Well, it’s Ole Miss Rebel Black Bear week and, predictably, they are fired up:
“Yeah, I think we can put points on them,” quarterback Bo Wallace said. “I think we can put points on anybody. We just have to show up and play. It’s the same thing every week, let’s stay on schedule, control the tempo and don’t have any turnovers.”
And here’s this from Rebel Black Bear defensive back Cody Prewitt:
“Last year I felt like we really came out there and played them, out-physicaled them a little bit,” Prewitt said. “And I expect for them to remember that game and they’re going to come out and give us their best. I think it’s really going to be a throw-down.”
Before I go any further, though, let me remind us of something: 46-9-2.
No, that’s not some sort of Power Ball combination, it’s the all-time record in the series between Alabama and Mississippi. The series (though not played annually for many years) originated in the 1800s and Ole Miss has won only nine times. One of those wins was in 1894 and another is due to a forfeit.
That’s not to say the Rebel Black Bears can’t win on Saturday, but it does provide a lot more on the perspective of these two teams heading into the game. In short, the Rebels would seem to have most all of the motivation on their side. This series has been so one-sided it’s not even like little brother getting fired up to beat big brother (looking at you, Auburn), it’s like some distant cousin showing up at the family reunion and trying to throw down.
Add that “No.1-ranked, two-time defending national champion” target on your back and things get even worse.
But despite the lopsided nature of this series, there are a couple of things that should help get the Tide’s attention this week…
* As Prewitt noted above, Ole Miss did “out-physical” ‘Bama a bit last year. It’s not like the Tide got pushed around, but hey, a few of the RBBs could hit a little. I’ll give them that.
* Alabama has played erratically this year (to put a positive spin on things) and should be looking to play a lot better even if the opponent is Ole Miss.
* The Rebs also run a version of the hurry up, no huddle offense and surely the ‘Bama players understand how they have struggled with this previously (at times).
If you’ve read about Alabama football this week, you’ve likely encountered a lot of doom and gloom. And whether it’s from a statistical review or a lay person watching game replays on his couch, it’s easy to see a few trouble spots (offensive line play, lack of pass rush, and defensive backfield problems to name a few).
But I’m not one of those who thinks we’re as bad as we’ve played.
The reality is, we got torched by two of the best college players in America (and gave up a record amount of defense), but still won the game by a touchdown.
The reality is, our other two opponents were out-manned from the get-go and we approached these games with a very vanilla offensive set.
The reality is, we have missed a few starters – on both sides of the ball – and that hasn’t helped things.
The reality is, we weren’t overly fired up for the two out-of-conference games and it showed.
I think this year’s coaches and players know Ole Miss is a worthy opponent. I think everyone knows what’s at stake. So I think the Tide will play much better this week – perhaps better than in any of the three previous games. I do think Ole Miss will move the ball some and score some, but I also think we’ll see more of our play book this week and I think we’ll move the ball well and score more than Ole Miss.
That’s how I see it. How about you?