October 7, 2009

No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 20 Mississippi Rebels

NCAA Football Betting Preview
No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0) at No. 20 Mississippi Rebels (3-1)
Saturday October 10th, 3:30PM Eastern

Betus.com betting line – Alabama -6, 45 O/U

The No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide take their undefeated crusade on the road this weekend for a big test against No. 20 Mississippi in Oxford. The Rebels were upset in their SEC opener, but recovered last week defeating Vanderbilt 23-7. The Rebels offense has yet put together an all out performance, but will give the Crimson Tide their best shot when they get the opportunity for the upset at home this Saturday. Alabama on the other hand has been playing very well equally on both side of the ball. The Crimson Tide took down Kentucky 38-10 last week and has a few quality wins to their resume including a big victory in the opener over No. 5 Virginia Tech. However, the Crimson Tide will face another big challenge this weekend from SEC division foes in their quest to say on top of the SEC West.

The Crimson Tide are bout to go to war with the heart of their brutal SEC schedule. After a meeting with the Rebels this weekend, Alabama gets No. 25 South Carolina, Tennessee, and then No. 4 LSU. The tough schedule would likely give in to an upset for most teams, but Alabama has played super in the early games. Their defense will present Mississippi the biggest challenge. The Crimson Tide gets a ton of pressure up front and their rush defense reflects the strength of their defensive line leading the SEC allowing just 64 yards per game. The talent on the defensive front also helps lead the SEC with 15 total sacks on the season as well. Those big guys up front will be very critical in getting some pressure on one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC in the Rebels Jevan Snead. If the defensive line can keep pressure on Snead and not allow him to get comfortable, then they should keep the Rebels offense from getting back on track.

The Alabama offense is led by a brutal ground and pound attack. The Crimson Tide have one of the biggest and strongest offensive lines in the conference which has allowed their young tailbacks a lot of success. Sophomore Mark Ingram has already posted 487 yards and 6 touchdowns in just 4 games while Freshman Trent Richardson has been equally effective on less carries racking up 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. Alabama averages 222 yards per game on the ground and their elite rushing offense will go straight at the Rebels defense. QB Greg McElroy will also attempt to make some plays on occasion to keep the defense true. McElroy has played well throwing 9 touchdowns to just 1 pick and completing 66% on the season. The Crimson Tide quarterback has displayed a strong ability to throw the deep ball this season and the Rebels defense will have to keep that in mind. If not the Rebels will start loading the box to stop the run, and get burned in the secondary.

The Rebels have a strong defensive unit as well. In their two opening SEC contest, Ole Miss has only allowed 23 points combined even though one of those games was a 16-10 upset from South Carolina. Still, the defense is rock solid allowing just 274 yards per game and most importantly a strong rush defense allowing an SEC 3rd best 114 yards per game. The Rebels have been very strong up front which is good against a rushing team as strong as Alabama. Alabama has only been held under 200 yards rushing in just one game this season against Arkansas and the reason for those was to expose the worse pass defense in the conference. If the Rebels can hold Alabama on the ground, it will force McElroy to win the game against a strong Mississippi secondary that has allowed just 159 yards per game. Therefore, stopping the Crimson Tide on the ground will be the primary objective on defense in attempt to score an upset.

Still even if the defense plays good the Rebels are going to have to score points to win. QB Jevan Snead has to pick up the pace since he has been a big letdown thus far in the season. Snead has thrown just 182 yards per game and has 5 interceptions this season after leading the Rebels offense on a scoring rampage to end 2008. However, the offense is still waiting for a spark. WR Dexter McCluster is the biggest big play threat. McCluster will receive snaps from all over the field from the backfield to the wide out position and tends to make plays with the football. WR Shay Hodge is also an excellent target for Snead and leads the team with 269 reception yards. These two guys will need to play well and make some plays to get the offense rolling. Considering how big and strong Alabama is on the defensive front, success is going to come in the passing game or when the Rebels run the spread running game with McCluster to stretch out the Crimson Tide defense. The conventional running game with Brandon Bolden is not expected to strive and likely will not unless the rest of the play makers can the Crimson Tide defense on their heels.

Pick – Alabama allowed just 191 yards from one of the best passing offenses in the conference by way of Arkansas. The Crimson Tide defense will not only continue to stifle Snead but will be equally effective against the run. Alabama wins big

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