they had in their sails and it could spiral downward for the cougars. But they have a lot of smart older Mormons, and no doubt they will play their tails off. Lots of people are predicting Ole Miss to lose this one, which is why I’m going the other way. You can only start off slow for so many years before you are due to have a good win early.
Sept. 10: Southern Illinois at Ole Miss
Southern Illinois 17
Ole Miss 34
Last year I made the mistake of not knowing where Jacksonville State was and mentioning that in my prediction, Ole Miss lost to JSU in overtime. Unlike Jacksonville State, the name Southern Illinois tells me right where the school is. Since I know where they are located, I predict the Rebels win this one too. That’s not really the reason I pick the Rebels, but come on, surely they can’t lose to two of these teams in two years…statistically speaking.
Sept. 17: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
Ole Miss 24
Well, I have the Rebels starting of 2-0 which is better than most people would have them; I am an optimist. But I don’t think the Rebels are going to start of 3-0. If they lose to BYU, they beat Vanderbilt, if they beat BYU, they lose to Vanderbilt. Somehow the Rebs are going to start 2-1. If I were to be honest I would guess that Vanderbilt doesn’t have a chance to win this game. New coach, and not too much talent, and 3,000 quiet fans doesn’t sound too intimidating; but Vandy will be excited to play unlike the Rebels.
Sept. 24: Georgia at Ole Miss
Ole Miss 17
Mark Richt has had his chance to prove he is a good coach. I predict that if the Dawgs don’t have a breakout year that Mark Richt is out. Nice guy, but unless the Dawgs win 9, he’s out. Every year I hear about the Georgia talent, and they just haven’t delivered for me. That said, this is a huge turning point in the season for the Rebels; it’s either back to .500 or 3-1. I’m sure Ole Miss Fans will be excited to welcome the Bulldogs to Oxford and that’s why I predict this game to be close. But I think that Mark Richt squeezes out with a win.
Oct. 1: Ole Miss at Fresno State
Fresno State 34
Ole Miss 48
More Bulldogs? Back to back weeks? Rebels can’t get beat up by dogs back to back weeks. The Rebs might be a little stiff after the four hour flight from Oxford but talent alone will allow them to get out of the Fresno State series unscathed. I predict this game will be higher scoring as both offenses will have finally found their rhythms. Ole Miss rhythm is based more on the passing game than people predicted preseason, but it is a balanced attack.
Oct. 15: Alabama at Ole Miss
Ole Miss 17
Honesty is the best policy, so I will be honest. The Rebels lose this game too. Personally, I’m tired of losing to Nick Saban mainly because he seems so unhappy. If he would smile every now and then and seem less creepy I would cheer for the Tide a little more. My guess would be that he is a smoker. Anyways, I am picking Alabama to win because they are Alabama and know how to win and we are Ole Miss and we just usually lose to Alabama. Somehow Nick Saban will still be incredibly furious with the Tide after the win.
Oct. 22: Arkansas at Ole Miss
Ole Miss 28
Nobody. And I mean nobody, comes in to OUR HOUSE, and pushes us around (except Georgia and Alabama so far). Yes, you heard it here, this is the game this year that Houston Nutt again wins one that people don’t think he should’ve. Maybe it’s the little bit of extra passion that comes with him leaving the hogs; somehow Houston will rally up the troops for this one and Ole Miss wins by 2 touchdowns.
Oct. 29: Ole Miss at Auburn
Ole Miss 24
Man, I wanted to finish this prediction with the Rebs finishing at either 6-6 or 7-5, but I want to pick em to win more. I’m not going to do it, so I’m going to give the Rebs a loss here. Auburn is supposed to be down, but I think they will win 9 games this year. Maybe still down to them, but 9 wins is pretty decent for losing a Heisman quarterback. I’m predicting Auburn to score a lot on the Rebels during this one, mostly on the ground.
Nov. 5: Ole Miss at Kentucky
Ole Miss 38
I’m predicting Kentucky to take this one as well. Not because the Rebels are bad, but because Kentucky is going to be good this year. Yep, nobody else is saying it, but I’m feeling like the Cats will have a great year. It will still be a close game for these two, but Kentucky will do something ridiculous late in the fourth quarter to squeak away with a win.
Nov. 12: La. Tech at Ole Miss
Louisiana Tech 17
Ole Miss 42
Ole Miss gets its 6th win. Woohoo. I don’t think I really need to say much, but the Rebels aren’t Mississippi State and won’t lose to Louisiana Tech. But La. Tech will put some points on the board.
Nov. 19: LSU at Ole Miss
Ole Miss 14
LSU, those crazy sons of guns, they get away with another one here. Not because I don’t think Ole Miss can win, but because I want to keep the Rebels at 7 wins. I’m trying to think with my head, and not my heart. My guess here is that the Ole Miss offensive line isn’t as good as advertised, and the LSU defense is going to have some monsters. Brunetti and Mackey just can’t get it done against these guys.
Nov. 26: Ole Miss at Mississippi State
Ole Miss 35
Mississippi State 24
Yes, you heard right, I predicted Ole Miss to get to 7 wins, and before this game they only have 6. The reason I say this is because Dan Mullen is dumb. I hate to be blunt, but he is not cool, smart, or good looking. He puts up signs that say “Welcome to OUR STATE”, says that “We will never to lose to this school again”, and “I know one program in this state that’s on the rise”. My mom always told me “pride comes before destruction” and it’s about time he gets humbled.
My heart says the Rebs will be in Atlanta playing for the SEC Championship, but my head tells me the Music City Bowl in Nashville, which is still a fun trip.