This Ole Miss Rebels (2-0, 1-0) team is unlike any in recent memory in one obvious way – it’s ranked. That’s right, the Rebs made it into polls (No. 25 in both the AP and USA TODAY rankings) for the first time since 2009. The question: Can this Ole Miss team avoid a similar fate?
In Week 4 of 2009, the Rebels were sitting pretty with a No. 5 AP and No. 6 USA TODAY ranking. Their opponent that week was unranked South Carolina. The result: a 16-10 road defeat on national television. This year, it’s Week 3 and the game won’t be nationally televised, but the rest of the circumstances are similar. Ole Miss hits the road this weekend to take on the newly unranked Texas Longhorns (1-1, 0-0) in a game that will do a lot to help or hurt its credibility, depending on the result.
Here’s what we know: Ole Miss is averaging more than 500 yards of offense and 35 points per game. The Rebels are facing a Texas defense that played so poorly in a 40-21 loss to BYU (1-1) that the defensive coordinator was fired following the game. The Longhorns gave up a whopping 679 yards to the Cougars, 550 of which came on the ground. There’s no question the Rebels’ offense is more talented than BYU’s. It’s just a matter of whether or not Ole Miss can get it done against a team looking to regain its pride.
What to look for in Week 3: Can the Rebels hang on to their spot in the polls? This fanbase has grown accustomed to tempering expectations and always expecting the worst. Can Ole Miss give them a reason to believe by beating a historic powerhouse on the road?