It’s no surprise that we're back in the SEC with the game of the week. Last week it was good to step outside of the usual suspects and take a look at the Big 12, but it’s hard to overlook this Ole Miss-LSU contest this weekend. Ole Miss comes into this game riding a string of big wins, but the Rebels have been through the ringer with physical contest after physical contest. LSU has two losses on the season, but for some reason Les Miles finds ways to get a win or two that he shouldn’t and keep the Tigers in contention for a big bowl game every year.
Ole Miss is good. In fact, the Rebels are very well-coached and they find ways to outplay their opponents. They are doing it with a defense that is only giving up a little over 10 points per contest. When your defense can play at that level, it takes a ton of pressure off of your offense. The play calling doesn’t have to be as risky, and the coaches and players can concentrate on little things because there is no threat of having to put up large numbers.
It’s not like the Rebels can’t put up big numbers if they need to though. Senior quarterback Bo Wallace has been as good as anyone in the country and has stepped up big on the big stage this year. He has steadily gotten better with each game and has slightly less than 2,000 yards passing on the season. Wallace can do it in a variety of way,s but he has a lot of fight in him, which is carrying over to the rest of his teammates.
LSU is no slouch on offense or defense either. The Tigers give up a little over 17 points per contest, but they also score over 35 points per game. The Tigers get it done on the ground with homegrown freshman runner Leonard Fournette leading the way. Fournette has been as good as advertised, and his backfield partner in crime senior Kenny Hilliard has just been as productive with less work at the position.
LSU struggled against Mississippi State at the beginning of the game but found a way to rally late to make it an interesting contest. However, the Tigers were mollywhopped in their contest against the Auburn Tigers earlier this season. LSU can’t really afford to get behind early to the Rebels because it needs to keep the running threat alive to have a chance to win the game.
I expect a good game in this one. The Rebels have the advantage in all three areas of the game. They have a more balanced offense, a faster defense and their special teams just keep finding ways to be special. So all signs say pick Ole Miss. However, I’m going out on a limb and saying that this is the one that Les Miles steals and shakes up the college football rankings. LSU wins this one by a small margin.
Color Commentator for Time Warner Cable Sports Network NC/SC/OH and NCCU Sports Network. Washed up athlete who used to ball, now I write and call.