The Ole Miss defense isn’t getting a whole lot of respect heading into the 2018 season, and considering their performance last year — and the offseason personnel losses of DeMarquis Gates, Marquis Haynes and Breeland Speaks — it’s somewhat justified.

Fortunately for the Rebels, their schedule could be a whole heck of a lot worse (particularly in the nonconference games), though they do face a decent crop of QBs, especially in SEC play.

So, what would a ranking of the QBs Ole Miss is going to face look like? Let’s take a look:

12. Dustin Crum, Kent State

The Golden Flashes still haven’t named a starter yet between the incumbent Crum and JUCO transfer Woody Barrett, a former Auburn signee. Crum saw some time as a freshman last year, throwing for just 232 yards (53.3 percent, 1 TD, 2 INTs) but struggled with consistency and accuracy. He wasn’t bad with his legs, however, rushing for 310 yards. Don’t be surprised if they eventually hand the reins to Barrett, who has more upside.

11. McLane Carter, Texas Tech

Klff Kingsbury still hasn’t named a starting QB yet between Jett Duffey, Alan Bowman and McLane Carter, but most accounts are hinting that the latter is the favorite to start this weekend. Carter is a former JUCO transfer who saw limited time last year with the Red Raiders, throwing for 359 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs in 46 attempts. While nothing is a given for the Ole Miss defense, it could certainly be worse in Week 1 than McLane Carter.

10. Joe Burrow, LSU

I’ve been consistently ranking Burrow near the bottom of these QB power rankings, much to the chagrin of Tigers fans, but my reasoning remains consistent: He still hasn’t played any meaningful snaps yet, so we really don’t know what to expect. Maybe he’s a potential All-American, or maybe there’s an obvious reason Urban Meyer didn’t have any problems letting him walk. Until we know, we don’t know.

9. Sam Straub, Southern Illinois

He was the leading passer for the Salukis last year, completing 56.4 percent of his passes for 1,886 yards with 20 TDs and 9 INTs. While one might disregard his numbers due to most coming against FCS competition, in the lone FBS game he played last year, against a Memphis squad that finished 10-3, he threw for 290 yards with 4 TDs. The Rebels can’t afford to take anyone lightly.

8. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

It appears Mond has beaten out Nick Starkel for the starting job in College Station under new HC Jimbo Fisher. Mond is certainly the better ball carrier of the two and can certainly make plays with his feet, though he really struggled with his accuracy last year (51.5%). Fisher is a renown developer of QBs, though, so it’s not unreasonable to expect improved play from Mond this year.

7. Cole Kelley, Arkansas

The Rebels certainly won’t face a QB larger than Kelley (6-7, 260), this much we know. He was up and down in 2017 when filling in for an injured Austin Allen and finished the year with just over 1,000 yards passing, completing 57.6 percent of his passes with 8 TDs and 4 INTs (with nearly half of his TDs coming against Ole Miss). I’m eager to see how well he fits in the new fast-paced Chad Morris offense, which is a complete change from the plodding, ground and pound Bielema scheme.

6. Caleb Evans, Louisiana-Monroe

It’s easy to overlook the Warhawks but they do return 9 starters on offense, including QB Caleb Evans, who completed 61.3% of his passes last year for 2,878 yards with 17 TDs and 6 INTs, while also adding another 573 yards on the ground with 13 TDs. I’d be more than shocked if ULM were to actually win this game, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Evans put up big numbers.

5. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt

Very quietly, Shurmur was second in the SEC in TD passes last year with 26, behind only Drew Lock of Mizzou. The longtime Vandy starter could become the school’s all-time passing leader with a big season this fall (needing just under 3,000 yards to get there), though he’ll be doing so with a relatively new receiving corps. He’s made big strides each of the past three years, so even with a new group of receivers, it’d be foolish to think he won’t again be a game-changer.

4. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

The Rebels have mixed results when facing Fitzgerald. Last year, before he got hurt, he struggled (1-for-5, INT). In 2016, however, he gashed the Rebs for 258 rushing yards while accounting for 5 TDs (2 rushing and 3 throwing). I expect him to make a lot of developmental steps this year as a passer under QB whisperer Joe Moorhead, and he’ll be throwing to what should be a vastly improved receiving corps. You never really know what to expect when these two teams meet.

3. Jake Bentley, South Carolina

Bentley has been underrated in my opinion, though I think that ends this year, especially with WR Deebo Samuel back from injury. Bentley has good size at 6-4, 224, and has flashed NFL talent the past two years, as he’s thrown for 4,214 yards (63%) with a 27/16 TD to INT ratio, but has struggled with inconsistency in big games. With a good receiving corps coming back and a decent offensive line, Bentley should be in store for his best season yet.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

If the second half of the national title game is any indication of what we can expect from Tagovailoa this year, the SEC better be on high alert, because he’s going to take the Alabama passing attack to new levels. He’s a gifted player with a huge arm and he’ll be throwing to an explosive receiving corps with great speed. Considering the punishing ground attack behind what should be the best offensive line in the SEC, you can’t just drop 5 or 6 guys back on every play, making this a brutally tough matchup.

1.  Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Stidham is the best QB in the SEC in my opinion, with a tantalizing blend of athleticism, arm talent and intelligence. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better quarterback in the second half of the 2017 regular season, where he led his team to wins over No. 1 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama. He has a good receiving corps coming back this year led by Ryan Davis, who set a school record for receptions last year with 84. Stifling a Stidham-led passing attack will be quite a challenge for the Rebels, even if it is in the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway.