SEC West Showcase Game: #3 Ole Miss Rebels @ #24 LSU Tigers
The SEC West, in 2014, has proven to be one of the greatest divisions in the history of college football. The talent and abundance of good teams in the western division of the SEC West is unrivaled by any conference, or division, in college football this season.
This weekend, the grind that is the SEC West schedule has yet another headline game for week nine of the college football season.
The number three Ole Miss Rebels travel to LSU to face the number 24 Tigers in a game that a few weeks ago appeared to not be that interesting of a game. The Tigers have appeared to right the ship the past couple weeks and now sit at 6-2 after victories over Florida and Kentucky.
LSU rejoined the top 25 this week and now host the number three Rebels of Mississippi in an SEC West battle sure to raise the pulse level in SEC country.
The Rebels of Mississippi are having their best season since 1962 and they hope to continue the magical journey on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. LSU’s Tiger Stadium, otherwise known as Death Valley, has been called the place where dreams come to die, according to LSU Coach Les Miles.
That has certainly been the case the past ten years, but Ole Miss will hope they have the same fortune as their instate rival Mississippi State had earlier this season. The Bulldogs of Mississippi State went into Baton Rouge week four and manhandled LSU.
LSU in week four and now in week nine are entirely different teams and it starts at the quarterback position. The Tigers of LSU decided to go with the true freshman Brandon Harris once the calendar turned to October.
The move has proven to be the right one now that he has gotten the Tigers’ season turned around and still alive in the SEC West race. Harris, unlike former starter Anthony Jennings, has incredible down field arm strength and more ability to make plays with his legs.
Harris will have to do both against an Ole Miss defense that is the best in the SEC. If the Mississippi Rebels are able to rattle Harris, then it will be another long night for LSU much like their 41-7 loss to Auburn on October 4.
The Ole Miss defense as I mentioned are a physical and fast bunch, especially in the front seven. The LSU Tigers of the past is what this Ole Miss defense will remind you of when you watch them. They have a physical front four, which opens up the linebackers and secondary to make plays in both the run and down field pass game.
I feel LSU will have to establish the running game if they have any shot at all of winning against Ole Miss. The running game of LSU has picked up the last few weeks and it has been in large part to the production of true freshman Leonard Fournette.
Fournette was the number one running back in high school last year, but got off to a slow start this season. He is slowly adapting to the college game and has shown signs of how great he can be the last couple weeks. He will be relied heavily on in this game against an Ole Miss defense that is one of the best against the run this season.
So, what will the Ole Miss offense look to do against an LSU defense that isn’t as strong compared to the past several seasons?
I believe Ole Miss will look to take some shots downfield against a secondary that has had its troubles at times this season. Ole Miss Quarterback Bo Wallace has not thrown an interception in SEC play this season, which is remarkable based on his past issues with turnovers.
Rebels’ star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is Wallace’s favorite target and for good reason. Treadwell last season as a freshman had 72 receptions for 608 yards. This season he hasn’t skipped a beat and showed up in Mississippi’s biggest games against Alabama and Texas A&M.
Lastly, I feel the home field advantage will be huge in this game between LSU and Ole Miss. I am a huge believer as I’ve said many of times of home field being a bigger deciding factor in these games than people realize. This especially comes into play when you are dealing with a young team like LSU that needs all the encouragement they can get from a home crowd.
I feel LSU will show that despite their youth they are still a force in the SEC West this season. The running game of LSU will be the deciding factor when all is said and done.
I have the LSU Tigers pulling off the upset on Saturday night against Ole Miss in Death Valley. I have LSU winning 34-27 in a classic SEC West battle in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night. The atmosphere in Death Valley at night is something that can’t be matched by any stadium in all of America.
The Tigers use that to their advantage and hand Ole Miss their first loss of the season and sends the college football world into chaos yet again this October. The playoff picture and SEC West picture will be even more of a mystery and the Tiger faithful of LSU will be celebrating long into the night in Baton Rouge.