Tennessee Volunteers (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels (6-0 SU, 6-0 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date and Time: Saturday October 18th, 2014. 7:00PM EST
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Oxford, M.S.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UT +17/MISS -17
Over/Under Total: TBA
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The Ole Miss Rebels magical season continued last week with a big 35-20 victory over Texas A&M. One week after knocking off top ranked Alabama, the Rebels dominated the Aggies in every aspect of the game to firmly solidify their presence as one of the top teams in the country. The 3rd ranked Rebels will get to display their talents again this Saturday when they host the Tennessee Volunteers in Oxford. The Rebels will enter this Saturdays matchup as 17 point favorites as they look to go 7-0 SU for the first time in more than 50 years.
The reason the Rebels have been so good thus far in 2014 should be mainly accredited to the play of their defense. Huge Freezes defense has been absolutely incredible holding opponents to just 11.8 points per game on the season which currently ranks as the 2nd best scoring defense in the FBS. Last week against one of the best offenses in the SEC, the Rebels defense dominated coming up with 3 turnovers, a defensive touchdown, and several big plays to get off the field throughout the night. The Aggies ended up putting a lot of yards despite the fact they trailed by 3 touchdowns for most of the night but the play of the defense has to be given a lot of credit considering what they have accomplished this year.
Despite being outgained in terms of yardage on offense in the last two games, the Ole Miss defense and ability to come up with turnovers has vaulted the team to a perfect 6-0 start for the first time since 1962. Offensively, the Rebels appear to be getting better which could be a scary formula by the end of the season. Quarterback Bo Wallace tossed 6 picks through the first 4 games but has been great in recent weeks completing 31 of 50 passing for 428 yards with 4 touchdowns over the past two games. More importantly Wallace did not toss a single interception in those two extremely pivotal games. As a result, the passing offense has been very efficient especially with the continued emergence of sophomore Laquon Treadwell.
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The Rebels offense will face another stiff challenge this week against a Tennessee defense that has given up just 19.2 points per game (19th in FBS). In fact if you throw out the Georgia game, the Volunteers defense has given up just 11 points per game. The bad news is that Tennessee is still 0-2 in the SEC and just 3-3 SU on the season. The Volunteers offense has been pretty bad ranking 82nd in scoring with 28 points per game and even worse in rushing averaging just 109 yards per game (112th in FBS). The offense has been nearly non-existent in Tennessees biggest games this year as they were held to just 10 points against both Oklahoma and Florida.
Of course it is hard to win football games when you only score 10 points but the truth is that Tennessee is simply not a very good football team at this point in the season. The offensive line has to play better and they need some playmakers to emerge as well. Quarterback Justin Worley has been decent completing 63% passing for 1,388 yards with 12 scores and 5 picks. However, the senior quarterback has not been able to make up for the Volunteers lack of running game nor has he been able to find a consistent threat in the passing game. Both of those things must change if the Volunteers are going to turn their season around and capture a few wins in the SEC this season.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If this game were in Knoxville, I think Tennessee may be able to keep it close and perhaps give the Rebels a tougher game than most would expect. However this game is in Oxford and the Rebels are playing extremely well on the defensive side of the football. I think the Rebels defense dominates again and the Rebels pull away in the 2nd half for a cover. Take Ole Miss -17