Celebrating the start of fall practice this week, there’s no better time to begin our SEC game-by-game predictions series breaking down each and every contest during the regular season.

We pride ourselves on knowing college football’s most competitive conference as well as anyone and as one reader pointed out this summer using a weighted point system based on accuracy against other preseason prognosticators, our annual ‘Crystal Ball’ ranks among the nation’s most precise.

RELATED: 2015 preseason bowl projections | SDS’ best and worst 2014 predictions

We called a couple big-time upsets last fall including Mississippi’s win over Alabama, but whiffed on South Carolina’s abrupt fall from grace in the East along with Mizzou’s second consecutive division title.

We’re ready for another exciting season of SEC football, aren’t you?


2014 Crystal Ball Projection: 9-3, 5-3
2014 Actual: 9-4, 5-3


Sept. 5 vs. UT-Martin (W): We’ll get our first look at Ole Miss on offense without Bo Wallace leading the charge in several years. Less turnovers, better rhythm perhaps?

Sept. 12 vs. Fresno State (W): The Rebels’ front seven makes quick work of a fringe bowl qualifier while Laquon Treadwell’s return from a severe ankle injury comes full circle with his first touchdown reception in 2015.

Sept. 19 at Alabama (L): The first road start for a rookie starting quarterback couldn’t be anymore difficult and the Crimson Tide haven’t lost to the Rebels in Tuscaloosa since 1988.

Sept. 26 vs. Vanderbilt (W): Last year’s game at LP Field in Nashville was a bore, much like this season’s rematch in Oxford. The Commodores’ only points come on a Darrius Sims kickoff return in the second half.

Oct. 3 at Florida (L): We called last season’s major SEC upset in Oxford two months before it happened, knowing the Rebels would be up for the College GameDay atmosphere surrounding a major bout with Alabama. In a contest that comes down to the final drive, here’s where Jim McElwain could get his only signature win in his first season with the Gators.

Oct. 10 vs. New Mexico State (W): A good time to bring out a fresh alternate jersey against a team that lost 10 games last season. The Aggies do however have a wideout on the Biletnikoff watch list (Teldrick Morgan), so it’s important Tony Conner and the Ole Miss secondary pays attention in the film room.

Oct. 17 at Memphis (W): Taming these Tigers won’t be a walk-in-the-park on the road, but the talent differential remains considerable and Hugh Freeze is yet to have one of those head-scratching non-conference losses at Ole Miss (TCU should’ve been in the Playoff last season, FYI).

Oct. 24 vs. Texas A&M (W): Two evenly-matched teams go at it during what could be one of the most exciting Western Division clashes this fall. If Laremy Tunsil vs. Myles Garrett doesn’t have you amped for SEC football, we’re not sure what will. Rebels find a way.

Oct. 31 at Auburn (L): Here’s a potential season-smasher for the Tigers if Ole Miss sneaks into Jordan-Hare Stadium and comes out with a win. Potentially the Rebels’ most important game of the year, a victory keeps Ole Miss a game back in the West with opportunity entering November. Jeremy Johnson against one of the best defenses he’ll face all year makes for an interesting subplot.

Nov. 7 vs. Arkansas (W): In a wild affair out West, Ole Miss comes up with a crucial turnover late to preserve a much-needed victory amid the final stretch, eliminating the much-improved Hogs from division title contention.

Nov. 21 vs. LSU (L): Another toss-up defensive battle for the Rebels we’re throwing in the loss column. If the Tigers are still playing musical quarterbacks at this time, Ole Miss will roll at home, but we expect LSU to be one of several SEC teams — the Rebels included — to be jockeying for New Year’s Six position down the stretch. Flip a coin here.

Nov. 28 at Mississippi State (W): SEC offensive player of the year candidate Dak Prescott’s final home game spoiled by his hated nemesis? That’s how these rivalry games go when we hype up the revenge factor.

2015 PROJECTED FINISH: 8-4, 4-4; Fourth in the West

THE LOWDOWN: Nine wins during the regular season feels like the more likely total for this year’s team based on the Rebels’ sheer talent on both sides of the football, but an unexpected hiccup in Gainesville will keep Ole Miss from a top-half finish in the West. Bye week placement is another serious dilemma. The Rebels won’t get their open date until after they’ve played 10 consecutive weeks to begin the season. Ouch.