Ole Miss Rebels (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Thursday August, 29th 2013. 9:15PM Eastern
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium Nashville, T.N.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Miss -3/Vandy +3
Over/Under Total: 53.5
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If you look through the history of college footballs most talented conference, it would not take long to notice that Ole Miss and Vanderbilt has held their place as doormats of the SEC throughout the majority of both schools histories. However both schools will headline college footballs opening night when the Vanderbilt Commodores host the Ole Miss Rebels on Thursday August, 29th in Nashville, Tennessee. The big difference entering 2013 is that both schools are no longer considered doormats in college footballs premier conference. In fact, both the Commodores and Rebels are coming off their most successful football seasons in recent memory. Last year the Commodores tied a school record 9 wins and posted their best record since joining the SEC at 9-4. Clearly Coach James Franklin deserves a lot of the credit for turning the Commodores football program around and they are now a legitimate threat to knock off some of the big boys in the SEC. Franklin and the Commodores will get the chance to continue their climb up the SEC ladder when they host the Rebels in a much anticipated season opener.
Additionally Coach Hugh Freeze made a big impact in his first season in Oxford by leading the Rebels to a 7-6 record last season. While a 7-6 record may not seem very impressive, you must remember that Ole Miss won just 6 games in the two years prior. Coach Freeze input his version of the spread offense and the Rebels offense became vastly improved seemingly overnight. Now not only has Freeze had some more time to push improvement but the Rebels will nearly return their entire offense which is sure to cause some trouble for opposing defenses. Last year Ole Miss sported the 5th best offense in the SEC averaging 423 yards per game.
Now QB Bo Wallace returns after a solid sophomore campaign where he passed for just less than 3,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 17 picks. Possibly more importantly Wallace will have strong supporting cast with one of the most experienced receiving corps led by Donte Moncrief. Moncrief caught 66 passes for 979 yards for 10 touchdowns as a sophomore last year and should be primed for another big year. Throw in the running threat of senior Jeff Scott and the Rebels have some serious talent to be reckoned with on the offensive side of the football this year. How far that offensive talent will take them remains to be determined.
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The Rebels will travel into Nashville as slight 3 point favorites over the Commodores despite the fact Ole Miss has captured just 1 conference victory on the road in their last 14 trips. However, their opponent may have a few more question marks entering 2013 hence the reason the Rebs are slight favorites despite their dismal history on the road recently. Vanderbilt returns 7 starters on each side of the football but the big question marks reside primarily on offense. The Commodores lost their two biggest playmakers from 2012 in quarterback Justin Rodgers and running back Zac Stacy. Star wide out and senior Jordan Matthews does return to offer some hope. Matthews posted stellar numbers last season by catching 94 passes for 1,323 and 8 touchdowns. Obviously Matthews is the most explosive threat for the Commodores offense but they have some questions behind center this year in the guy throwing him the football.
Senior QB Austyn Carta-Samuels has been named the starter this spring. Fortunately for James Franklins group is that Carta-Samuels has significant game time experience. Before Jordan Rodgers, Carta-Samuels took the majority of the snaps behind center in 2009 and 2010. The worries start with the senior quarterbacks history of inconsistency. Carta-Samuels has a career completion percentage of less than 60% and has also thrown a high number of interceptions during that period as well. One thing James Franklin has established in Nashville since arriving is that the Commodores have played smart by protecting the football and playing solid defense. Rest assured the defense will be solid but question marks still linger regarding the quarterback position and turnovers heading into 2013. Additionally replacing running back Zac Stacy will prove to be a difficult task as well in the running game.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I find this match-up intriguing simply because Vanderbilt has question marks on offense. The Commodores play very well at home and typically strong early in the year. I know Coach James Franklin will put a huge emphasis on winning this game and have the fans ready in Nashville. Vandy definitely has the lesser offensve, but will find a way to get it done. I’m putting 75% of my money on Vandy to cover the point spread and 25% on the underdog moneyline.
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