Week 10: Auburn at Ole Miss Preview

    Auburn (6-1) at Ole Miss (7-1) Nov. 1, 7:00, ESPN Here’s The Deal: Enjoy the historic and much ballyhooed inaugural College Football Playoff rankings for

    October 31, 2014

    Auburn (6-1) at Ole Miss (7-1) Nov. 1, 7:00, ESPN 

    Here’s The Deal: Enjoy the historic and much ballyhooed inaugural College Football Playoff rankings for now, because they’re going to change up in a big away after this week when either No. 3 Auburn or No. 4 Ole Miss bows out of the top four and, effectively, the SEC title chase. It’s not an overstatement or cliché – the playoffs start on November 1st with an elimination game. 

    Ole Miss is coming off a strange and extremely disappointing loss at LSU, with QB Bo Wallace struggling late and the offense going nowhere in the tough 10-7 loss. However, the Rebels are in complete and total control of their own destiny, assured a playoff spot by winning out and completing the Alabama two-step. To do that, though, they have to beat the team that beat the team that just beat them in a 41-7 blasting. 

    Auburn overcame the tough 38-23 loss at Mississippi State with a shootout win over a somewhat desperate South Carolina team. The Tiger running game has been fine, but it hasn’t been quite as dominant as it was last season, and while the defense has been strong at times, it allowed 73 points over the last two games after not giving up more than 21 in any of the first five wins. Every game in the SEC West is a must-win, but with road games ahead at Georgia and Alabama, and with a home date against Texas A&M, a loss by the No. 3 team could be the start of an extremely rough November. 

    Auburn has won three of the last four in the series, but Ole Miss provided a big push last year in a 30-22 loss. This year’s Rebel team is much stronger, and it needs to be to stay in the top four. 

    Why Auburn Might Win: All of sudden, the amazing Ole Miss run defense seemed to have problems. After holding Tennessee to zero yards on 27 carries, the Rebels got hit by LSU for 264 yards on 55 tough carries, and now it has to go from the power of the Tigers to the speed and precision of the other Tigers. Losing star linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche isn’t going to help the Ole Miss run defense cause, and while Auburn still might not be as prolific as it was last year, the ground attack is starting to crank out more home runs. Is Ole Miss gassed after last week’s draining loss? Auburn has to hit hard early and make Bo Wallace and the Rebel passing game try to find its mojo. 

    Why Ole Miss Might Win: It’s very possible that Auburn’s run game is a far better fit for the Ole Miss defensive front. The Rebels struggled with the blasting power of Leonard Fournette and LSU, and while Auburn can bring the thump when it has to, its game is about speed – Ole Miss has the smart and experienced athletes in the back seven to handle it. More importantly, the defensive line has the ability to get behind the line without a problem, and it can attack Nick Marshall and the plays before they get started. Even after last week’s loss, Ole Miss leads the nation in scoring defense. 

    Who To Watch Out For: Bo Wallace, it’s time to have a short memory. The Ole Miss veteran quarterback was jawing a bit much, appeared to be rattled, and kept misfiring way too often against LSU completing just 14-of-33 passes for 176 yards with a touchdown and one very, very bad interception. More importantly, he didn’t move the attack as well as he needed to. Last year he bombed away for 336 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Tigers, also throwing two picks. If Ole Miss is going to get back on track, he has to rebound in a hurry and come up with a mistake-free, tight game. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Ole Miss will bounce back. In all of the SEC West craziness, one of the key parts of the puzzle has been home field advantage. Out of the five losses between LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss and Alabama, only the MSU win over LSU was on the road. If this was at Auburn, it would be different, but … 

    Prediction: Ole Miss 34 … Auburn 27 
    Line: Ole Miss -2.5 o/u: 51 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown – 1: Mike Tyson Mysteries … 5 


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