Let me begin by saying I like Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin. I really do. I think his inclusion in the SEC is a good thing. However, he’s not going to beat Alabama.

No, Ole Miss doesn’t have a chance when they take on Alabama on Saturday. The Rebels are 3-0, are ranked among the best teams in the nation and had an extra week to prepare, but they’re not beating Alabama.

To hear some talk about the upcoming Ole Miss-Alabama game, you’d think that Kiffin had drawn the ire of Bama coach Nick Saban. Not yet. Not even close. Saban isn’t afraid of lesser foes.

It’s as if some people think Kiffin is an offensive guru with just enough talent to give Alabama a serious challenge on Saturday. They won’t.

Lane, feel free to take the beginning of this column and use it as you will. I think it’s referred to as bulletin board material in your circles. Maybe my sentiments will motivate your players. It had better. This isn’t Tulane you’re playing. This is Alabama. This is the most dominant college football powerhouse in the history of, well, college football. No chance, right?

Well, just for the sake of argument, let’s discuss the potential of an Ole Miss upset. Here are 5 ways Ole Miss could, indeed, beat Alabama on Saturday:

The scene is set

Ole Miss couldn’t ask for a better backdrop to beat Alabama. The Rebels just had an off week in which Kiffin was able to plan for the Crimson Tide. Meanwhile, Bama had to pull most of the tricks out of the bag to beat Florida 31-29 last week. Ole Miss is fresh. Bama’s starters had to prepare — somewhat — for their game against Southern Miss on Saturday. Those starters played for about a half. Bama won handily. That was hardly a surprise — though the Tide can’t count on multiple TD returns every game from Jameson Williams. Things won’t be so ho-hum on Saturday.

Ole Miss won’t get rattled

This is where Kiffin has an advantage over most coaches who have faced Saban. Kiffin isn’t stressed about the Alabama game. He has no reason to be and he knows it. His team is the underdog in just his second year as the Rebels’ head coach. He believes in what he can do. Moreover, Kiffin’s laid-back demeanor is at a premium when the stakes are high. That gives Kiffin the freedom to call the risky play over the conservative one. That freedom, along with some talented players like Matt Corral, gives Kiffin more than a puncher’s chance against Alabama.

The Rebels can score

In 3 games, Ole Miss has scored 158 points. Now, I’m not suggesting that the Rebels have faced a tough schedule. However, Ole Miss did beat Louisville 43-24 in the season-opener. That win looks more impressive in retrospect. Louisville is now 3-1. Its biggest win this season was a 31-23 victory at Florida State.

No matter the opponent, 158 points in 3 games is a lot of points. Matt Corral might be the best quarterback in America, especially when he’s protecting the football. We’ll see if Ole Miss can keep up that pace against Bama, which will present a much tougher challenge for the Rebels’ offense. Can Ole Miss’ offense be as good as they were last season against Alabama? Read on.

Kiffin keeps secrets

To say that Kiffin has some “wrinkles” ready for Alabama is a huge understatement. Kiffin lit up Alabama’s defense last season. The Rebels gained 647 yards in a 63-48 loss to the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss was aggressive. The Rebels converted all 4 of their 4th-down attempts. You can bet that Kiffin knew exactly which plays to pick during the most clutch times. There’s no reason to think he won’t do the same Saturday.

Kiffin hasn’t been preparing for this game for a week or even a month. He’s been preparing to beat Saban since he was the head coach at Tennessee in 2009. In case you don’t remember that game, Kiffin’s Vols were lined up for a game-winning field goal that was low and blocked. The Vols lost 12-10 to Alabama, but Kiffin proved to Saban and the college football world that he wasn’t afraid of the Crimson Tide even if he was vastly outmatched. And, in case you were wondering, Kiffin still isn’t afraid of Alabama. And these Rebels aren’t vastly overmatched.

It has to happen eventually

Everyone knows the stat. It’s zero-for-a lot. Saban’s former assistants just don’t beat him. That has to change eventually, right? There are far too many head coaches in college football with Saban ties to imagine him retiring with an unblemished record against his former disciples. Why can’t it be Kiffin?

There’s reason to believe that at least 2 former Saban assistants have a better chance to beat him before Kiffin, like Kirby Smart at Georgia or Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M (Saturday’s dud against Arkansas notwithstanding). Both have been at their respective schools longer and have had more success than Kiffin. However, it just seems like the type of thing Kiffin would do, beat them all to the punch and beat Saban.

Will it happen Saturday? Absolutely not. But it could.