It is finally Ole Miss Rebel football game week! You can smell the barbeque grills firing up. Everyone has their favorite game time beverage on ice. The local watering holes are stocked up on chicken wings.
This is not the average first week of football for the Rebels, as they will face a team favored by many to contend for the National Championship. The Florida State Seminoles will face the Rebels in Orlando, Florida on Labor Day night. September 5 will pit these two top 15 teams against one another.
The following week, Ole Miss steps down in competition and faces a FCS team in the form of the Wofford Terriers. The juxtaposition of having to play Florida State and Wofford back to back provides an interesting two weeks of football. Here’s what I believe these weeks will bring.
Ole Miss vs. Florida State on September 5 at 7 pm Orlando, FL. on ESPN
The first four weeks of the football season is a daunting one for the Rebels. It all starts with the game against the Seminoles. Coach Jimbo Fisher will lead his highly ranked team through what they hope will be a championship season. He has the players to make it happen.
Their success begins and ends with the guy with the four on his chest. Running back Dalvin Cook is one college football most exciting the players. He is a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. Last year he rushed for about 1700 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Cook has all the intangibles that make him a great running back. He has breakaway speed. He is big enough to pound through the line. Cook has had issues with staying healthy. He had shoulder surgery at the end of spring practice and had hamstring issues during the second half of last season.
If the Rebels can control him they should be able to win the game. But controlling him could be easier said than done. There is, however, another path to victory. The Seminoles will be starting a redshirt freshman quarterback. Deondre Francois is a young QB with a lot of talent and potential. He’s about to face his first “real game” defense and it’s the nasty, speedy Landshark defense.
Francois is going to be good. The question is whether he has enough experience to go against the type of pressure he will face against the Rebels. The outside speed rush of defensive end Marquis Haynes and the inside run stopping ability of defensive tackles Breeland Speaks and D.J. Jones should make for a difficult evening for the young QB.
Plus their defense has to play against one of the best QBs in the nation in Chad Kelly. He and the offense should be able to challenge the Florida State defense and put some points on the board.
Last year the Rebels faced two of the best running backs in the game, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Alabama’s Derrick Henry. We won both games. Cook is good, but we’ve faced better. I believe we win this one as well. Ole Miss 34 Florida State 21.