One of the feature games of the day pits the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Mississippi Rebels. Ole Miss brings a vaunted passing attack to the party tonight, led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and a bevy of highlight reel wide receivers. Most pundits regard the Ole Miss receiving core the top in the nation and there’s no denying that they have a lot of talent. Ta’amu took over for Shea Patterson last season and never looked back. Thus far he’s looked like one of the better quarterbacks in the country.
However, Ole Miss has faced Texas Tech and Southern Illinois so far. Those defenses aren’t even in the same neighborhood as Alabama. Despite that, though, there is no denying that the Rebels have a juggernaut of an offense. They also catch the Alabama defense in the best possible position. There is never a day as a quarterback you want to go against the Crimson Tide defense, but 2018 might be the best year to catch their secondary.
It’s not to say that Alabama doesn’t have a talented defensive unit. Nick Saban always has 4 and 5-star talent littering his defense. This defense is no different, but they are young and for most, this is going to be the best offense they’ve faced in their high school and college career. Louisville were playing with a new quarterback following the departure of Lamar Jackson, and Arkansas State are a Sun Belt school.
The Rebels will pose a different kind of challenge with their high-flying attack. Ole Miss have 47-27 and 76-41 wins over Texas Tech and Southern Illinois. Their defense has yet to play an offense like the Alabama offense, though, and they still struggled against Southern Illinois.
The Red Raiders’ starting quarterback was knocked out early, giving way to a freshman, so they were afforded some good will in the opener. The must be 100 times better against the Crimson Tide or it’s not going to matter how well the Ole Miss offense plays. They are just going to get ran out of the building by Tua Tagovailoa. Tua poses a significant threat to this defense and I’m not quite sure what they’re going to do about it. He’s the most dynamic QB the Crimson Tide have had in years and he has shown no signs of nerves on a big stage. Head below for our free Alabama vs. Ole Miss pick and the rest of our writeup.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ole Miss Rebels NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Ole Miss +21(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Alabama vs. Ole Miss Pick:
Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t slowed down since stepping on the field in the National Championship a season ago. He provided a major spark for Alabama against Georgia, including the game winning pass in overtime. Tua just isn’t another mobile quarterback, he has a deceptive arm that defenses must respect. Physically Tagovailoa looks like just another mobile quarterback. However, Tua has a laser arm that has caught defenses off-guard on more than one occasion.
He can run around, but the basis of his game is the passing game in the pocket. He’s thrown for 445 yards, 6 touchdowns, and a 71.4 completion percentage. He provides another level to what was already a dangerous Alabama offense with Jalen Hurts at the controls. The Crimson Tide have used Hurts at quarterback as well this season, so defenses must prepare for both. And of course, Ole Miss is going to have to worry about their running attack.
The Rebels’ defense got worked by an FCS opponent last week. Southern Illinois put up 629 total yards, with quarterback Sam Straub passing for 382 yards and 4 touchdowns. Their leading rusher had 128 yards against what looked like a Big-12 defense, not the SEC. Were they looking ahead to Alabama? Sure, that’s believable, but still, that isn’t any excuse for just standing there and not engaging the offense. If you look back at the tape, it’s essentially what they were doing.
I firmly believe that this Alabama offense can ring up big numbers on nearly every defense in the country. Tua is that good of a quarterback. Not only do defenses have to worry about the running backs, but now it’s the whole offense that can spring a big play. The Rebels have allowed 558 yards per game through the first two weeks of the season, which is good for 125th in the FBS. Ta’amu isn’t likely to get much help from his defense, but he still has his arm and NFL ready talent around him on offense.
A.J. Brown led the SEC with 1,252 yards in 2017, and he is flanked by D.K. Metcalf and DeMarkus Lodge, who are capable of giving the Bama secondary issues. Ta’amu is going to come up firing often in this game. Don’t expect Ole Miss to do much on the ground, but they will attack an inexperienced secondary with a three-headed assault through the air. It may not be enough to win this game, but it could be enough for a cover. In any case, they are either going to score quickly or punt the ball quickly because of their up-tempo offense. That’s going to put the Alabama offense on the field often, and how Ole Miss slows them down is a question I cannot answer. Look for a 56-20 or 52-28 win for Alabama in Oxford on Saturday.