No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) vs. No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Saturday, October 4th, 2014. 3:30PM EST
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Oxford, M.S
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -4.5/MISS +4.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
ESPN College GameDay returns to the SEC again this week at one of the most beautiful scenes in college football inside ‘The Grove’ in Oxford for a heavyweight showdown between the no. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide and the no. 11 Ole Miss Rebels. This Saturday’s telecast will be ESPN GameDay’s first trip to The Grove in its 20 year history which signifies the rather quick rise of the Rebels football program under 3rd year head coach Hugh Freeze.
The Rebels have had a few glimpses of stardom in the last several years just like they did in 2009 when they were ranked as high as no. 4 early in the year before falling to a disappointing 8-4 record. This season marks another opportunity for the Rebels who are stacked with young talent and potential. It is not just about a visit from ESPN’S College GameDay but this Saturday the opportunity returns for the Rebels to show that they can finally contend with the titans in the SEC West when they get the chance to takedown the Crimson Tide.
Last week the big matchup that Rebels fans have been anticipating for weeks was in jeopardy against Memphis. The Rebels found their selves in a very close 7-3 ballgame going into the 4th quarter before they were able to score 17 points to pull out a 24-3 victory. Now the stage is set for the Rebels to find out just how good of a football team they have when no. 3 ranked Alabama rolls into town this Saturday. Defensively, the Rebels have a group of talent that should keep them in contention in games all season. The Mississippi defense has been extremely stout giving up just 8.5 points per game (3rd in FBS) and just 248 yards per game (4th in the FBS). The challenge this week that everyone will be eyeing will be how the Rebel’s defense matches up against a dangerous Alabama offense that has been recharged by offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
Alabama’s offense has not necessarily been the key to their multiple National Championship runs under head coach Nick Saban. In fact, Saban’s formula for success has been surrounded by an all-world defense and an offense that can run the football. So far this year, Alabama’s offense has been even better than year’s past when they had one of the most dynamic rushing offenses in college football. Tailbacks T.J Yeldon and Derrick Henry still maintain one of the most elite rushing stables in the country. However, Kiffin has been able to open things up in the passing game with the emergence of senior quarterback Blake Sims and the incredible play of wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Cooper has to be near the top of early Heisman Trophy finalist consideration after getting off to an enormous start with 43 catches for 655 yards and 5 touchdowns through the Crimson Tide’s first 4 games. The balance that the offense has been able to establish with the run and the playaction has been nearly unstoppable for opposing defenses. Just two weeks ago, Alabama’s offense racked up 645 total yards in a 42-21 win over Florida marking the most yards ever allowed by a Florida football team which was considered to have a pretty strong defense. This week it will be interesting to see if Ole Miss’s defense, which has received a ton of praise, can find ways to slow down this newly charged Crimson Tide offense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: For me this game is more about the Rebels offense than the their defense. If the Rebels are able to slow down the Crimson Tide offense, I still do not believe they have an offense that can win this football game. Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace is turnover prone and I do not think the Rebels have the running game they need to convert short yardage 3rd down conversions. Obviously all the trends point to Alabama (winning 16 of last 18 meetings) but those trends point to a time with two completely different programs. I think this game is more about the tangibles and I like the Crimson Tide to handle business this week. Take Alabama -4.5