The fourth installment takes us to the Ackbars of Oxford, MS.
Coach: Hugh Freeze (34-18 in four seasons at Ole Miss; 17-15 in SEC)
2015 record: 10-3 (6-2 in SEC, 2nd in West Division)
CB969 2015 Prediction: 10-2 - "Did I just give the Rebel Black Bear Ackbar Mannings 10 wins? Having a downy soft non-conference schedule and Vandy as the permanent crossover helps."
Look back: Ole Miss was caught celebrating a little too much after their upset of Alabama in Week 3. They followed it up two weeks later by getting trounced at Florida 38-10. After a cupcake win, the Rebs took their second loss in a devastating upset to Memphis. They would later lose at home to Arkansas but finished nicely with W's over LSU, MSU, and Okie State in the .
Key losses: Where to begin! OT Laremy Tunsil (Dolphins, Round 1), WR Laquon Treadwell, (Vikings, Round 1), DT Robert Nkemdiche (Cardinals, Round 1), OT Fahn Cooper (49ers, Round 5), WR Cody Core (Bengals, Round 6), S
Returning starters: 3 and 2 halves* on offense, 6 on defense, kicker, and punter.
* Returning center Robert Conyers tore an ACL halfway thru last season; OG Javon Patterson started 6 games.
Top returnees: S , TE Evan Engram, QB , WR Quincy Adeboyejo (604 yds, 7 TD), WR Damore'ea Stringfellow (503 yds, 5 TD), OG Javon Patterson, DT , LB DeMarquis Gates, DE Marquis Haynes, CB Tony Bridges, PK Gary Wunderlich.
Top newcomers: Gregory Little (Allen, TX), QB Shea Patterson (Shreveport, LA), DT Benito Jones (Waynesboro, MS), WR (Starkville, MS), $afety (Manvel, TX), WR DeKaylin Metcalf (Oxford, MS), LB Rommel Mageo (Grad Transfer from Oregon State),
Strengths: QB, placekicker,
Weaknesses: Lost a lot of talent, depth, running game, young O-line, September, NCAA investigation.
Outlook: Many members of the celebrated 2013 OM recruiting class have moved on. Subsequent classes have not been as strong, so it is hard to say that this team has the depth it needs to contend for the SEC West crown. The surprising return of secondary. The Rebels will have two part-time starters returning on their offensive line and not much in the backfield. Chad Kelly had a good year and managed not to beat anyone up off-field. Maybe he has matured from the antics of his past.
Sept 5 vs Florida State - L - Although played Monday night in "neutral" Orlando, FSU will have the advantage.
Sept 10 vs Wofford - W - woof.
Sept 17 vs Alabama - L - Three in a row? No frickin' way.
Sept 24 vs Georgia - W - Home Sweet Home might push this one their way.
Oct 1 vs Memphis - W - They won't take their "rival" lightly this time.
Oct 8 off week
Oct 15 at Arkansas - W - Three in a row? No frickin' way.
Oct 22 at LSU - L - Fournette left, Fournette right, Fournette up the middle.
Oct 29 vs Auburn - W - Sorry, Aubie.
Nov 5 vs Ga Southern - W - Never sleep on the triple option.
Nov 12 at Texas A&M - L - I was torn on this one (see comment below**).
Nov 19 at Vanderbilt - W - Trap game?
Nov 26 vs Mississippi State - W - The Egg Bowl is always a crazy one but OM should win.
Let's go Bowling! Yes, Maybe the Texas Bowl?
I have them at 8-4 but they could easily lose to Arky or Aubie. Even Vandy or MSU could rise up and smack them in the mouth. Ya never know with Freeze's teams. They tend to lose a game they shouldn't and usually **late in the season.
For whatever reason, Freeze has two co-offensive coordinators and two co-defensive coordinators. However, Ole Miss did not lose or replace a single coach during the off-season.