Ole Miss Football vs Alabama on September 28th, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, AL. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics Twitter and Instagram: @OleMissPix Buy Photos at RebelWallArt.com

Ole Miss 

2020 Results: 5-5, 4-5 (SEC) 

2021 Projection: 8-4 

A solid returning quarterback and a promising start to Lane Kiffen’s Ole Miss tenure in 2020 have many pundits thinking the Rebels could be up and comers in the SEC West. Of course, no one is going out on a limb to predict they can sweep past Alabama or Texas A&M but several prognosticators think the Rebels can move past LSU and Auburn and possibly finish as high as third in the daunting SEC West. 

Kiffen’s offense looked good in 2020 and the return of quarterback Matt Corral, who threw 29 touchdowns and rushed for more than 500 yards in 2020, bodes well for an Ole Miss offense that has plenty of stalwarts. 

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All-SEC taiblack Jerrion Early returns for the Rebels and while the offense lost talent at wide receiver and tight end, the Rebels have plenty of young talent hoping to step up. With four of five offensive line starters returning, the Rebel’s offense could be set to be even better in 2021 than they were in 2020. 

Defensively the Rebels have recruited well and brought in a couple of transfers who should make an impact, but they will need to get a lot better to improve on the squad that ranked 126th in total defense in 2020.  

The linebacking group does look strong and if the defensive line can gel and keep blockers off of the backers, it could free them up to cause some havoc and mayhem with other team’s offenses. The secondary has a good mix of returning starters, transfers and several good recruits giving Ole Miss some depth if not tons of experience. 

Ole Miss Football vs Indiana on January 2nd, 2020 in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics Twitter and Instagram: @OleMissPix Buy Photos at RebelWallArt.com

The schedule is tough but should allow Ole Miss time to get ready. After opening against Lousiville to start the season, Ole Miss gets games against Tulane and Austin Peay and a bye week before they travel to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama. 

The Rebels also catch LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M later in the season, giving them time to grow on defense and get the offense clicking. Kiffen has already brought back fun and excitement to Ole Miss. If the Rebels can improve on defense, they could pull an upset or two in the SEC West. 

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An injury while running at Auburn ended Jim Alred’s long-shot hopes of possibly competing in the Olympics, so he turned to writing and has been crafting award-winning stories across multiple mediums ever since. Along the way he’s been chased by a grizzly bear, worked as Goofy at Walt Disney World, been nominated for two Emmys, interviewed celebrities like Tiger Woods, Bo Jackson, Bill Clinton, coaches his daughters in cross country and soccer and can often be found running with his wife, Tara, around Rome.