Alabama Football: Let’s look at the numbers for the Ole Miss game

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 9: Quarterback Shea Patterson
OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 9: Quarterback Shea Patterson /

Alabama football fans have not forgiven Ole Miss for losses in 2014 and 2015. Let’s review some important numbers for the 2017 game.

Per the Ole Miss and Alabama football line opened with the Tide favored by 27.5 points and edged up to 28.5 points quickly. That is a big spread between two Power Five teams. Let’s look at the FBS rankings for Ole Miss to see if a four-touchdown spread is warranted.

Back in the spring, Ole Miss Athletic Director, Ross Bjork said the Rebels-Black Bears would name all twelve, 2017 regular season games and designate each as a bowl game. The naming process was jettisoned as fast as Ole Miss burner phones after Hugh Freeze’s call records became public.

We have not heard interim coach Matt Luke define any game as a bowl game. Even without such a weak attempt to spin some sizzle into the depressed program, the three biggest Ole Miss contests every season are LSU, Alabama and Mississippi State.

Luke is in a terrible position as interim head coach. Everyone in football knows Ole Miss will be hit hard by the NCAA and likely before the end of the 2017 season. Bizarre as it may seem, at the same time, Luke may also be in a great position to have his interim coach tag removed. No credible head coach wants the Ole Miss job until the final punishment by the NCAA is known. Once known, the penalties may be so severe that no credible coach will touch the job.

Matt Luke could gain a promotion by knocking off either of LSU, Alabama or Mississippi State. Saturday is the first big chance for Ole Miss.

Let’s look at the 2017 numbers

Ole Miss is 2-1 with wins over South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin and a loss to Cal. New Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator, Phil Longo brings an Air Raid offense to Oxford. The Air Raid system, going back to Lavell Edwards at BYU, is pass-heavy and is designed to stretch the opponent’s defense horizontally and vertically.

Mobile quarterbacks who can create time to assess the field are perfect for the Air Raid. Ole Miss QB, Shea Patterson has all the tools for the task.

Ole Miss 2017 Passing Numbers

  • No. 4 in FBS in Passing Offense at 427 yards-per-game
  • No. 6 in FBS Team Passing Efficiency
  • No. 41 in Scoring Offense at 36 points-per-game

Ole Miss 2017 Rushing Numbers

  • No. 128 in Rushing Offense at 69 yards-per-game

Ole Miss is a combination of not seeking run-pass balance and simply not being any good when trying to run. That combination leads to being No. 115 in the FBS in time-of-possession at 26:03 per game.

Ole Miss 2017 Defensive Numbers

  • Total Defense, No. 59 at 369 yards-per-game
  • Rushing Defense, No. 95 at 184 yards-per-game

So Ole Miss can pass but it cannot run or stop the run. Not even against South Alabama, Tennessee Martin and Cal. Those three 2017 opponents do not come close to matching the Alabama football talent on both sides of the ball.

That is why the spread sits at 28 points. After battling Alabama football, Ole Miss’ good stats will go down and its bad stats will go up. Nick Saban will argue otherwise, but Ole Miss cannot beat Alabama football. Against Ole Miss, Alabama football might beat itself – but that is not likely either.

Next: Tide to Face New Offensive Coordinators in 2017

We will bring more information on Ole Miss throughout the week. Don’t miss our update on where the Rebels-Black Bears stand with the NCAA.