Two undefeated teams will go toe-to-toe this coming Saturday as the third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on the tenth-ranked Ole Miss Rebels in a highly-anticipated SEC showdown. Both teams carry unblemished 4-0 slates and a win this coming weekend will further boost their hopes of gaining spot in the season-ending College Football Playoff.
Read on for a preview of this matchup and while you’re at it, you can check out our preview of the Stanford vs. Notre Dame game.[sc:NCAAFArticles ]
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ole Miss Rebels Betting Preview
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Washington
When: Saturday, October 4, 2014, 3:30 PM ET
Line: Alabama Crimson Tide (-6) at Ole Miss Rebels (+6) – view all NCAA Football lines
Betting on the Alabama Crimson Tide
Quarterback Blake Sims had a performance for the ages as he completed 23-of-33 passes for 445 yards and four touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s first major test of the season, a 42-21 win over the Florida Gators September 20th that took them to 4-0.
[sc:NCAA240banner ]Sims’ 445-yard mark was the second-best passing performance in team history and was joined in the record-breaking parade by wide receiver Amari Cooper who broke Denis Homan’s 47-year-old Alabama record of 18 touchdown receptions. He caught 10 passes for 201 yards as he upped his touchdown tally to 20.
It has been a remarkable start to the year for Cooper, who struggled with nagging injuries last season. He leads the FBS in both receiving yards (655) and catches (43) and has already topped his touchdown total from last year with five to his name to this season.
The stellar play of Sims and Cooper has already caused a shift in strategy for a Crimson Tide offense known more for its running games in years past. Alabama racked up a total of 449 passing yards and ended the game with a total offense of 645 yards. It was the most ever allowed by the Gators in their history.
This year, the Crimson Tide are 13th in the FBS in passing yards with an average of 335.8 a game. It will not be that easy this coming Saturday, though, when they face the undefeated Ole Miss Rebels. The Rebels are 12th in the nation in passing defense with their opponents averaging just 151.0 passing yards through three games this season.
With the Crimson Tide set to face such an imposing defense, they will need to do a better job of protecting the ball this coming Saturday. In the game against Florida, they turned the ball over four times (three fumbles, one interception) as their turnover margin this season fell to -3. That number could get worse quickly as Ole Miss have already forced their opponents to commit a total of nine turnovers this year.
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Betting on the Ole Miss Rebels
The Ole Miss Rebels continued their strong start to the season with an ugly 24-3 win over the Memphis Tigers to improve their record to 4-0. The Rebels’ defense played a key part in the victory that gave Ole Miss its first 4-0 start in more than 44 years.
With the offense committing penalties and mistakes left and right, it was the defense that took center stage as they put the clamps on opposing quarterback Paxton Lynch. Lynch completed just 13 of 31 passes for 81 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
In fact, the Ole Miss defense is third-best in the entire nation in points allowed with opponents scoring just 8.5 points per game against them this season. To be fair, though, they have only faced unranked teams such as Boise State, Vanderbilt, LA-Lafayette and Memphis. This coming Saturday though, things are about to change.
The Rebels will stage their biggest home game in more than a decade when they meet third–ranked Alabama in a highly-anticipated SEC showdown. They will have to stop QB Blake Sims who’s off to a blazing start this season. Through four games, he has already racked up 1,091 passing yards, 18th-best in the FBS.
For Ole Miss to have a chance against Alabama, their quarterback Bo Wallace will have to play better than he did against Memphis. He completed just 22 of 37 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions in an error-filled performance.
It was not only Wallace who was prone to mistakes on Saturday. Kicker Andrew Fletcher missed two field goals while Markell Pack fumbled a punt that the Tigers recovered as well. Through four games, the Rebels have already committed nine turnovers this season. They will have to imrpove if they are to upset Alabama this weekend.
Another key for Ole Miss will be their passing offense. They were eighth-best in the nation prior to their last game in terms of passing yards with a 364.7 average but were limited to just 248 in the game against the Tigers.
The Crimson Tide (-6) extend their perfect record to 5-0.[sc:NCAA490banner ]
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