Week 1 of SEC football starts with a bang, but it continues with a whimper in Week 2. After an opening weekend full of a couple good conference matchups and some great non-conference games, the second week sincerely disappoints. Some teams have a bye and many have scheduled cupcake games for their second game of the season.
This game is a must-win for the Rebels if they want to seriously be considered contenders in 2014. There is no room for them to drop an early game to an inferior Commodore team with a new head coach. Good teams put the weaker teams away, and that’s exactly what Hugh Freeze and the Rebels need to do at Vandy.
This will be one of the few games on the Ole Miss schedule where they will be favored and have the clear edge in talent for the majority of matchups. Playing in the deep and difficult SEC West means they have little room for error. They need to make a statement in this game, handle business and prove they can separate from the bottom dwellers in the league.
On the other side of the ball, the Commodores and first-year coach Derek Mason will come into this game looking to establish an identity. Vanderbilt has enjoyed unprecedented success the past few seasons under James Franklin, but now they will be looking to prove that they have taken a step forward as a program and it wasn’t just Franklin’s coaching and confidence that brought wins.
Beating a highly regarded Ole Miss team in Week 2 would certainly show an identity and be a huge signature win for Mason in his first year. The Commodores essentially sit with nothing to lose in this game while the Rebels have everything to lose. It’s a dangerous game for Ole Miss.
In the end, however, talent will win out. Vandy has some good players, but Bo Wallace and company will be too much for them to handle. The Rebels will do what they need to do in Nashville and come away with the win.
Final score: Ole Miss 38, Vanderbilt 17