With back-to-back losses to No. 1 Alabama and an improved Auburn team, Ole Miss has fallen from the national rankings and is sitting at 3-2, 1-2 in the SEC.
“Obviously, we’re not happy with where we are,” said Rebels coach Hugh Freeze. “But we thank God we’re not where we used to be.”
The Rebels finally to get play a home game at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday. Of course, it’s also against No. 9 Texas A&M, which is 4-1, 1-1, and boasts the most prolific offense in the SEC.
A few numbers that might raise a little concern around Oxford:
- Texas A&M is first in the league in scoring offense at 49.2 points per game and first in total offense with 586.4 yards per game.
- Quarterback Johnny Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 360.6 yards per game and is second in passing efficiency behind LSU’s Zach Mettenberger.
- Mike Evans leads in receiving yards at 138.2 per game and is averaging a ridiculous 24.7 yards per catch.
- The Aggies also are tied for the league lead in turnover margin, at plus-5, with Missouri.
But there is some good news, too. Consider:
- A&M ranks 13th out of 14 SEC teams in scoring defense, allowing 30.8 points per game: Ole Miss ranks eighth, allowing 25.2.
- The Aggies are last in total defense, giving up 476.8 yards per game. The Rebels fifth, allowing 361.4
- Quarterback Bo Wallace is sixth in total offense with 252 yards per game and running back Jeff Scott is seventh in rushing at 84.8 yards per game.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney came into the season as a Heisman hopeful. And why not? He made “The Hit.” And he finished with 13 sacks and was an All-American.
But in four games played this season – and he took off a lot of plays in the North Carolina game due to illness/conditioning – Clowney has recorded just 12 tackles, three for loss, and two sacks. In 2012 through four games, he was at 17, 7.0 and 4.5 in those categories.
Clowney didn’t play last week against Kentucky, telling coaches just before the game that his ribs were too sore to play. Coach Steve Spurrier, in speaking about the situation after the game, said: “If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play. Simple as that.”
On Tuesday in his weekly press conference, Spurrier sought to pull his star player out from under the proverbial team bus.
“He was in pain. It was diagnosed later (as a muscle strain in the rib area), and obviously we all handled it poorly,” Spurrier said, adding that if he never played another snap, “we all should be thankful and appreciative that he came to South Carolina.”
Clowney has been projected as a top NFL Draft pick next spring and there has been much speculation that he has been advised to be careful about returning to the field. Spurrier said he did not know if Clowney would play this week against Arkansas.
USA Today’s latest bowl projections have Alabama and Ohio State meeting in the national championship game Jan. 6. Other projections of note:
- Rose Bowl (BCS): Oregon vs. Michigan.
- Fiesta (BCS): Baylor vs. Stanford
- Sugar (BCS): Clemson vs. Florida
- Orange (BCS): Florida State vs. Louisville.
- Ole Miss is projected to play East Carolina in the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl and Tennessee is projected to play Houston in the Jan. 4 BBVA Compass Bowl.
The names of the 13 members of College Football’s Selection Committee are out there in the public domain and none has generated more discussion than that of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski devoted an entire column to the topic.
Two of his best points, one for her inclusion and one against:
For: “I like the boldness of the pick,” he wrote. “… Her mind is trained to think and analyze in ways that will be different from anyone else on the selection committee. And that can be a good thing.”
Against: “Her professional resume doesn’t exactly dovetail with college football. It would be like me being named National Security Advisor because I watched Season 1 of ‘Homeland.’”