March is finally here, and spring practice for most schools is just around the corner. So why not go ahead and predict what each football team will do in 2014? It’s early obviously, and these predictions might change depending on any injuries, suspensions, or dismissals. Up next is 4th Place, Ole Miss.
Ole Miss has landed two great recruiting classes the past two years, and they are further ahead of schedule than most thought they would be after the dumpster fire Houston Nutt left for Hugh Freeze. 2013 got off to a fast start, with Ole Miss sporting a shiny 7-3 record entering their last two games against Missouri and Mississippi State. That’s when things got a lot shakier. They were never very competitive against Missouri, and Mississippi State held on long enough to give Dak Prescott the opportunity to win the Egg Bowl in overtime. Is 2014 the year Ole Miss takes off? Let’s look at the schedule.
|Ole Miss 2014 Schedule|
|Thursday||Boise State Broncos||1|
|Aug. 28||Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA|
|Saturday||at Vanderbilt Commodores||2|
|Sept. 6||Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN|
|Saturday||Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns||3|
|Sept. 13||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Sept. 27||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Saturday||Alabama Crimson Tide||5|
|Oct. 4||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Saturday||at Texas A&M Aggies||1|
|Oct. 11||Kyle Field, College Station, TX|
|Oct. 18||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Saturday||at LSU Tigers||7|
|Oct. 25||Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA|
|Nov. 1||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Saturday||Presbyterian Blue Hose||8|
|Nov. 8||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Saturday||at Arkansas Razorbacks||9|
|Nov. 22||D.W.R. Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR|
|Saturday||Mississippi State Bulldogs||3|
|Nov. 29||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
Ole Miss is going to have a good year. It still might end up being a disappointing one though. I don’t see any reason they won’t be 4-0 entering their showdown with Alabama in game #5. If this were the Boise State team from two or three years ago, I might feel differently. Their game against Alabama will get lots of national attention, and much like their contest with Alabama last year, Ole Miss fans will think they have an excellent chance on winning. For the first time in three years, the game will be played in Oxford, and I think they get their elusive win.
After that, it gets a little more dicey. They have to go on the road to Kyle field the very next week, and I think they experience a little bit of a let down. Texas A&M will pull off their own upset. They will rebound the next two weeks against Tennessee and LSU, before being beaten by Auburn.
The Egg Bowl is the hardest game of any for me to predict of any in the SEC West. I firmly believe that as long as the two teams are evenly matched, that either Ole Miss or Mississippi State can walk into that game as the visitor and still win. That being said, the past fourteen years, that hasn’t been the case. I think Ole Miss and Mississippi State are going to have very similar years, but I will take the team with the quarterback that I have more confidence in. Maybe I am just going with my heart, but I have a lot more faith in Dak Prescott than I do Bo Wallace, and I think that will give Mississippi State the slight edge in 2014.
9-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC is a good year for just about every team except for Alabama, and I think Ole Miss fans will look back on 2014 fondly if it plays out the way I anticipate. But after beating Alabama and having tons of momentum, I think they will also feel like they missed a major window of opportunity.