As great as college football’s opening weekend was, this weekend has a chance to be even better. Numerous playoff-impacting games will occur all across the country, including No. 2 Florida State (2-0) at No. 10 Louisville (2-0), No. 12 Michigan State (1-0) at No. 18 Notre Dame (1-1), No. 3 Ohio State (2-0) at No. 14 Oklahoma (1-1), and, yes, No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at No. 19 Ole Miss (1-1).
“You know what wins football games: Offensive and defensive lines is what determines games,” Gary Danielson, lead analyst for the SEC on CBS, said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Alabama is going to travel to Ole Miss, Ole Miss has beat them two years in a row. Ole Miss, all they hear about is, ‘Ole Miss didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves.’ They’re going to be ticked and they’ve got the weakness of Alabama – their offensive line – versus the strength of Ole Miss: a disruptive, attacking defensive line. They’re going to try to give that Alabama offensive line a lesson. Will they do it? I don’t know. But that’ll be the ball game.”
Ole Miss beat then-No. 2 Alabama, 43-37, in Tuscaloosa last September. The Rebels also beat then-No. 3 Alabama, 23-17, in Oxford in October 2014. Alabama committed six turnovers in those games, including five last season.
“Hugh Freeze has matched up against Alabama four years now,” Danielson said. “He’s won the last two. He beat Alabama two years in a row. Freeze’s team has never rushed for 100 yards (against Alabama. They’ve rushed for) 80, 46, 76 and 92 (yards). The last two they won, they’ve had 64 rushes and they’ve averaged 2.6 per attempt. It has not been the running game (where) Ole Miss is getting them. It’s been turnovers and big plays, match-ups to the outside. It’ll be the story again in this football game. Can they get to the freshman quarterback? (It’s) his first game on the road in the SEC.”
Jalen Hurts has played well through two games. He accounted for four touchdowns (two pass, two rush) against USC despite sharing quarterback duties with Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman.
Still, Ole Miss, which challenged Florida State in its season-opener before ultimately losing 45-34, will not be intimidated.
“This is not an Ole Miss team that believes they can beat Alabama; they know they can beat them,” Danielson said. “They’ve got the advantage with a veteran quarterback (Chad Kelly), but there’s a lot of five-stars on that other team. They’re pretty good with their young quarterback, but we’ll see.”
Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET.