Southern Football Report Preseason Top 25 – Team #15

#15 – Ole Miss RebelsOle Miss Logo
Oxford, Mississippi
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
2013 Record: 8-5 (3-5)

The 2013 Ole Miss team struggled to find consistency throughout the year as they were one of the youngest teams in the SEC. The 2014 Ole Miss squad will not have that excuse nor will they need it as they are primed and ready for a great year. The only thing keeping the Rebels from reaching the ten-to-twelve win area is the neighborhood in which they live, which is the most competitive in the country. Ole Miss lost their final two regular season games after winning four in a row including a thrilling 27-24 last second upset win over then number six ranked LSU. This season the Rebels return 9 starters on a defense that is ready to make the jump into the country’s elite defenses as they return 8 of their top 9 tacklers from 2013, not including defensive tackle (and Georgia native) Robert Nkemdiche who, I think, will have a breakout season in 2014. The former #1 high school recruit finished the 2013 campaign with 34 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 tackles for loss and 3 quarterback hurries and we all should go ahead and expect all of those numbers to increase exponentially in 2014. Also returning this season is senior quarterback Bo Wallace who had a coming out party against Texas A&M when he had 301 passing yards and 3 touchdowns all thrown to receivers who will return in 2014. Wallace accounted for 24 total touchdowns last season (18 passing & 6 rushing) and over 3300 yards passing. By season’s end, quarterback Bo Wallace and receiver Laquon Treadwell (608 yards, 5 touchdowns) will be household names at least in all of the South. 

Sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is ready to have a breakout season in 2014.
Sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is ready to have a breakout season in 2014.

Ole Miss opens the season against Boise State in the Georgia Dome on the opening Thursday night of the college football season and then turn around and travel to Nashville to play a resurgent Vanderbilt team to open the conference schedule. Last season Ole Miss narrowly escaped Nashville with a 39-35 victory on a 75-yard touchdown run with a minute left. The Rebels are only 4-6 on the road under 3rd year head coach Hugh Freeze and that will need to improve as Ole Miss travels to Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, LSU and Arkansas this season. With that being said the Rebels have a ridiculous stretch of tough games in the middle of the season: Alabama, at Texas A&M, Tennessee, at LSU and Auburn at home. If the Rebels can exit that stretch better than .500, they will be on their way to having a fantastic season with the regular season ending with a road game at Arkansas and the annual Egg Bowl against Mississippi State at home, a game they lose in overtime on the road in 2013. 

I mentioned the neighborhood earlier and it’s the truth; it is the toughest division in college football as Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and rising Mississippi State provides plenty of opportunities to lose ballgames but Coach Freeze has won 7 or more games in each of his first two seasons. This is the best team he has fielded since being in Oxford as he has reeled in back-to-back incredible recruiting classes but those classes haven’t translated into conference wins…yet (6-10 in conference play under Freeze). The Rebels have been on a great ride these past two seasons and this year will be a continuation of that momentum. Don’t be surprised if the Rebels earn double-digit wins for the first time since 2003 when all is said and done in 2014. 

Vaught Hemingway Stadium

Stay logged on to for Team #14 on Tuesday and tune in to the Southern Football Report every Saturday from 10am-Noon starting on August 23rd! Here is a hint for Team #14: This school’s first team was formed on Christmas Eve, was not sanctioned by the school and didn’t win their first game until their 3rd season. 

#14 – ??????????????????????
#15 – Ole Miss Rebels
#16 – Wisconsin Badgers
#17 – Stanford Cardinal
#18 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#19 – Florida Gators
#20 – Texas Longhorns
#21 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#22 – Arizona Wildcats
#23 – Boise State Broncos
#24 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Michigan Wolverines

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