No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 19th, 9:15PM EST
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MISS +7/ALA -7
Over/Under Total: TBA
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SEC West action heats up this Saturday night when the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide defends the confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium against the 15th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. Last year it was this game that the Rebels stunned the Crimson Tide with a 23-17 upset in Oxford. The loss nearly derailed Alabamas season but they rebounded with 8 straight wins including an SEC Championship victory to make it to the inaugural College Football playoffs. This Saturday a lot of big time SEC and national implications will be on the line again is the Rebels square off against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa in a heavily anticipated showdown.
The Rebels actually return one of the more veteran groups in the SEC despite the losses of quarterback Bo Wallace and two All-Americans on the defensive side of the football in Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt. The defense should once again be one of the better groups in the conference and quarterback Chad Kelly has done a great job of taking over the starting role in a short time since transferring from Clemson. Kelly led the Rebels with a marvelous afternoon last Saturday completing 20 of 25 passes for 346 yards with 4 touchdowns as Ole Miss obliterated Fresno State 73-21.
Kelly, who has now completely taking over the starting spot, will get his first crack at SEC competition this week on the road at Alabama. The former Clemson Tiger has done a great job of rebuilding his image since basically being asked to leave Clemson and has shown the ability to keep this Ole Miss offense moving. The question is can the junior quarterback keep the ball moving against one of the top teams in the nation this week? The Rebels have plenty of talent in the backfield and in the receiving corps to matchup with Alabama but will they get enough plays from their rather inexperienced quarterback to make a difference?
The Crimson Tide look for a little revenge this week as they look to make up for last years loss in Oxford. After an impressive season opening 35-17 win against Wisconsin in the opener, Alabama responded last week with a snooze worthy 37-10 victory over Middle Tennessee. If you have yet to see the Crimson Tide in action this year, they have the best running back tandem in the country in Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Henry has already posted 6 rushing touchdowns and 243 yards through his first two contest while Drake has added another 117 yards on 16 carries with 1 touchdown to his resume as well.
Throughout the opening two contests, Alabama has not really had to rely per say on their ground game. Quarterback Jake Coker has been pretty consistent hitting 63% of his passes for 2 scores and 1 pick. However I have said it since the beginning of the season that I believe Coker is still a pretty big step down from Blake Sims but we have just not seen the Crimson Tide be put into a really difficult quarterback scenario at this point in the year. The Rebels defense will be the best unit that Alabama has faced this season and it will be interesting to see if they can put Coker into a few really pressured situations.
As the season progresses, I really believe the Alabama offense will rely more heavily on both Henry and Drake in the running game especially as the move to a more control styled offense against SEC competition. I expect the playbook is a bit more conservative this week as Lane Kiffin pays a little respect to the talent level on the Rebels defense. Once that happens, I expect Alabama to stick to their bread and butter between the tackles. I believe that will limit the Rebels offensive chances and Alabama will pull away in the late stages thanks to a turnover or two.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Alabama -7
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