MAKE IT RAIN SPORTS POWER INDEX – FINAL WEEK
Now that the last games have been played and the regular season is over let take a look at where your team ranks on the MIRS Power Index. Rivalry week was just as wild and crazy as it has ever been and while the final two teams standing in Atlanta did not finish one and two on our index, statistically, Bama and USC were the best.
But stats do not measure heart and will and certainly do not include a 107 yard returned field goal attempt.
Just a crazy week in the SEC guys.
WEEK 14 – MAKE IT RAIN SPORTS POWER INDEX
TEAM DEFENSE OFFENSE POWER INDEX
ALABAMA 1 8 9
SOUTH CAROLINA 3 7 10
LSU 4 6 10
GEORGIA 8 3 11
OLEMISS 7 5 12
MISSOURI 9 4 13
AUBURN 11 2 13
VANDERBILT 5 10 15
TEXAS A&M 14 1 15
MISS STATE 6 9 15
FLORIDA 2 14 16
ARKANSAS 10 11 21
TENNESSEE 12 12 24
KENTUCKY 13 13 26
MSSTATE FANS ARE THE BIGGEST WINNERS IN EGGBOWL 2013
If you are a fan of the Maroon and White, 2013 has not been the easiest season.
In the previous three years, MSU enjoyed unprecedented success against their in-state rival Ole Miss; beating them in the Eggbowl for three straight years for the first time ever. MSU also enjoyed having the best coach in the state, while Ole Miss floundered under Houston Nutt’s tenure.
In short, 2009-2011 was probably the best time to be an MSU fan since the late 90’s and an SEC trip to Atlanta to battle for the SEC championship.
2012 saw Ole Miss make another questionable hire, in Hugh Freeze, a coach with little experience, and MSU fans expected the good times to continue.
Somehow, Hugh Freeze was able to derail the Mullen train in 2012 with an emotional win in Oxford, officially ending the Mullen honeymoon that capped off a disappointing end to what was such a promising 2012.
In 2013, Senior QB Tyler Russell goes down with a concussion in the first game of the season which further impeded this team’s ability to improve.
Backup QB Dak Prescott is forced to start and learn on the job and through all the growing pains expected on the field, the hardest hurdle for Dak occurred off the field, when he tragicly lost his mother to cancer.
MSU has not played up to expectations in many games this year, losing late to Auburn and LSU and barely winning against inferior teams like Kentucky, Bowling Green and Arkansas; all while racking up injuries to both Dak and Tyler Russell.
Faced with starting a third string QB in freshman Damian Williams against a seemingly strong team in Ole Miss, there was every reason for the fans and MSU team to give up and get ready for 2014.
But give credit to the MSU fans and players who came to play on Thursday.
A defense that continuously gave up big plays at the end of the first half and the end of games, played out of their minds against their rival and did not give up a single offensive touchdown.
With 90% of MSU’s passing yards setting on the bench, Damian Williams played keep-away and was able to protect the football and give his team a chance to win.
With an Ole Miss defense that held MSU to only 72 yards on the ground (before Prescott entered the game), it was the MSU defensive front that stepped up time after time and stone walled the Rebels.
Not to be forgotten was the obvious overwhelming crowd support from MSU fans, who showed up to support their team and added to the pressure that Ole Miss could not overcome and eventually cracked at the last minute in overtime.
The Eggbowl 2013 will go down as an amazing, ill-logical, heart-stopping, thrill a minute game; in a series where this is the norm rather than the exception.
But the biggest winners are the fans who stood by their team when all hope seemed lost and the odds were stacked against them. When you support your team, it is noticed by the player and sometimes can mean the difference in winning and losing.
The Eggbowl 2013 should be one of the best examples of how fans can create a home field advantage that is un-beatable.
OLE MISS’ OFFENSIVE NUMBERS FALLING
Just a few weeks ago, Hugh Freeze was the darling of the league. His team survived the early test of top 10 ranked opponents and kept Ole Miss focused and prepared and they responded by beating LSU.
Ten games into the season, Wallace and his fleet of elite wide receivers and multitude of running backs had established themselves as one of the best offenses in the league. In fact, Ole Miss was the second best team in the league in total offense heading into the matchup with Missouri on game eleven.
Unfortunately for Ole Miss fans, the team lost ultra-talented freshman left tackle Laremy Tunsil early in the Missouri game. This came after losing senior left guard earlier in the year.
These two injuries along with tight end Evan Engram having season ending ankle surgery, has had devastating effects on the Ole Miss offense.
Without a tight end like Engram, who is a huge mismatch against linebackers, your check down pass becomes screens and sideline passes.
Without Tunsil, Bo Wallace doesn’t have time to find the long pass down the field, which is why you see the short passes. Linebackers can take away the slants and curl routes.
As a quarterback, if you can’t get protection, the secondary doesn’t have to be that good to force a check down before a sack.
The bigger issue and one that is harder to solve in a week, or three days in the case of the egg bowl; is the Rebel’s inability to run the ball.
SEC teams that have a solid rush can mask a weak secondary and force Ole Miss to run the ball in obvious rushing situations. This is not the strength of the Ole Miss team right now. Due to attrition in years past, very little depth and young, undersized running backs, this team is just not a smash mouth football team.
Perhaps they never have to be a smash mouth team, because honestly, smaller schools like Ole Miss may never be able to run the ball successfully in the SEC. But what is absolutely essential is to have an offensive line that allows you time to pass the ball when running is not an option.
Right now, this Ole Miss team is not adequately blocking for Bo Wallace, but that can be improved and next year with more recruiting and training, you can expect to see this team at the top of the league offensively.
KEYS TO A BULLDOG VICTORY – 2013 EGG BOWL
The common fan of either Mississippi State or Mississippi has rationalized this week, over and over again, on why their team will win Thursday nights battle for the Golden Egg. Mississippi fan will say, ” we out recruit the Bulldogs, we beat LSU and they didn’t, we won last year and hey – they are down to a third string quarterback.”
MSU fans will say, ” You haven’t beaten us in Starkville since 2003, we played Auburn better than you did and we are playing for a bowl so momentum is on our side and we have new uniforms.”
Frankly, non of that matters once the ball is kicked at about 6:35 pm on Thursday night.
To fans and others, that stuff matters but, once the game begins, its all on the players and the flow of the game.
One ole ball coach once said the first three to five minutes of the first half, and the second half go a long way in determining a game. That’s not always the case but, you can bank on it that momentum and the flow of a game are established in those minutes.
So, as we look towards the 2013 version of the Golden Egg, what will it take for the Bulldogs to win their 4th of the last five and 6 of the last nine between the Dawgs and Rebs?
Obviously, who plays quarterback and when will make a difference in this game for the Dawgs but, there are three other factors that will decide the outcome of this game.
Let’s look at what it will take for a Bulldog victory.
ESTABLISH THE RUN AND STOP THE RUN
OLE MISS HAS THE ADVANTAGE IN EGG BOWL 2013
Ole Miss enters the 2013 Egg Bowl against Mississippi State as the stronger team. As we know from looking at the recent record between the two schools, tangible strengths don’t always overcome the intangible elements in a rival game.
Ole Miss hasn’t beaten MSU in Starkville since Eli Manning’s senior year in 2003, and even the vaunted Manning lost in 2001. Deuce McAllister and Romaro Miller only won once in Starkville, and that was only as freshman.
The Egg Bowl has become a game that only the home team wins. What the home teams sometimes lack in talent and skill, pride and emotion seems to fill the gaps. This rivalry series certainly seems to feed off the crowd more than others.
While it is unknown how much effect pride will have on the game this year, it is obvious which team “should” win.
Ole Miss has a decided advantage in the passing game. OM passes for 292 yards per game while MSU has around 245 yards per game, and 90% of these passing yards for MSU will be on the bench with injured QB’s Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell.
Ole Miss has a decided advantage in the rushing game. OM rushes for 194 yards per game; almost the same per game average as MSU, but injured QB Dak Prescott accounts for 30% of those yards.
Ole Miss has a decided advantage in defense for this game. Even if injured QB’s Dak Prescott or Tyler Russell play, everyone in the stadium knows MSU will have to run the ball to be successful. While Ole Miss has a few injuries as well, possibly including senior RB Jeff Scott, there are many more weapons on the Ole Miss offense compared to MSU, thus giving the Bulldogs a lot more to prepare for on Thursday night.
Ole Miss has a decided advantage in special teams. Kicking field goals has become a major problem for Mississippi State this year. The two field goal kickers at MSU have combined to make 8 field goals so far this year which is less than Ole Miss’ 14 from Andrew Ritter. MSU kickers only make 45% of the field goals they attempt. Jameon Lewis only averages 1.5 yards per punt return.
Coaching is an even measure at best. Dan Mullen enters the 2013 Egg Bowl under mounting fan pressure. In the fifth year of his tenure at MSU, fans are beginning to expect more than 5-6 wins. In only the second year of Hugh Freeze’s stint at Ole Miss 7 wins with two left to play seems like he is over-achieving expectations.
With all these major points seemingly swinging Ole Miss way. They only things Mississippi State can claim is the home field and pride.
With the weather appearing to be in the 30s to upper 20s, it should be a majority Mississippi State crowd. If Ole Miss starts out slow like they did in the Missouri matchup and MSU gets a lead early, the fan momentum can be overwhelming in this series.
If Ole Miss gets greedy and makes a mistake, MSU can gain a huge advantage in confidence. (Anyone remember the 1999 or 2009 games?)
If the OM defensive line gets too aggressive, they can overrun the play and give up big plays to a highly capable fleet of running backs at MSU. (Ole Miss was guilty of this at Auburn and Missouri)
If the MSU defense gets a turnover or two, all bets are off. (I don’t have to remind you of the 2001 game or countless others.)
While Ole Miss can be considered the favorite in this game, it is by no means a given that Ole Miss will win. It will take serious effort and focus as a team for Ole Miss to win this game, not unlike the LSU game.
If this game was played in Oxford, I would expect this game to be over before halftime, but because it is played in Starkville…. You just never know.
MAKE IT RAIN SPORTS – EGG BOWL WEEK 2013
Listen to the Egg Bowl edition of Make It Rain Sports as we welcome Stephen Agostinelli from SixPackSpeak.com and Bulldog Sports Radio’s “This Is Our Show,” Austin Golding, former MSU track athlete, Sam Wells from Rebel Sports Radio’s “The Season Ticket” and Acey Roberts as they get down in the three point stance and fire off on all things MSU and Ole Miss. Special thanks to David Adams with ALG AffordableLendingGroup.com and CSpire along with Vsporto Networks for letting us bring another year of smack talk that only Make It Rain Sports can bring. Click the links below
Bulldog Sports Radio – MIRS Egg Bowl Show
Rebel Sports Radio – MIRS Egg Bowl Show