Ole Miss Rebels (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday September 29th, 2012. 9:15PM Eastern
Where: Bryant Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Miss +31/Bama -31
Over/Under Total: 54.5
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The Alabama Crimson Tide will put their number 1 ranking on the line this week when the Ole Miss Rebels visit Tuscaloosa for a late night SEC West battle. The Crimson Tide has been nothing short of dominant through their first 4 games this season outscoring opponents 168-21. In fact, the Crimson Tide defense just nearly posted their 3rd straight shutout of the year last week but allowed a late 4th quarter touchdown in their 40-7 victory over Florida Atlantic. Still, this Alabama team is worthy of all the National Championship talk they have been receiving because they have played at a level like no other so far this season.
The visiting 3-1 Rebels have already captured more wins in September than they did all of 2011. The Ole Miss offense has been impressive against inferior opponents racking up 488 yards per game. The Rebels also currently lead the SEC averaging 259 yards per game on the ground. However, those numbers may be a bit inflated due to the level of competition the Rebels have faced so far this year. Ole Miss was pounded by Texas two weeks ago 66-31 in their lone loss of the year. The Rebels defense gave up 676 total yards in that game and QB Bo Wallace tossed 3 interceptions to make matters even worse. It was the type of defeat you would expect Ole Miss to suffer looking at last year's 2-10 record and trend of blowout defeats. However, Ole Miss has played some solid football through their first 4 games. This week we look to find out if the Rebels are indeed an improved conference foe or if they will remain in the basement of the SEC West.
For the Rebels to keep this game close, QB Bo Wallace must play extremely well against that dynamic Alabama defense that has given up just 185 yards per game (3rd in FBS). The Rebels strong running game with running back Jeff Scott will be challenged by a superior defensive front. Therefore, Wallace must spread the ball around and hit some passes to move the football. Wallace has completed 64% passing for 717 yards with 7 scores and 4 picks on the season. However as previously mentioned, he tossed 3 picks against a rather talented Texas defense in the blowout loss to the Longhorns. Therefore, keep an eye on Wallace to see if he can stay poised against the Alabama pass rush and get the ball in the hands of star wide receiver Donte Moncrief.
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Another big question mark surrounds the Ole Miss defense and their ability to compete against an extremely physical Alabama football team. The Rebels defense gave up 350 rushing yards against the Longhorns and big plays in the passing game. As most of us know, Alabama will simply pound the football on the ground all game until defenses finally wear down. Coach Nick Saban has done a good job of splitting carries between talented tailbacks T.J Yeldon and Eddie Lacy to keep fresh legs on the field. As a team, the Crimson Tide average 5 yards per carry and over 200 yards per game on the ground which is simply outstanding. So far this year, Ole Miss has struggled to stop the run on several occasions. If the Ole Miss defense is not up to the challenge this Saturday night, the Crimson Tide's running backs will be ready to run wild.
Alabama is currently laying 31 points at home against Ole Miss this Saturday night which is extremely high for any SEC conference football game. However that fact has not impacted bettors as Alabama has received 75% of early betting action. Neither team has been impressive ATS in recent activity. Ole Miss is just 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games on the road while Alabama is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games at home. However, the Rebels have put together a 5-2 mark ATS in their last 7 games against the Crimson Tide.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread:I think this Ole Miss team may be a bit better than people are giving them credit. Texas played a terrific game against Ole Miss but that does not mean things will be as easy for an even better Alabama squad. I like the Rebels +31.
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