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Texas A&M Football

SEC Round-Up: Kiffin's Rebels could flip SEC, Heisman races with win in Tuscaloosa

September 30, 2021
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Here comes the requisite reminder that none of Alabama coach Nick Saban’s former assistant coaches have ever beaten him.

Many have tried. All have failed. Saban is 23-0 against head coaches who were once on his staff.

“He's undefeated versus almost everybody,” said Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator from 2014-16. "There's a reason he's the best in the history of college football. Even when people know how his place works, he's still undefeated, which is amazing."

But some think Saban’s perfect streak is in jeopardy when the Crimson Tide face Ole Miss on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The Tide aren’t as dominant as usual. Just two weeks ago Alabama held on to squeak out a 31-29 victory over Florida.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss appears better than the team that last year fell in a 63-48 shootout with the Tide. This year the Rebels are even playing decent defense.

“They’re one of the best teams in the country, in my opinion,” Saban said.

He added: “(Kiffin) has done a fantastic job there, and it’s going to be a real challenge for us.”

With such high praise, it appears Saban is spreading some of that “rat poison” that he so abhors.

Kiffin, however, is serving up a “rat poison” buffet.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
A strong performance from Matt Coral on Saturday would push the junior QB to the top of the Heisman Trophy race. 

“I said last year (Alabama) was a great team, maybe his best team ever, and I think people thought maybe I was just saying that leading up to the game,” Kiffin said. “But then you look and they run the table and not really close games. I think somebody said, in the last two years, only Florida and Ole Miss have scored over 24 points against them. We’ll have our hands full. That’s why we’re a huge underdog for a reason.”

Just whose rat will be poisoned will make for intriguing viewing. The winner will have an enormous advantage in the SEC West Division race. The victorious quarterback — Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ole Miss’ Matt Corral — will take the lead in the Heisman Trophy race.

Don’t be surprised if it’s Corral. If Florida can score 29 against the Tide, Ole Miss should get into the 30’s.

The Ole Miss defense is better than the turnstile that allowed an average of 38.3 points last season.

Don’t bet against Saban, though. Look for his record against former assistants to improve to 24-0.

Around the SEC

Who’s hot: Florida’s running game has caught fire. The Gators are averaging 322.5 rushing yards per game to rank third in the nation. They had 400 in the season-opener against Florida Atlantic. Big deal, right? But they’re averaging 264 rushing yards against SEC competition.

Who’s not: Texas A&M’s offense was held to 272 yards in last week’s 20-10 loss to Arkansas. The Aggies have not managed more than 10 points in games against Power-5 opponents. That’s bad news. Worst news? Seven of the remaining eight games are against Power-5 opponents.

Keep an eye on: The Auburn quarterback position is getting very interesting. Overhyped Bo Nix has started there for two and a half seasons. But he was benched a week ago with Auburn trailing Georgia STATE, 24-19. It was that close because the Tigers scored on a blocked punt. T.J. Finley came on and led Auburn to a game-winning 10-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-nine. Exclude the season-opener against woeful Akron and Nix has completed just 53 percent of his passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns. Finley has thrown just as many touchdown passes in that span. So does coach Bryan Harsin start Finley on Saturday against LSU? If he does, that adds to the intrigue of the game. Finley played five games for LSU last season.

The pressure is on: Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral is good. Really good. But he has to prove he can deliver in a big way amidst the hype of the Rebels’ clash with Alabama. The Crimson Tide can score and there are still doubts about the Ole Miss defense. Corral likely will have to match Alabama score-for-score in a high-scoring shootout. If he does he becomes the leader in the Heisman Trophy race.

Best matchup: Arkansas has the nation’s No. 8 rushing offense. The Razorbacks have rushed for at least 197 yards in every game. But they face Georgia, which leads the SEC and is seventh in the nation in rushing defense. No opponent has rushed for more than 127 yards against the Bulldogs. Three managed less than 100 rushing yards.

Discussion from...

SEC Round-Up: Kiffin's Rebels could flip SEC, Heisman races with win in Tuscaloosa

1,949 Views | 8 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by fieldtrailer
bigag83
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MagnumLoad
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Or not. I'm going with not.
I hate tu. It's in my blood.
northeastag
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AG
Probably not going to happen. But how many people at the beginning of the year thought that the Lane coached Rebels had a much better chance of pulling it off than Jimbo and our boys. Not many. And How will the Jimbo worshippers on these boards handle it if Old Miss pulls it off and we stumble through another butt whipping. Gonna be a fun and interesting season.
Wyoming
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AG
Picking ole miss in this one straight up.

I think ole miss is better than Florida, and Bama is just about sec average this year. Nothing that special about bama this year.
Wyoming
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AG
And I love the Arkansas Georgia matchup. It will be a fascinating game to watch
Wyoming
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AG
Kiffin panned for gold in the right creek when he found corral.

I wouldn't underestimate kiffin, he appears he can make some majic work when he has the right players.

He has his team this year. But over time, fisher is the guy hands down.



LincolnBorglum79
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AG
If Ole Miss beats Bama and Ark beats Georgia, the odds of having a 2 loss team win the SEC will be real. The 4 top teams
Coming into the season would all have 1 loss already.
fieldtrailer
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AG
Wyoming said:

Kiffin panned for gold in the right creek when he found corral.

I wouldn't underestimate kiffin, he appears he can make some majic work when he has the right players.

He has his team this year. But over time, fisher is the guy hands down.

I think Corral was already there, Recruited by Luke. Kiffin has taken advantage by installing a good scheme, merging the best of Briles and OU schemes.


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