Using ESPN’s FPI (Football Power Index) as a guide, No. 11 Ole Miss (4-0, 1-0) has a 47.1 percent chance to beat No. 3 Alabama (4-0, 1-0) on Saturday.


It’s a topic that’s been beaten into the ground by the Ole Miss media and fans alike, but the Rebels must limit their turnovers if they hope to upset No. 3 Alabama this weekend in Oxford.

Ole Miss has committed nine turnovers, which is the second-highest number among all 14 SEC teams (only Vanderbilt is worse, having committed 14 turnovers). Quarterback Bo Wallace is responsible for seven of Ole Miss nine turnovers, which is as many or more than 11 entire teams in the conference.

When Wallace has battled the turnover bug, Ole Miss has struggled mightily on offense. He threw three interceptions against Boise State in Week 1, and Ole Miss was stuck at seven points heading into the fourth quarter of that game. He committed three more turnovers last week against Memphis, and once again Ole Miss was stuck at seven points through three quarters.

Wallace had just one total turnover in two games against Vanderbilt and UL Lafayette, and Ole Miss scored a combined 97 points in those two games.

Alabama’s defense has no trouble forcing turnovers and turning those turnovers into points at the other end of the field. It forced three turnovers its last time out against Florida, and the Tide scored 42 points to thump the Gators in Tuscaloosa. However, during the Tide’s quiet 3-0 start to the year, it forced just one turnover in three ugly wins.

Alabama is clearly better when it can force turnovers, and Ole Miss is clearly worse when it commits turnovers. These principles are true for any team in America, but they are especially true in this matchup between a turnover-prone quarterback and one of the nation’s best defenses in recent years.

Ole Miss was shut out by Alabama 25-0 last season, and lost to the Tide 45-14 two years ago. In those two showdowns (both of which were led by current head coach Hugh Freeze and Wallace under center) the Rebels committed five turnovers while scoring just two touchdowns, making it obvious as to how Alabama won both games by such a convincing margin.

Wallace is still hampered by turnover issues, and as a result the Rebels have less than a 50 percent probability of earning a win at home in this critical top 15 matchup in the SEC West.