Ole Miss Will Be No Match for Alabama This Year

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, September 28, 2017 1:42 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 28, 2017 1:42 PM UTC

Ole Miss will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 1 Alabama in their first SEC game of the season. Let’s discuss this matchup and determine which team is poised to cash in our college football picks on Saturday.

Tide Defense Impenetrable

Alabama has posted a whopping 41.2 points per game over its first four, but it is the defense that has once again dictated the pace and flow of the 4-0 start. The Crimson Tide defense has been a hallmark of Nick Saban’s success during his illustrious tenure in Tuscaloosa, and this iteration is no different.

Alabama has surrendered an average of 13.3 points per game, and the defensive unit was never more formidable than in a 59-0 destruction of SEC rival Vanderbilt last week. It’s little wonder that the unit improved from their previous week’s performance against Colorado State with the return of linebackers Anfernee Jennings, Rashaan Evans and Dylan Moses from the trainer’s table.

As I alluded, the Tide's only defensive lapse came two weeks ago against Colorado State when they allowed a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but by that time the game had long since been decided and many of the starters had been given the rest of the day off. Ultimately, Alabama cruised to a 41-23 victory, but the game was far more lopsided than the score indicated. In a long line of ferocious defenses under Saban’s stewardship, this squad may be among the very best.


Jalen 'Hurts' The Opposition

Alabama's Jalen Hurts is now a big-time quarterback, as opposed to last season where his passing mechanics often hindered his offense’s ability to reliably move the chains through the air. Hurts always had speed and agility to extricate himself from defensive pressure and gain yardage on the ground but was unable to consistently dissect the opposition in the pocket with a fluid passing attack. This year is different.

Hurts spent the summer at the Manning Passing Academy under the tutelage of Peyton and Eli Manning. The transformation has been remarkable, and Hurts now reminds many of Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who led his Tigers to a victory over Alabama in the national championship last year and is now blossoming as a legitimate threat for the NFL’s Houston Texans.


Ole Miss Stuck In The Mud

The relentless Alabama defense, the burgeoning superstar Hurts and with a rushing attack that has absolutely eviscerated opposition run defenses means the Tide will be too much for an Ole Miss club that runs like it is stuck in the mud. The Rebels own the second lowest rushing total, averaging just 69.7 yards per game. Their offense is completely dependent on the arm of Shea Patterson, who throws early and often to any target available -- but A.J. Brown has emerged as his go-to-guy, averaging almost 130 receiving yards per game.

Ole Miss has not been an easy out for the Tide in recent memory having won two of the last three meetings and is 7-3 ATS over their last 10 games with Alabama. But this season the Rebels are far too one-dimensional and have no running game to speak of, which will allow the Tide defense to focus squarely on the pass.

In addition, interim head coach Matt Luke is now calling the shots on the sidelines at Ole Miss instead of Hugh Freeze, who resigned under investigation. SBR's top-rated sportsbooks have installed the Tide as almost four touchdown favorites, but I can’t see the Rebels keeping pace despite a prolific passing attack against an Alabama defense that will be locked and loaded on pass defense throughout. This all adds up to a huge win and an easy cover in our college football picks.

Free NCAAF Pick: Alabama -27½Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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