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Ole Miss wrapup: If Alabama wants to be the best, it must play that way

Ole Miss wrapup: If Alabama wants to be the best, it must play that way

There is little mystery as to why Alabama finds itself tonight a one-loss football team: It’s not playing well enough to be better than that.

Even if there was no controversy over the Tide’s second-quarter strip-and-score touchdown by Cyrus Jones, Alabama was having problems in this game and the future schedule will present many similar problems unless Alabama figures out how to play like their National Signing Day pedigrees suggest it can be done.

Ole Miss preview: Bama will find out whether Rebels are for real

A quick glance at defensive statistics this season would seem to suggest that no, Ole Miss’ 2013 defensive improvement was not a mirage. The Rebels have put up impressive numbers through the first third of the 2014 season, and the confidence gained from their performance have given Ole Miss’ players a great deal of confidence heading into this game.

For Alabama, though, it’s just another verse to a familiar song, one sung by Ole Miss players and fans insistent that the current season will be different from those of the last 50 years. And while Ole Miss has a stout defense in 2014, to be sure, the Rebels’ offensive capabilities – particularly in the running game – simply haven’t been good enough to merit discussion of the Rebels-as-contenders subject.

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Previews 2014: Ole Miss Rebels

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Previews 2014: Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss has become the media darling team of the SEC West, as some media members searched for any reason they could find not to pick either Alabama, LSU or Auburn to win the division. The Rebels make some sense as a potential party-crasher, thanks to a veteran starting quarterback, some star power scattered here and there on the roster, improving depth and a defense that got a lot saltier in Hugh Freeze’s second season. But the lack of overall depth and concern over the offensive line could doom Ole Miss’ chances out of the gate.

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Ole Miss wrap-up: Bama’s win was no surprise, but defensive dominance was

If Ole Miss players were correct in the assertion that the Rebel wide receivers were better than the receivers of Texas A&M, then Eddie Jackson is the greatest defensive back in the history of college football.

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Ole Miss preview: Rebels hoping to catch Alabama in a down cycle

Reports out of Oxford this week tell the tale of Ole Miss players taking to Twitter to brag about a coming upset, and being a bit loose-lipped in media interviews about their opinions of the 2013 Alabama team, particularly the Crimson Tide’s pass defense.

It doesn’t seem to matter than Alabama’s pass defense has given up natch to any quarterback not nicknamed Johnny Football, or that this is a team coming off consecutive national titles and neither one were by accident. Whatever Ole Miss saw in the Texas A&M tape has certainly gotten the Rebels into a lather, and it will be up to Alabama to do something about it Saturday night. Ole Miss is probably the second-toughest game left on the Tide schedule outside of LSU.

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2013 Fall Previews: Ole Miss Rebels

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2013 Fall Previews: Ole Miss Rebels

Predicted to struggle in Hugh Freeze’s first season, Ole Miss instead surprised many by going 6-6 in the regular season and then knocking off Pitt decisively in the BBVA Compass Bowl to finish with a winning record. Ole Miss will sneak up on no one this year, particularly in light of a recruiting class that drew a mixture of disbelief and scrutiny from anyone who wasn’t a diehard Rebel fan. Ole Miss gets most of its offense back, but there are questions on defense and possibly in the kicking game.

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