It wouldn’t be a monstrous upset if Auburn beat Ole Miss on Saturday. For some reason, it feels like the programs are worlds apart. They’re not.

After all, Auburn is ranked No. 18 in the country and Ole Miss is No. 10. The game is also at Auburn. The point spread is just a little less than a field goal, so it would technically be an upset for Auburn because gamblers have determined it would be.

It much easier to predict what this game would mean for either program than what the outcome will be. For Ole Miss, they could win the rest of their regular season games in a relatively easy stretch and, perhaps, sneak into the College Football Playoff. For Auburn, a win against a No. 10 team would be a showcase victory for first-year head coach Bryan Harsin and the countless prospects who will be on hand.

Here are the 4 biggest reasons that Auburn will upset Ole Miss:

Ole Miss’ offense has slowed down

Timing has certainly worked in Auburn’s favor. No one wanted to play Ole Miss in September. It looked as if the Rebels had the best offense in the nation just a couple of weeks ago. In its first 5 games, Ole Miss scored over 50 points on 3 occasions. The Rebels scored just 43 points in their “off” game, a season-opening win against Louisville. Then, that Alabama thing happened. Ole Miss’ offense was easily held in check by Bama, mustering only 21 points. Ole Miss bounced back with a 52-51 win over Arkansas before things started trending in back the Bama direction — downward.

Ole Miss’ offense certainly didn’t look like their old selves against Tennessee or LSU in the past 2 games. The Rebels scored 31 points in both games and lacked the explosiveness that they showcased in the past. The longest touchdown against Tennessee was a 33-yard pass from Matt Corral. The Rebels’ longest touchdown against LSU was a 36-yard run by Jerrion Ealy. Maybe Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin’s team was too fired up for his return to Knoxville as an opposing head coach. Perhaps Kiffin didn’t want to embarrass LSU coach Ed Orgeron after it was announced this season would be he last. They are old friends and Kiffin would love to hire him back one day.

The fact that Ole Miss’ offense has slowed down a bit isn’t surprising. It should have been expected. That pace was going to be hard to keep up as the season wore on. Unlike when Kiffin was the offensive coordinator at Alabama, he doesn’t have the overall depth to replace a banged-up player. Nor does he have countless players to spread the ball around to, which is also a Bama tradition. There’s a lot of those these days.

Here’s another thing to consider. While Ole Miss didn’t have a great day offensively against Bama, you can bet Kiffin he tried to empty the playbook against the Crimson Tide. Kiffin wants to beat Saban more than Saban hates rat poison. Emptying the playbook didn’t work against Alabama, but it did give opponents more to see than they usually would have at that point in the season.

Auburn can run the football

The Tigers aren’t going to manhandle anyone like those Nebraska teams of the 1990s, but Auburn can run the ball well enough to keep the ball away from Kiffin. Auburn is 5th in the SEC with 196 rushing yards per game. If Auburn can rush for their average, they’ll have a great chance of upsetting Ole Miss.

The problem is that Auburn is 12th in the SEC in time of possession. Now, I know that isn’t nearly as pertinent of a statistic as it used to be, but it could be Saturday. Keeping the ball away from Kiffin’s offense can only frustrate him because that keeps him from getting an offense in synch that could turn in a simple play into a long, scoring play. Auburn would rather play a miffed Kiffin than a confident Kiffin.

Auburn has 2 of the top 10 rushers in the SEC: running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter. Bigsby is averaging 75 yards rushing per game. Hunter has rushed for an average of 70 yards per game. Both need to have a big game.

The stage is set. Ole Miss is 13th in the SEC in rushing defense.

Auburn can stop the run — sort of

It might surprise some to know that Ole Miss leads the league in rushing yards with 263 yards per game. Ole Miss is often thought of as a passing team and they can certainly do that with Heisman Trophy candidate Corral playing quarterback. Ole Miss is 4th in the SEC with 277 yards passing per game. That’s called balance.

If Auburn can’t get a feel for Ole Miss and what they might be running on offense, it could be a long day. Fortunately for the Tigers, they are the 5th-best rushing defense in the SEC with 124 yards allowed per game. Against the pass, the Tigers are 8th in the SEC with 217 passing yards allowed per game. Playing Ole Miss is picking your poison. Auburn’s best chance to make the Rebels one-dimensional is to take away their running game. That’s a tall order but it’s more realistic than shutting down Ole Miss’ passing attack.

Call it the Nix-factor

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix could frankly swing this game either direction very, very swiftly. Nix is 10th in the SEC in passer rating. That’s not good. There are just 14 teams in the SEC unless the conference adds a couple of more programs before this is published.

It always feels like Nix could win a game with his mobility or lose a game with his mobility. His decision-making can be a great strength or a terrible weakness. Nix is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wearing an Auburn uniform. It’s too bad that Nix will be facing the No. 2 team in sacks per game when he faces Ole Miss — or is it? Nix was named the top passer while facing pressure in the entire nation by Pro Football Focus when Auburn played Arkansas. Bring it on Rebels! Run, Bo, run.

It has been well documented that Nix is much better at home than on the road, though he has changed that narrative this season. It’s a good thing for Auburn that the game is Jordan-Hare Stadium. I don’t pick games, but if the game were in Oxford, I’d pick Ole Miss’ cheerleaders over Auburn.

The stage is set. Ole Miss is 11th in the SEC in passing defense. Yes, I used that line before.