It wasn’t too long ago that the Ole Miss Rebels were being put on a pedestal by fans of college football. The Rebels defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide inside Bryant-Denny Stadium and had many convinced they were on the inside track to a spot in the college football playoff.
But the Ole Miss team that showed up in Tuscaloosa that night, hasn’t made a return appearance in a game since then.
The subpar performance against Vanderbilt was not a huge surprise the week after the big win over Alabama. It’s typical for a team to turn in a letdown performance the week after an emotionally draining win like the one against the Crimson Tide.
But the mediocre play from the Rebels has continued since then. The week after Ole Miss managed to scrape by the Commodores in the fourth quarter. The Rebels got pummeled by the Florida Gators in Gainesville by a score of 38-10.
After a win over New Mexico State, Ole Miss turned in another embarrassing outing on Saturday after on the road against the Memphis Tigers. The undefeated Tigers handled the Rebels from start to finish and handed Ole Miss its second loss of the 2015 season and eliminating any chance of Ole Miss sneaking into a spot in the college football playoff.
The string of poor performances following the win over Alabama have only proven one thing: We were way to quick to jump on the Ole Miss bandwagon.
The loss, however, does not affect Ole Miss’ standings in the SEC West race, which they’re still a very serious contender. After Saturday’s games, Ole Miss is among a group of one-loss SEC West teams chasing after the lone undefeated team in the conference, LSU. In fact, the Rebels technically still control their own destiny in the SEC West, but means nothing unless the Rebels win out, which they won’t.
Ole Miss was overrated based largely over their win over Alabama, but in fairness, Alabama did just about all they could to hand that game over to the Rebels. The Crimson Tide turned the ball five times, four of which came inside Alabama’s own 35-yard line. Ole Miss was also the beneficiary of a lucky bounce off the helmet of Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick before Quincy Adeboyejo caught the bounce and took it for a 77-yard touchdown.
The Ole Miss offense especially was touted highly early in the season but haven’t continued the same trend of success since then. The Rebels averaged over 70 points per game in the first two games of the season and preceded to hang 43 more on the Crimson Tid. The Ole Miss offense looked unstoppable and Chad Kelly was being mentioned as a Heisman candidate.
Outside of the blowout over New Mexico State, Ole Miss has been held in check by every team they’ve faced since the upset over Alabama. The Rebels have averaged just over 13 points per game in those three games against Vanderbilt, Florida and Memphis. The struggles of the Ole Miss and directly connected to the turnover by Kelly. In thirst three games of the season, Kelly threw just one interception. He’s thrown six in the four games since then.
Ole Miss just turned out not to be the team that we all thought they were at the beginning of the season. The Rebels have been a team teetering on the brink of becoming an elite college football team for several years now, but the loss to Memphis proved they still aren’t there yet.