Ole Miss

Published on October 3rd, 2015 | by Alex Thiel


Florida Preview: Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 6 pm at “The Swamp” Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

It’s been a long time since Ole Miss and Florida last met, and a lot has changed since 2008. Ever since that tear-inducing victory in The Swamp, Florida and Ole Miss football have experienced the highs and lows of life in the SEC: national championships (Florida that year), 2-10 seasons (Ole Miss just two seasons later), failed coaching experiments (Will Muschamp), and wildly successful ones (Hugh Freeze).

239-sports-1These days, the Rebs find themselves the bigger player on the national stage, and are favored by a touchdown in this crucial SEC matchup. But if this series—which Ole Miss leads by two games, by the way—lives up to its history, fans should be prepared for any number of outcomes.

We don’t have a huge sample size of Jim-McElwain-coached Gator football, so the jury is very much out on whether or not the program is back on an upward trajectory. But, three solid (albeit close) wins over ECU, Kentucky, and Tennessee would seem to indicate that things are looking brighter down in The Swamp.

Personnel-wise, Florida might remind you of the Vanderbilt team that gave the Rebs fits this year. The strength of the team is on the defensive side of the ball, where a talent-laden secondary (led by all-everything CB Vernon Hargreaves III) will look to shut down the Rebels’ vaunted corps of wide receivers.

Should this prove successful, Ole Miss might be in trouble; when receivers can’t get open, offensive lines either have to hold their pass blocks longer, or pave ground for the rushing attack. The Rebs’ banged-up, young, Tunsil-less OL is perhaps the team’s weakest link, and weak links tend to break in primetime SEC road games.

239-sports-2The same could be said, however, for when Florida will have the ball. The Rebels are the stiffest defensive threat that Florida’s as-yet unsolidified offense have seen this year, and the inexperienced Gator quarterbacks will have their hands full against some of the country’s fastest and most athletic defenders.

Expect much to be made of the matchup between Hargreaves and Laquon Treadwell, arguably the best players in the country at their respective positions. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for either coach to scheme around this duo—using them as decoys and looking for success elsewhere—but it also wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for one of these guys to completely embarrass the other on a national stage. At the least, lazy ESPN camera switchers will be sure to have this sideline angle ready at all times.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 17-10 sort of game here. I also wouldn’t be too surprised to see scores in the 40s. Both teams are dangerous, both teams are hungry, and both have room for improvement in this young season. A fumble here, an onside kick there, and things could get really interesting for Ole Miss on the road. But that’s why SEC football is so entertaining—nobody gets a week off from the madness. The Local Voice Ligature

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About the Author

Alex Thiel was a writer and Sports Editor for The Local Voice. A 2014 graduate of Ole Miss, Alex spends his days in Oxford as a freelance audio/video artist, yelling into microphones as a member of Carlos Danger, performing comedy noncommittally, digging around the University’s film archives for Ole Miss Sports Productions, and occasionally serving you beverages in exchange for your money.

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