Ole Miss must defend the SEC’s honor in the Sugar Bowl
The above statement might read a little harsh, since the Rebels haven’t even played in the Sugar Bowl since January 1970 (Archie Manning’s junior season).
But this is a crucial time for the SEC. The conference hasn’t claimed a national title in three long years (sarcasm alert), and it hasn’t enjoyed a Sugar Bowl victory since Tim Tebow’s final collegiate game (January 2010 — Florida over Cincinnati).
What’s more, on paper, Oklahoma State might be the weakest team participating in the New Year’s Six bowls (Orange, Cotton, Rose, Fiesta, Peach, Sugar).
With the Big 12 championship on the line a few weeks ago, the Cowboys dropped their final two games at home — by a composite score of 103-58; and for the season, Oklahoma State ranks 95th in total defense (yielding 430 yards per game), 86th in scoring defense (29 points per game) and 91st in pass defense (244 ypg).
And if Ole Miss needs any extra motivation for this one, head coach Hugh Freeze can simply dial up film of the Rebels’ 42-3 drubbing at the hands of TCU in last season’s Peach Bowl.
On that miserable day, the Rebels accounted for only 10 first downs and 129 total yards against TCU. Perhaps worse, they had more turnovers than actual points. It was the ugliest bowl matchup in a holiday season full of unexpected blowouts.
Jay Clemons, the 2015 national winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year” (Cynopsis Media), has previously written for SI.com, The National Football Post, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports.