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Predicting the 2018 SEC Football Season: Ole Miss Ackbar Shark Bears

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Who are these guys?

Mississippi v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ole Miss is going through a bit of an identity crisis right now. And it’s not just the mascot. Whatever former coach Hugh Freeze did or didn’t do, he sure managed to lure some strong talent to Oxford. This will likely be the last year of that newly minted head coach Matt Luke can ride that gravy train, leaving the #WAOM crowd to be stuck with whatever Luke can cobble together.

Coach: Matt Luke (6–6, 3–5 SEC in one ‘interim’ season)

2017 record: 6-6 (3-5 in SEC, sixth in the West Division)

CB969 2016 Prediction: 5-7 “The old saying goes ‘You reap what you sow.’ I hope seasons 2014 and 2015 of second-tier status were worth the eight or so years it will probably take to get back to any semblance of a winning program.”

Looking back: The season was doomed from the beginning. After two cupcake wins, the Rebs inexplicably loss to a bad Cal team (5-7), triggering a three game losing streak. Quarterback Shea Patterson was lost for the season in a Week 7 loss to LSU. This was followed by a defeat to Arky, but OM circled the wagons and managed to play okay without their star QB, winning three of the last four games (UK, ULL, Miss St).

Returning starters: 8 on offense, 5 on defense.

Key losses: QB Shea Patterson (probation transfer to Michigan), OLB/DE Breeland Speaks (Round 2, Chiefs), DE Marquis Haynes (Round 4, Panthers), RB Jordan Wilkins (Round 5, Colts), OG Rod Taylor (Round 7, Bengals), Van Jefferson (probation transfer to Florida), LB DeMarquis Gates, PK Gary Wunderlich, P Will Gleeson.

Top returnees: OT Greg Little, WR A. J. Brown, DB Ken Webster, QB Jordan Ta’amu, DT Josiah Coatney, C Sean Rawlings, DB Montrell Custis, WR D. K. Metcalf, WR DaMarkus Lodge, DT Benito Jones, DB C.J. Moore, OL Javon Patterson, Defensive Line Coach Freddie Roach, Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Jason Jones.

Top newcomers: QB Matt Corral, WR Elijah Moore, ummm... that’s about it.

Name you need to know: I still can’t believe WR A. J. Brown picked Ole Miss over Alabama. He will be playing on Sundays next year. Last season he caught 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 TDs.

Strengths: Strong WR corps... If they can fill one more spot, the OL might be pretty good... Unexpectedly strong play of Ta’amu after he replaced injured Patterson... Soft non-conference schedule... Road games at Arky and Vandy are winnable...

Weaknesses: The obvious: Double-Secret Probation... Replacing both kickers... Lost a lot of defense... Pretty weak at LB... No depth anywhere... Not a good recruiting class coming in... Was taking the “Interim” tag off Luke the wrong move?

Outlook: This is a tough team to get a focus on. On one front they are mired in the embarrassingly public Hugh Freeze scandal and player defections. However, they still have some talent and an us-against-the-world mentality that can be dangerous. The Ackbar Shark Bears are not going to just roll over. They’ll win a game or two that most won’t expect (but not in Week 3).

2018 SCHEDULE:

Sat, Sept 1 vs Texas Tech (Houston, TX) - W - I think the Red Raiders are going to be a mess this season.
Sat, Sept 8 vs S Illinois - W
Sat, Sept 15 vs Alabama - L - Mac Jones should get plenty of reps.
Sat, Sept 22 vs Kent State - W
Sat, Sept 29 @ LSU - L - Winning at Death Valley might be too much to ask.
Sat, Oct 6 vs UL Monroe - W
Sat, Oct 13 @ Arkansas - W - The Hogs are gonna su-u-uck this year.
Sat, Oct 20 vs Auburn - L - OM could give Aubie trouble.
Sat, Oct 27 bye
Sat, Nov 3 vs South Carolina - L - Am I a little too high on SC? These two have not met since SC shocked the #4 Rebs 16-10 in 2009.
Sat, Nov 10 @ Texas A&M - L - Ya hafta take the home team.
Sat, Nov 17 @ Vanderbilt - W - Vandy is bad.
Thu, Nov 22 Miss State - L - Wacky things happen in the Egg Bowl and this will be OM’s Bowl Game, but the Bullies should be able to hold them off.

Let’s go Bowling! Nope. Still on probation.

Poll

How many WAOM regular season wins?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    8 or more.
    (82 votes)
  • 23%
    7
    (170 votes)
  • 32%
    6
    (239 votes)
  • 33%
    5 or less
    (248 votes)
739 votes total Vote Now

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