Your Fighting Tigers of LSU are the consensus No. 1 football team in America after beating the hated Alabama Crimson Tide last Saturday. Now the Tigers continue their march to Atlanta (something this week’s opponent knows nothing about) against perhaps their most hated rival, the Rebels of Ole Miss. Red Cup Rebellion’s One Man to Beat helps us out once again to preview Saturday’s game against the Rebs. You can follow him at @OneMan2BeatRCR.
1. LSU and Ole Miss is one of the oldest rivalries in the South but the game hasn’t been nearly as significant as, say the Iron Bowl or Ohio State vs. Michigan. But these two teams have played 108 times and every year since 1945. What does LSU-Ole Miss mean to you?
Obviously, it’s no secret LSU has been more successful of late in this rivalry, but there is something special about this game for our fan base. It’s a reminder of some of the best seasons our football team has had, because when we win 8, 9, 10 or more games, then the LSU game becomes an enormous game of consequence. In years when we aren’t as good, the LSU game offers a opportunity to play spoiler - it’s what makes a great, long lasting rivalry. There have been years the Tigers were the spoilers, and there have been close calls in Oxford and Baton Rouge when the game was vital to New Year’s Day bowl games and conference implications. I’d love for it to be moved back to Halloween annually, but I don’t see the SEC doing that anytime soon. Moreover, I’d like to make another trip to Baton Rouge to have insults hurled at me only to end up eating phenomenal gumbo from some of the more hospital fans I have met.
2. What do you think Rich Rod’s plan for using John Rhys Plumlee will be Saturday? What about his Ole Miss career moving forward?
You ever seen that Blue Planet video of the lizard running away from the snakes? I think that’s what they are watching in the film room this week, hoping JRP absorbs a level of elusiveness unparalleled even in the animal kingdom. JRP doesn’t have much of an arm, but he showed against Mizzou that he will be one of the fastest players on the field in most games. They have to figure out a way to get him into open space, period. I think if JRP was 6-2 and 200 pounds or larger, I wouldn’t worry as much about his durability, so I do have concerns for his career moving forward running the ball as much as he has this season. Plus, he plans to play baseball in the spring for the Rebels. He may end up more of a change of pace QB in the future depending on how recruiting goes for the position.
3. LSU will be shuffling its offensive line this week. The Tigers won’t have their starting right tackle Austin Deculus nor left tackle Saahdiq Charles. Does Ole Miss have the personnel that could possibly exploit a makeshift offensive line?
Benito Jones, space eater, cow wrangler, Mississippi-made behemoth at the defensive tackle position is our best weapon in the 3-4 base defense we run. He’s a senior, and it’ll be senior night. I will certainly have my fingers crossed he becomes possessed like Peria Jerry in the 2008 version of the Magnolia Bowl. Outside of Jones, the Rebel defense typically aggressively tries first to stop the run and is exposed by the pass, so Jeaux Burreaux will potentially have a big day in the air.
4. The Rebels are the SEC’s leading rushing team. Do you forsee a ball control approach Saturday, where they pound the running game and try to limit the number of possessions for this explosive LSU offense?
Honestly, I don’t think this team is built to sustain long drives to have a ball control approach. In the Auburn game, we lost by six points while rushing 42 times and passing 27 times, clearly trying to eat a little clock, but the Rebels finished with less than 24 minutes time of possession. Undoubtedly, Ole Miss will run the ball more than passing it, but I don’t see anything outside of the typical run-run-pass-punt we have seen most of the season.
5. What’s the mood in Oxford for this game? One reason why we love college football so much is because of the upsets that come from nowhere, is there any thinking that Ole Miss can pick off an LSU team that may still be riding high from last week’s huge win over Alabama?
“Hope can be a dangerous thing, drive a man insane.” Thank you, Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption, and he’s absolutely right. Don’t believe Andy Dufresne and his hippy dippy “hope is the best of things” bullcrap. But being insane is part of being a fan of any college football team, so I’ll say there is some scintilla of hope in Rebel fans that the unbelievable could happen on Saturday. I absolutely put $100 on LSU to cover in Tunica this week, however, because gambling on 18-22 year old athletic outcomes is a very healthy investment!