It’s Ed Week for Ole Miss.
Things were so bad for Ole Miss when Ed Orgeron coached the Rebels that it was kind of hard to imagine then that Ed would coach a No. 1-ranked team that would be in position to win SEC and national championships.
Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.
I write about Ed in today’s Daily Journal column. Check it out here.
It will take that special kind of strange for Ole Miss to knock off LSU Saturday night.
Jason Pellerin, a Louisiana boy, told us during the week that he’s confident it can happen. Defensive end Austrian Robinson also sees pathways to possible success.
It’s good for players to think that way. It’s a really bad situation if they don’t. I don’t quite share Pellerin’s belief that Ole Miss is just a few plays from being 9-1. I know what the Missouri final score was, but that game didn’t feel that close.
However, the journey to 4-6 for the Rebels includes four losses by a combined total of 26 points. That’s an average margin of 6.5 points if you’re scoring at home.
For all the struggles Ed had to win games at Ole Miss he hasn’t had much trouble beating the Rebels since then.
Ole Miss defeated Tennessee 42-17 in 2009 when Dexter McCuster ran for like a million yards. Ed was an assistant on Lane Kiffin’s staff then. He’s 3-0 against the Rebels as head coach at LSU.
When Ole Miss visited Alabama in late September I mentioned that the game was not about winning and losing but about how the Rebels could compete.
They kept it close for about a quarter and a half before the Alabama passing game simply overwhelmed the Rebels.
This is kind of the same game. It’s less about winning and more about competing. Yes, strange things happen, and there are upsets and all that. Ole Miss can definitely win this game, but if you want to place a percentage chance on it it’s probably like winning at Alabama earlier this season.
I figure LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will overwhelm the Ole Miss secondary. While run defense has remained steady there has been some improvement in pass coverage since the Rebels played at Tuscaloosa but not enough to handle what they’re about to face, a guy so accurate who throws in such tight windows as Burrow does.
For Ole Miss to have a chance to hang around it must get pressure on Burrow, get him off his spot and make him uncomfortable. Burrow is a capable runner, but he doesn’t have Tua Tagovailoa quickness. The Rebels have a better chance to pressure Burrow than they did Tua. It’s those plays that you don’t get pressure that Burrow will be really hard to defend.
It might be more fun this week to make Ed predictions than game predictions.
Will Ed get chicken on a stick from the Chevron and if so how much? I say yes and two.
As the column points out, Ed has clearly changed some methods with his coaching and perhaps his personality in order to be successful.
The biggest question about this LSU team may be is the success because of Ed or because of Burrow? Who’s more responsible?
Ed won games with Burrow last year and before Burrow transferred from Ohio State, but he didn’t win like this.
What might LSU look like next season when Burrow is gone? Is this the new normal?
Saturday night isn’t about the past or future but the present, and Joe Burrow is presently completing passes at 78.9 percent – almost 80 percent. That’s phenomenal. That’s not easy to do against air.
With that sort of accuracy against an Ole Miss secondary that has struggled to guard receivers it’s hard to imagine an upset win for the Rebels.
If the Rebels can run their offense – an SEC-leading 247.4 rushing yards a game – they can maintain possession, use clock and perhaps put themselves in position for one shining moment.
That will require the Ole Miss offensive line to do more than shadow box. The front five will have to be physical against an LSU defense that’s giving up just 100.7 yards a game on the ground. It won’t be easy.
Prediction: LSU 39, Ole Miss 20