Staff Predictions for Alabama vs. Ole Miss
Saturday's Alabama-Ole Miss game might be one of the most intriguing matchups in series history.
The Rebels come to Tuscaloosa off consecutive 70+ point games and have a ton of confidence, while Alabama still has questions at the quarterback position. Factor in that Ole Miss has only won one game in Tuscaloosa and has never beaten Alabama twice in a row, and you realize that something has to give Saturday night.
As always, we've asked the staff of Tide 99.1 to share their prediction on the game. Last week's predictions were pretty good, but everyone overestimated Alabama's final score.
Let's now look at the predictions for this week's SEC opener.
Barry Sanders (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Look for the atmosphere to be electric. I believe Chad Kelly will really struggle in first SEC road game. Alabama 31, Ole Miss 13
Wimp Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Alabama will rotate quarterbacks and play with tremendous energy on defense. The end zone will be difficult to get into for Ole Miss unlike past 2 games. Alabama 28, Ole Miss 12
Gary Harris (Host of The Gary Harris Show)
Alabama players have made it a point to say that last year's game has no bearing on this year's game. I don't believe that. There is no doubt in my mind, that these players are motivated by what happened last year in Oxford. Alabama wants payback and I believe the Tide will get it! Yes, Ole Miss is explosive on offense. Yes, Ole Miss is athletic and fast on defense. Yes, the Rebels beat Alabama last year. It won't happen again on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium! Alabama 31, Ole Miss 17
Chris Stewart (Host of The Chris Stewart Show)
Alabama's defense will keep this team in any ball game. Despite the struggles at the quarterback slot, the Tide will be able to do enough with Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake to get things done offensively. I'm not going to predict Adam Griffith gets it all together this week, but I do think he'll make at least one field goal. That should help Alabama avenge last year's loss at Vaught-Hemmingway. Alabama 27, Ole Miss 23
Ryan Fowler (Host of The Game)
When you compare rosters, Ole Miss and Alabama are equal in a lot of areas. Alabama has the advantage on depth with less drop off in talent levels between back-ups and starters. With a slug fest game expected, I think this a key difference. Finally, you will see the identity of the offense side of the ball for Alabama. Look for Alabama to stay in an up tempo rushing attack which will make the play-action pass more effective. I am not buying the Ole Miss hype. Alabama 28, Ole Miss 17
Ryan McMunn (Producer)
This is a great SEC West match-up: an offense that seems unstoppable against the immovable defense. The experienced head coach of the premier program in college football against the up-and-coming young gun. This should be a great game.
Alabama still hasn't found an All-American at quarterback, but they do have one of the hardest hitting running games in college football behind the legs of Derrick Henry. If Alabama can control Ole Miss's defensive line, they'll win the game, but that is easier said than done.
Ole Miss dons one of the top defensive lines in the country (and so does Alabama), led by all-everything Robert Nkemdiche. Also, watch the other side of the ball for the Rebels. Chad Kelly will be taking snaps for the third consecutive game, and thus far, he seems to be the real deal, helping the Rebels score 70+ points in each of their past two games, the first time that's ever happened in the Southeastern Conference.
However, Alabama is just too deep and too talented to lose this game at home, especially after Ole Miss stole last year's game from right under Alabama. Alabama 27 Ole Miss 20
Trey Brooks (Producer)
This one could go so many ways, making it one of the first real interesting matchups of the season. You can argue about level of competition all you want, but 70-plus points in back-to-back games is impressive. Ole Miss has legit offensive firepower, and they will throw everything at the Tide. However, I feel like Alabama is well prepared for this one. Not that it will be easy, just that nothing will be a surprise.
Laquon Treadwell will be the center of attention, but tight end Evan Engram could give Bama fits over the middle if the linebackers are forced to play too spread out. If Ole Miss has a weakness, it's that their defense, while aggressive and capable of causing multiple turnovers, isn't a true shut-down defense. A steady dose of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake could be the answer there. Despite all the passing in the last two games, I truly believe Bama was trying to give the quarterbacks a chance to show what they could do against live competition. That time is over. Kiffin has to realize what he has in the Tide's backfield, and utilize the run to set up play-action. Look for the Bama to use the pistol to keep the Rebel defense honest. In the end, home-field advantage gives Bama the nudge. Alabama 28, Ole Miss 24
Kevin Connell (Contributor)
Could Alabama lose this game? It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility, especially when considering last year’s game.
Still, the stats are difficult to ignore. For starters, Alabama, in 62 previous meetings, has never lost to Ole Miss two years in a row. In Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide has won 26 of 27 meetings against the Rebels. Lastly, Nick Saban is 12-1 all-time in Southeastern Conference home openers, including an 8-0 mark at Alabama.
Ole Miss isn’t the Ole Miss of old, but Alabama also has plenty of reason to believe that loss a season ago was probably just an outlier. Alabama 27, Ole Miss 17
Ben George (Digital Managing Editor)
This Ole Miss team appears explosive through two weeks against bad competition, while Alabama is still trying to figure everything out offensively. I'd expect to see Derrick Henry surpass 20 carries for the first time in his career as the Crimson Tide tries to control the time of possession. Chad Kelly might have all of the swag in the world, but he's yet to play on a stage like this. Home field is the difference in this one. Alabama 24, Ole Miss 19