We are a little under two weeks away from Ole Miss opening its 2021 football season in Atlanta against Louisville (Labor Day neutral site, baybay!), and with each preseason comes the inevitable excitement for the upcoming campaign.
As of now, Ole Miss plans to have The Grove open to tailgaters this season after COVID-19 closed things down in 2020. Although, with how things are going currently, who knows? (Get vaccinated pls).
ANYWHO, since the season is still a little ways away, I thought it would be prudent to rank Ole Miss’ matchups from a multitude of perspectives, beginning with the home slate. The methodology I will be using for determining these rankings is purely scientific*, and I will rate Ole Miss’ seven home games from lowest to highest.
* this science is referred to by some as “my opinion,” but who’s to say?
I will be employing the following criteria for each game’s rankings. BEHOLD:
- Watchability. Is the game/atmosphere going to be entertaining?
- Culture of the opposing fanbase.
- Sometimes weather/temperature.
- Whatever else I feel is relevant.
Let’s dive in.
No. 7 — Sept. 11 vs. Austin Peay (pronounced “AUSTIN PEE”)
Watchability: Not amazing.
Culture of the opposing fanbase: idk
Temperature: Surface of the sun
This is the obvious last-place game even though it is the home opener AND the military appreciation game.
At this time of year in Mississippi, that means you’re on heat stroke watch. Sure, it’ll (hopefully) be the first time The Grove is reopened in over a year, and (barring a nuclear-sized disaster) it is an almost-sure win, but this game doesn’t scream “excitement.”
It’s worth noting that since this is the annual military appreciation game, Ole Miss might wear those patriotic decals on their helmets (of which I’m not a huge fan, but it’s a nice tribute), so at least you can look forward to that possibly.
No. 6 — Sept. 18 vs. Tulane
Watchability: I guess?
Culture of the opposing fanbase: I mean, they’re from New Orleans, so that counts for something.
Temperature: Probably still hot
This matchup of HISTORIC SEC FOES will be Ole Miss’ second home game and third overall before a BYE week and a trip to RESPECT THE TIDE in Tuscaloosa. It’s honestly one of my favorite options for an Ole Miss non-conference game, and even though it should be a win, the matchup is fine, I guess. Better than Austin Peay (pronounced “AUSTIN PEE”), for sure.
No. 5 — Nov. 20 vs. Vanderbilt
Watchability: [gouges eyes out with a spoon]
Culture of the opposing fanbase: Boat shoes.
Temperature: Probably cold
It says a lot about the Vanderbilt program that I ranked this as a worse matchup than Liberty.
This is senior night, and Ole Miss students will be out for Thanksgiving Break by this time. Vanderbilt is expected to be #bad again, but it’s always fun to beat up on them when the opportunity is presented (OR TO CHOKE THE GAME AWAY IN DRAMATIC FASHION). Still, this game isn’t very enticing, but it is technically a “rivalry,” per the SEC office in Birmingham, and it’s the last home game of the season. Sure, I’ll bite.
No. 4 — Nov. 6 vs. Liberty
Watchability: I mean it’s fine, but it’ll be overhyped to hell and back by the national media.
Culture of the opposing fanbase: Protestant.
Temperature: Playing out of love for one another
I absolutely dread this game. Not because I think Ole Miss will lose, but because this storyline is going to be shoved down our throat like a feeding tube.
Ole Miss is a better team than Liberty. By a lot. The Rebels have next-to-no reasonable reason to lose this game. But it’s THE RETURN OF BROTHER HUGH to Oxford, and I have some thoughts.
- For the love of God, don’t play a tribute video for Hugh Freeze. The man cratered your program.
- Don’t cheer for Hugh Freeze. Again, he cratered your program. I’m all for rooting for him to do well and rebound from what was a bad situation in his personal life, but please don’t make this game a bigger deal than it is.
- It’s Liberty. Just win the game.
I fully expect Lane Kiffin to be annoyed by all the hype that is unnecessarily but inevitably given to this game, but I also expect Ole Miss to take care of business on this day. Just do it.
No. 3 — Oct. 9 vs. Arkansas
Watchability: MATT CORRAL REVENGE TOUR
Culture of the opposing fanbase: [sticks unmentionables in the mashed potatoes go hogs]
Temperature: Hopefully okay
MaTt CoRrAl ThReW sIx InTeRcEpTiOnS aT aRkAnSaS last year, in case you hadn’t heard, and Ole Miss still had a chance to win that game late. I think this game is personal for Corral and others in the program, and I think Ole Miss is the better team. If all goes well, it should be fun.
No. 2 — Nov. 13 vs. Texas A&M
Culture of the opposing fanbase: They worship a border collie.
We didn’t get to see this matchup last year because of COVID, and (unless something goes weird) this is probably the only home game the Rebels won’t be favored in this season. Even so, Texas A&M has elevated itself into a top-tier program in college football, and a chance to knock them off on your home turf is big. I think this game is competitive, and we’ll see what happens in the end.
No. 1 — Oct. 23 vs. LSU
Watchability: V good
Culture of the opposing fanbase: Strange but fun.
Temperature: Probably pretty good
Oxford will be a zoo on this weekend. There’s a chance that Ole Miss only has one loss coming into this game, and LSU (unless it becomes a dumpster fire, which is entirely possible) could be sitting pretty as well. Either way, Oxford always gets up for the Magnolia Bowl, and this season will be no different. If you can only make one trip to Oxford this year, I’d put this one at the top of my list.