Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SEC [Print without images]

Friday, May 6, 2011
Schedule analysis: Ole Miss

By Edward Aschoff

Nonconference opponents (with 2010 records)

Sept 3: BYU (7-6)
Sept 10: Southern Illinois (5-6)
Oct. 1: at Fresno State (8-5)
Nov. 12: Louisiana Tech (5-7)

SEC home games

Sept. 24: Georgia
Oct. 15: Alabama
Oct. 22: Arkansas
Nov. 19: LSU

SEC road games

Sept. 17: at Vanderbilt
Oct. 29: at Auburn
Nov. 5: at Kentucky
Nov. 26: at Mississippi State

Gut-check time: For Ole Miss it has to be the home game with Georgia. The Rebels won just one SEC game a year ago and have questions almost everywhere on the field this season. One way to get some momentum pumping in Oxford is to come out and beat a Bulldogs team that has the talent to win the East. An early-season win like that could do wonders for the Rebels’ psyche.

Trap game: Traveling out to Fresno, Calif., doesn’t sound like it will be a lot of fun. Making matters worse is that Ole Miss’ cross-country journey comes in between the Georgia and Alabama games. The Rebels must fight fatigue and looking ahead to the Crimson Tide.

Snoozer: The Rebels are hoping to have their offense somewhat figured out when Southern Illinois visits on Sept. 10. If that’s the case, Ole Miss shouldn’t have trouble putting the Salukis away.

Telltale stretch: The entire month of October looks brutal for the Rebels. Ole Miss starts in California, and then has back-to-back home meetings with Alabama and Arkansas before traveling to Auburn. Having the Tide and Razorbacks at home will be nice, but each figure to be an uphill battle for the Rebels. If Ole Miss can get two wins out of this stretch the team should be thrilled.

Final analysis: For a team breaking in a new (inexperienced) quarterback and an unproven secondary, this schedule isn’t even close to easy. The Rebels will have a tough season opener against BYU and could find themselves in over their heads during the month of October. The end of the season is no picnic either, with LSU at home and instate rival Mississippi State in Starkville. Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is 2-1 against LSU since arriving at Ole Miss, so that’s a plus, but he’s 0-2 against Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen. For this team, winning the Egg Bowl could feel like winning a true bowl game.