It’s installment number two of wild blind dart-throwing predictions. Today, we cover the troubled program in Oxford, MS.
Coach: Matt Luke (11–13, SEC 4–12, beginning his third season at OM)
2018 record: 5-7 (1-7 in SEC, sixth in the West Division)
CB969 2018 Prediction: 6-6 (only missed on Vandy); “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.”
Looking back: With a bowl ban in effect, the season went about as expected. So much talent went to waste on a forgettable season. The highlight was a 37–33 win at Arkansas. Lowlight was losing to Vandy in OT.
Returning starters: 3 on offense, 5 on defense, punter, kicker, LS.
Key losses: OL Greg Little (2nd round, Carolina), WR A. J. Brown (2nd round, Titans), WR DK Metcalf (2nd round, Seahawks), TE Dawson Knox (3rd round, Buffalo), OL Javon Patterson (7th round, Colts), CB Ken Webster (7th round, Patriots), QB Jordan Ta’amu, C Sean Rawlings, WR DaMarkus Lodge, S Zedrick Woods, S C.J. Moore, LB Kevontae Ruggs (Henry’s brother in transfer portal).
Top returnees: QB Matt Corral, RB Scottie Phillips, TE Octavious Cooley, LB Mohamed Sanogo, DT Josiah Coatney, DT Benito Jones, OL Alex Givens, WR Elijah Moore, PK Luke Logan, P Mac Brown.
Top newcomers: Offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez (former WVU, Mich, Ariz head coach), Defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre (former Colorado head coach), RB/OF Jerrion Ealy (5-star, also a baseball prospect), WR Dannis Jackson (Sumrall, MS), WR Jonathan Mingo (Brandon, MS), ILB Lakia Henry (juco), OT Darius Thomas (Jonesboro, Ark), WkDE Sam Williams (juco).
Name you need to know: Senior juco transfer RB Scottie Phillips came out of nowhere to lead the Rebs in rushing last season (153 att, 928 yds, 6.1 ypc, 12 TD). He would have easily topped 1,000 yards had he not suffered an injury on the sixth play of the second to last game of the year.
Strengths: The presence and experience of RichRod and MacIntyre ... Kicker and punter returning... the promise of Corral... Returning running backs... Decent starting front seven on defense... Soft non-conference schedule...
Weaknesses: Coming off a devastating probation punishment which has crippled this program... Couple that with the recent tragedy at the university makes for continued black clouds hanging over the campus... Lack of depth everywhere... Secondary is a big problem... Rebuilding the O-line... Playing in the SEC West... Uncertainty of Ealy eyeing a baseball career... No player named on the three-deep preseason All-SEC team... Karma...
Outlook: Despite Luke’s hiring coup of Rod and Mac, the Rebs simply don’t have the talent. Most of Hugh Freeze’s 5-star recruits are gone. They could give some teams a scare but the SEC West is too good this year.
Sat, Aug 31 at Memphis - L - A loss here will be another dagger.
Sat, Sep 7 vs Arkansas - L - This one is a toss up but I’m taking the Hogs.
Sat, Sep 14 vs SE Louisiana - W - Former Arky QB Cole Kelley has landed here.
Sat, Sep 21 vs Cal - W - OM will be looking for revenge.
Sat, Sep 28 at Alabama - L
Sat, Oct 5 vs Vanderbilt - W - Take the home team.
Sat, Oct 12 at Missouri - L
Sat, Oct 19 vs Texas A&M - L
Sat, Oct 26 - bye
Sat, Nov 2 at Auburn - L
Sat, Nov 9 vs New Mexico State - W
Sat, Nov 16 vs LSU - L
Sat, Nov 23 - bye
Thu, Nov 28 at Mississippi State - L - but you never know in the Egg Bowl, especially if the Rebs enter the game sitting on 5 wins.
As you may have gathered, I don’t have a lot of faith in Matt Luke. He’s a nice guy and was the right hire at the time. However, this might be his last hurrah on the Grove.
Let’s go Bowling! Nope. Despite being bowl eligible, I think it’s going to be a rough year for Johnny Reb.
Regular season wins for OM in 2019:
This poll is closed
4 or less
7 or more (really?)