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NCAA’s message might as well be, “Go ahead, everybody cheat”

Ole Miss preview: Time for Alabama to figure this Rebel team out

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Ole Miss preview: Time for Alabama to figure this Rebel team out

Despite a victory over Ole Miss last year in Oxford, Nick Saban still uses the qualifier “two of the last three games” when discussing the Rebels and their ability to wreak havoc in games against Alabama.

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Previews 2017: Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M

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Previews 2017: Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M

Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke steps into his first major head coaching role, and he’ll have to manage the spirit of a team that could be forced out of a bowl game …. If anything, last season was an example of just how much Miss. St. relied on former QB Dak Prescott…The question for Kevin Sumlin is whether Texas A&M will continue to be patient, or begin to demand divisional championships beginning with this season.

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Short Yardage: Alabama to run with Daboll; Ole Miss in a mess

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Short Yardage: Alabama to run with Daboll; Ole Miss in a mess

If there was ever a doubt that Nick Saban had seen just about all he could stand of Lane Kiffin’s growing infatuation with finesse offensive schemes, hiring Brian Daboll from the New England Patriots as the Crimson Tide’s new offensive coordinator ought to erase those doubts.

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Ole Miss recap: Nothing normal about Bama’s big win in Oxford

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Ole Miss recap: Nothing normal about Bama’s big win in Oxford

On a day when the list of people needing medical treatment for cramps probably included SEC replay official John Bible, Alabama snatched victory from the jaws of defeat before nearly handing it back.

For whatever reason, Ole Miss can struggle against teams much lesser than Alabama, but when the Crimson Tide comes to town (or when Ole Miss visits Tuscaloosa), the Rebels seem to be the one team in America that doesn’t wilt like yesterday’s daylily.

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Ole Miss preview: Bama trying to keep anomaly from becoming a trend

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Ole Miss preview: Bama trying to keep anomaly from becoming a trend

This game is more about just a win or a loss. It’s about not putting oneself in a position to have to hope for miracles. It’s also about not losing three times in a row to a historical conference also-ran that only recently has achieved status as a contender – and, perhaps not coincidentally, is battling the NCAA over alleged recruiting violations.

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Previews 2016: Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M

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Previews 2016: Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M

The offseason has been a turbulent one for Ole Miss, more so the result of an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations than anything happening on the field. The Rebels have been effective spoilers under Hugh Freeze, but haven’t shown the mental toughness necessary yet to take the final step and win the division. Now, Ole Miss will have to prove it can take that final step while dealing with off-field distractions and replacing starters at over half the positions on the field.

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Ole Miss wrap-up: Turnovers, QB play hurt, but poor defense finished off the Tide

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Ole Miss wrap-up: Turnovers, QB play hurt, but poor defense finished off the Tide

One of college football’s greatest attractions is that anything can (and does) happen each week to teams, good and bad. Unfortunately for Alabama, this includes a 66-yard Three Stooges act of a touchdown pass to Quincy Adeboyejo that the Tide will be seeing on a loop on ESPN SportsCenter for the next ten years. Those kinds of plays (think “Kick Six,” Johnny Manziel’s fumble TD pass, etc.) have certainly affected Alabama more than others in recent years, but they are only anomalies.

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

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

The Rebels have now hung 70-plus points on each of its first two opponents, UT-Martin and Fresno State. It wasn’t a surprise in the opener; it was definitely a surprise last week against a Fresno team that is typically well-coached and scrappy. It leaves Alabama asking the question of just how good is Ole Miss, and whether Kelly was the missing piece to Hugh Freeze’s offense this whole time.

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Previews 2015: Ole Miss Rebels

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Previews 2015: Ole Miss Rebels

Relative to talent, there has probably not been a team fall short of expectations as spectacularly as Ole Miss has done it over the past couple of years. Ole Miss lost two of its last three games in 2014 by a combined score of 72-3, failing to achieve offensive balance or take advantage of several packed recruiting classes. The window isn’t closing yet for Ole Miss, but uncertainty in the offensive backfield makes the Rebels vulnerable. Most of the uncertainty, though, falls back to a coaching staff that is starting to take some heat for its choices.

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