Published on October 6th, 2015 | by Alex Thiel0
Ole Miss – New Mexico State Preview: Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 11 am in Oxford, Mississippi
What did I say about getting weeks off? Yeah, Ole Miss is getting one the week after that miserable Florida game with a homecoming matchup against New Mexico State.
Look, I’d love to sit here and type all about the upstart Aggie offense, and how they’ll be hungry for a statement win to turn around their program, and how the Rebs could be caught sleeping if they’re not careful.
But New Mexico State football is sort of like, say, a spider crawling around your bedroom late at night; they’re really more of an annoyance than a threat, and even if you’re sleeping, you might swallow it or roll over on it, crushing it entirely without really noticing.
New Mexico State’s season has, to this point, been defined by close home losses to Georgia State (whose football program is a mere five years old) and UTEP. They were stomped by Florida to open the season, and they took on in-state rivals New Mexico (and lost) before traveling across the better part of a continent this week to take on the Rebels.
It’s tough to say whether they might be looking ahead to Ole Miss during their game with the Lobos, or if they’ll experience an emotional hangover vs. the Rebs due to a shootout with their rivals the previous week. Either way, the smart money is on Aggie losses in both weeks.
You see, NMSU is in a rebuilding “phase,” which is sort of like saying that Donald Trump is having a bad hair day; it’s not so much a trend as it is a permanent fact. They’re young, inexperienced, and have been trying to reach a bowl game since 1960. While the Rebs were “suffering” through years of Liberty Bowls and 6-6 seasons, the “other Aggies” were daydreaming of one day being invited to the party. And the daydream lives on still.
I could line-list some stats about their offense, which runs a now-standard hurry-up system that alternates high-percentage passes on the outside with a “power” run game in between the tackles when appropriate.
I could tell you about their defense, which seems to be built on the same “bend-but-don’t-break” principles that Dave Wommack has utilized to much success here in Oxford. I could crunch numbers, look at head-to-head matchups, examine tea leaves and tarot cards… but any way you slice it, the sad truth is that NMSU will almost certainly lose this football game.
But you know what? This is all similar to what we thought about Jacksonville State a few years back, before they came into our house and won to kick off one of the worst Rebel seasons in history. Michigan probably didn’t have a whole lot of respect for Appalachian State in 2007, either, setting the stage for one of the sport’s most famous upsets. Everyone assumed The Phantom Menace was going to be a good movie before they actually saw it in theaters. You’ve got to play the games on the field before you can be sure of the outcome.
Despite the loss last weekend to Florida, Ole Miss has 38/1 odds to win the National Championship, according to the odds makers, and the Rebels are favorited by six touchdowns against the Aggies.
So, this homecoming weekend, as football weather comes to Oxford in earnest, do yourself a favor and go watch this game. You might familiarize yourself with some up-and-coming names on the Rebel roster while the starters rest on the bench. You might get your last tan of the year thanks to our 11 am kickoff. You might take advantage of shorter lines at the BBQ nacho stand. Just be there, be engaged, and enjoy yourself — because nothing is for absolute certain in college football, and Davids live to kill Goliaths.