Ole Miss Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs Could Surprise in 2014

By Tim Letcher
bo wallace
Spruce Derden – USA TODAY Sports

It seems that there is an inordinate amount of buzz during this preseason about the two Mississippi teams in the SEC.

When asked, it seems that many experts see the Ole Miss Rebels as a potential sleeper team in the SEC. While others say that the Mississippi State Bulldogs could be this year’s surprise team.

An argument could be made for either team, really. Ole Miss has the conference’s most experienced quarterback in Bo Wallace. The Rebels return 16 starters from last season’s 8-5 team, and should be on the cusp of breaking into the top three in the west (Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, LSU Tigers).

Ole Miss will also field a strong defense in 2014, led by defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and free safety Cody Prewitt. If everything comes together for Hugh Freeze and his staff, this could be a program-defining year in Oxford.

Meanwhile, up in Starkville, Dan Mullen has his team entering the 2014 season on a roll. MSU looked dead in the water late last season, with a 4-6 record and with little hope of making the postseason. Then, the Bulldogs rallied past the Arkansas Razorbacks. They then beat Ole Miss to make the Liberty Bowl, where they pounded Rice, 44-7.

Now, things are looking up for MSU. Quarterback Dak Prescott returns, and big things are expected from him this season. Prescott was selected as the second-team All-SEC quarterback at SEC Media Days, ahead of the more experienced Wallace.

It doesn’t seem likely that both of these teams can make the jump into the top three of the west in the same season. However, it’s certainly a possibility that one of these teams could be in contention for the division title into November.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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