Ole Miss football in 2017 is of course a non-starter, insofar as the Rebel athletics department self-imposed a postseason ban, scholarship reductions, and other penalties out of deference to the NCAA’s updated NOA letter from earlier in the year. Every game this year means virtually nothing. But every game this year means also everything.
That being said, Alabama is Ole Miss’ Week 5 opponent. In light of recent history — Ole Miss’ bowl ban, Ole Miss’ back-to-back wins then spectacular loss last year, the Tide’s constant Death Star-dom, Hugh Freeze’s resignation, the Rebs’ defensive woes, the complete meaninglessness of this season — it might feel difficult to get up for this particular installment of the Ole Miss-Alabama ax fight. We talked about it a bit on the podcast.
BARF. This whole thing will be bad. Ole Miss will probably die in the second quarter. But the Rebs may also actually stretch Bama out enough to make things interesting for a time. We’re here to proffer up the three main reasons you should look forward to this game.
As Ghost mentioned on the pod, and Gray backed up handsomely, the recent history of this series has produced some real funny football. Funny, that is, from the perspective of Ole Miss fans. We’re talking about specific, singular plays that set the entirety of Tuscaloosa off into loose, raucous ire. Like this little ditty:
This is the singular zenith of Ole Miss football. We wrote the absolute best darn thing about it, and that post remains one of our most frequented in site history. This play should stand in the Smithsonian, not least because it elicited a disappointed head shake from Nick Saban, who fundamentally cannot process such chaos. This play is the anti-Saban, the un-Saban, and it’s the perfect distillation of how and why Ole Miss makes Alabama fans so perfectly mad. May four such plays happen on Saturday.
What if Ole Miss hangs around for a bit?
We’re not going to make predictions on how Saturday’s contest will go down, because most of those predictions involve utter misery. Instead, we’re rooting for an Ole Miss showing that rattles Alabama and Saban for a littler longer than they feel comfortable. Like, a random two-possession Ole Miss lead to end the first quarter would be downright hysterical. The Rebs will blow that all apart, of course, because Bama is Bama, and Ole Miss is Ole Miss right now, but why not root for a weirdly impressive opening salvo on the part of the good guys.
AJ Brown might play football.
We’ll hopefully find out later this week what AJ’s status for game day is. Even if he does play, though, the nation’s top receiver will only do so in a limited capacity. That doesn’t matter, though, because D.K. Metcalf, DaMarkus Lodge, and Tre Nixon would like to have a word. It’s here, under the steerage of Shea Patterson, that Ole Miss’ offense really thrives, and this receiving corps pose the biggest threat to Bama’s shutdown back end.
And watching AJ play football is always delightful.