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Ole Miss opens as 18.5-point favorites over Louisiana-Lafayette, which feels high

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The Ragin’ Cajuns’ offense could keep this one close.

NCAA Football: New Orleans Bowl-Southern Mississippi at UL Lafayette Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss gets a cupcake in Week 10, but with the defense the Rebs are currently fielding, no game is a cupcake. On Saturday, they meet with the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, a feisty bunch that rank fairly high in the S&P+ on the offensive side of the ball, but near the basement on defense. Hi, Ole Miss.

Bill C.’s numbers project an Ole Miss victory in the neighborhood of an 10-point advantage, while OddsShark likes the Rebs by an 18.5-point margin as of this writing. Why the discrepancy? Bill C.’s stats severely downplay garbage time points, and ULL ranks No. 58 in points per game, to Ole Miss’ No. 41 ranking.

The greatest X-factor here is each team’s ability to defend the other. Lafayette currently rank No. 119 in overall S&P+ defensive rating, while Ole Miss ranks No. 121. Granted, ULL’s offense plays in the #FunBelt against supremely worse defenses than those that are on Ole Miss’ schedule, but even UT-Martin was allowed to hang around in Oxford for longer than was welcome.

How to watch:

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Miss.
When: 11 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN

What would feel most reassuring — and undoubtedly won’t happen — is a Rebel win by a large margin of victory. Like, 30 points or more. A defensive effort that manages to contain what on paper reads like a fairly good offense. ULL can run the hell out of the ball ranking up at No. 37 in offensive IsoPPP. Ole Miss ranks No. 44 in IsoPPP, which isn’t bad, but it’s certainly not turning any heads, and anyway their defensive rushing IsoPPP rank is No. 116.

We should also mention here that ULL is ranked No. 40 in the country in finishing drives, and that Ole Miss’ defense more often breaks rather than bend.

Saturday will be interesting, as all (?) Ole Miss football games are this year, but hopefully superior talent will win out in Oxford and put the Cajuns to sleep. It won’t be easy, though.