2012 was an incredible season for Ole Miss, in the fact that they beat Mississippi State, won their bowl game, and they had a great recruiting class. Basically, that’s what you really need for Ole Miss fans, right?

But what about 2013? Well, the ‘recruiting class of the ages’ – replete with defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (who – if you believe the reviews – is the second coming of Jadeveon Clowney) – has now touched down in Oxford, and will be strapping pads on and hitting people this September. Hugh Freeze’s team will be out to beat Dan Mullen’s Mississippi State again, and maybe score an upset victory over an LSU or Texas – both of whom are on a pretty difficult schedule this year.

Anyway, it’s going to be fun.

LAST SEASON: What a season! Hugh Freeze’s side may have been owned by Texas (those who bet the ‘under’ on the Longhorns as a 13-point favorite got roasted), and Alabama and Georgia, but it was ultra-competitive in the others. The Rebels could well have come away from the season with victories against LSU, Vanderbilt and they even took Texas A&M to within 3 points. This was a pretty good side, y’all! Anyway, the 41-24 hammering of Mississippi State ensured that happy times were going to be in Oxford, and the Rebels won the Compass Bowl comfortably, smashing Pitt 41-24.

THIS YEAR: The Rebels can’t  wait until the 2013 season – especially with the fact that they seem to be returning 16 starters – 8 from the offense, 8 from the defense. And as we might have mentioned before, their freshmen might be quite talented…

WHAT HAPPENS ON OFFENSE? Quarterback Bo Wallace should be completely back from shoulder surgery for the rough-and-tough opener at Vanderbilt to kick off the first game of the season. They’ll need him, since Wallace threw for 2,294 yards, and 22 TDs, and rushed for 390 more (and 8 TDs). A lot of people are very excited about WR Donte Moncrief (979 yards, 10 TDs), and running back Jeff Scott’s gone from 429 to 529 to 849 yards in consecutive seasons – and Ole Miss will be hoping for more of the same. Vince Sanders, Ja-Mes Logan and new recruit Laquon Treadwell make up a very useless receiving corps. This team’s going to score points.

AND ON DEFENSE? Ole Miss’ first big test comes early when they play Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt on the first Thursday night of the season, in a game which I’m sure none of you can wait for you (and no, I’m not being sarcastic!). But for us, the biggest test of this new Rebels defense (or merely a test in how far they’ve come!), is when they travel down to Austin on Week 3 to face the Texas Longhorns, who themselves have a point to prove. Texas are athletically one of the best in country, and if Ole Miss can keep up with them, this could be an Ole Miss team that’ll cause some frights. Me? I’m pretty excited about Robert Nkemdiche, the No.1 recruit in the country, and there’s talk of a promising pairing-up between CJ Johnson (who had 6 1/2 sacks last year) and him. Frankly, it’s going to be pretty awesome to see Robert AND his brother Denzel on the same team (Denzel’s was an incredible LB in his redshirt freshman year, by the way). We think the Rebels are going to be a lot better defensively, improving from giving up 27.6 points per game, good enough for just 60th in college football.

THE SCHEDULE

Aug. 31                 at Vanderbilt

Sept. 7           SOUTHEAST MISSOURI

Sept. 14                at Texas

Sept. 28                at Alabama

Oct. 5                    at Auburn

Oct. 12           TEXAS A&M

Oct. 19           LSU

Oct. 26          IDAHO

Nov. 9           ARKANSAS

Nov. 16          TROY

Nov. 23          MISSOURI

Nov. 30                 at Mississippi State

There’s no denying that the Ole Miss’ opening schedule is going to be really difficult. Take out the automatic win over Southeast Missouri at home, and it’s rough, with an opening trip to Vandy, then Texas (Week 3), Alabama (Week 4) and Auburn (Week 5). We could quite easily see the Rebs go 0-4 on this trip, but Auburn being great is a big ‘if’. After that, Ole Miss don’t leave Oxford for the next six straight games, although the visits of Texas A&M and LSU are both toughies. They’d be overjoyed if they got a split out of those games. Then, the Rebs should beat Idaho, Arkansas, Troy and Missouri, and the Egg Bowl – in CLANGA country – is going to be a war.
BOTTOM LINE: This team might be bring back a lot of talent, but this isn’t an easy schedule. We’re going for 6-6, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 5-7. Remember: A lot of the kids still need a year to blend in.  

 

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