Mississippi Rebels vs. BYU Cougars
The Mississippi Rebels and the Brigham Young Cougars meet in Oxford as they kick off their 2011 seasons. The Cougars are -2.5 point favorites over the Rebels with an over/under point total set at 55.
It’s year four of the Houston Nutt regime for the Ole Miss Rebels and while his run started out with a team on the verge of going to a BCS Bowl game, last year sent the program crashing back to Earth as they were unable to muster even a winning record. While there are still a lot of new faces coming in, Ole Miss has some reason for hope as Brandon Bolden is back at Running Back and he should be better than last season as the best word to describe the Rebels offensive line is massive. Randall Mackey has a ton of athletic ability at QB and should be able to create plays but following an arrest he has been suspended for this one and Barry Brunetti will be the starter. Ole Miss’ defense was horrible last season and with only three starters returning but if they don’t improve on their 107th ranked scoring defense it’s going to be a long season.
For the BYU Cougars it’s their first year as an Independent and as such they have given themselves what appears to be a brutal schedule including starting on the road in this spot. Jake Heaps took over for Riley Nelson when Nelson went down last season though the QB position hadn’t been settled anyways and as he’s only a sophomore he should only be better this season especially after the Cougars won six of their last seven a year ago. J.J. Di Luigi returns as the versatile back and both starting receivers, Cody Hoffman and McKay Jacobson. This number one asset returning for BYU is their offensive line which is big and stacked and features All-American Left Tackle Matt Reynolds who would have been a first round draft choice in the NFL if he entered last season. Head Coach Bronco Mendenahall also runs the defense and with him getting a full season and camp to work with the unit they are only going to get better. Ethan Manumaleuna and Matt Putnam make a nice pair of ends and the linebacking unit led by Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga should be athletic as well and though the secondary is somewhat inexperienced they have senior leadership from Travis Uale.
Ole Miss is 2-6 against the spread in their last eight home games, 1-5 against the spread in their last six games overall, and 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 non-conference games. BYU is 5-0 against the spread in their last five games overall, 4-0 against the spread in their last four games as a favorite, and 5-0 against the spread in their last five non-conference games.
This should be a game fought on the ground so look for the clock to move and for the final score to come in comfortably under the total.