Alabama vs. Ole Miss Prediction, Game Preview

    Alabama vs. Ole Miss prediction and game preview. The Crimson Tide try to avenge their loss to the Rebels last season in a key SEC West matchup.

    September 14, 2015


    Last year’s battle was a true classic, with Ole Miss coming up with a late pick to beat Alabama 23-17. It would be the Crimson Tide’s only loss of the regular season, while the victory propelled the Rebels to a 7-0 start before injuries kicked in. This time around, it’s going to be a whale of a revenge match to kick off their respective SEC campaigns.

    Below we dive into the Alabama vs. Ole Miss prediction and full game preview.

    Alabama vs. Ole Miss Prediction & Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, September 19
    Game Time: 9:15 pm
    Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, AL)
    Network: ESPN

    Follow, Contact @PeteFiutak

    Why You Need To Care

    Is it possible to have a bigger, longer, all-day build-up? It all starts with GameDay in Tuscaloosa in the morning, and kickoff doesn’t happen until well past eight local time. It’s going to be worth it.

    There’s no one playing better right now than Ole Miss, and while the light schedule has a lot to do with it, the team is doing what it’s supposed to do against UT Martin and Fresno State, winning the first 76-3 and the second 73-21.

    The Rebel defense wasn’t a question mark coming into the season, but the offense was a little bit of a concern with injuries, inexperience, and lots and lots of question marks to get past. With the No. 1 scoring offense in America, everything has started to click right away, and now comes the chance to show that it’s no fluke and that it’s time to start thinking SEC title, playoff, and even more if Ole Miss can make it two in a row.

    Alabama had won ten in a row in the series before last year’s defeat. The last time Ole Miss won two straight against the Crimson Tide? Try never. The best it’s done was come up with a 0-0 tie in 1909, and a 16-0 win in 1910. 8-48-2 all-time in the series going back to 1907 – that’s what the program is fighting against when it tries to make history this week.

    Ole Miss has been so good so far that a convincing win by the Tide could mean a few first place votes. Combined with the opening weekend win over Wisconsin, no one would have two better wins on the resume to start out the season. But all the kinks need to be worked out.

    The running game has been good, and the passing attack has been fine, but Alabama hasn’t quite looked like the dominant force it probably should be. Both games against Wisconsin and Middle Tennessee weren’t hard, but Ole Miss is bringing more athleticism, a ton of talent, and the swagger from last year’s stunner. With road games against Georgia, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Auburn, and with home games against Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU to deal with, Nick Saban’s squad can’t afford a misfire.

    Ole Miss might be good enough, though, to rise up and take the SEC race by the horns.

    Why Ole Miss Will Win

    Alabama’s passing game is still playing with the parts.

    It’s not like there have been any real problems, outside of an interception so far from both Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman, but the explosion isn’t there without Amari Cooper and there have been a few too many dry spells. Bateman is hitting 72% of his throws, and Coker was steady against Wisconsin, but neither one is going to set any top secondary’s hair on fire.

    The question marks with the air show means Ole Miss will load up to stop the run – not that it needs to do anything special for a front seven that’s been terrific so car, allowing just 279 yards and no scores. In last year’s win, the line did as strong a job as anyone all year was able to, keeping the high-powered ground game to 168 yards and under four yards per carry. With a secondary that’s forced four interceptions in the first two games, the goal will be to get the Tide up in the air.

    Why Alabama Will Win

    Has anything gone wrong so far for the Rebels>? Not really, but the offense hasn’t needed to get down and dirty on a few grinding drives. The points have come so easily, and the offense has been working so well against the tissue-paper defenses, this new group hasn’t had to face any adversity whatsoever.

    Alabama is the anti-spread, the anti-Oregon, going at a good pace, but keeping the clock moving. Able to outdo Wisconsin at its own ball-control game, the Tide have been able to keep the ball for 32 minutes a game, even though third down conversions have been an early sticking point. Ole Miss has had the bell just over 24 minutes a game so far, and considering the defense hasn’t been taxed yet, it could be sucking wind if the Alabama offensive line gets into a lather early. It pushed around a great Wisconsin defensive front – it might be able to do it this week against this star-studded line.

    Player Who Matters

    The NFL scouts will be all over this game from both sides, but the two biggest stars of the show will literally be two of the biggest stars of the show.

    The 6-4, 296-pound Robert Nkemdiche has been everything the prep hype made him out to be, gumming up the interior while showing off his freakish tight end-like smoothness whenever he gets on the move. He only has five tackles with a tackle for loss, but he’s also being used on offense, getting a one-yard rushing score and catching a 31-yard touchdown pass. Last season he held up well, making five tackles in the win.

    If Nkemdiche is a sure-thing top five pick in next year’s draft, 6-4, 315-pound Alabama anchor A’Shawn Robinson isn’t too far off.

    A ready-made NFL 3-4 defensive tackle, he’s literally built for this – he looks like the prototype. He could stand to get into the backfield more, but his job is to make sure nothing is happening up the gut as the one everything works around. Last week he went off with five tackles and a tackle for loss against Middle Tennessee State, and this week he’ll be the ultimate test for an Ole Miss line trying to produce with star Laremy Tunsil out during an NCAA look-see.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Ole Miss will be stronger and sharper than many will give it credit for in the early analysis. This is a brash, tough team that’s not going to have any problems in any way by dealing with Alabama on its own turf. This is a defensive machine, and QB Chad Kelly and the offense have been humming. But the Crimson Tide will figure it out at quarterback on the fly, and the running game will get more and more effective as the game goes on. The big difference for Ole Miss this week? Turnover margin. Not a problem so far, they’re not going to get the mistakes they need from the Bama O.

    Alabama vs. Ole Miss Score Prediction

    Final Score: Alabama 23, Ole Miss 17

    Must See Rating: 5: Republican Debate, Second Round – 1: Republican Debate, First Round … 5

    MORE: Is The SEC Still The Best Conference?

    DOWNLOAD THE APP

    Have the full Stadium experience

    Watch with friends

    Get rewards

    Join the discussion