It’s fair to say that this football season hasn’t gone the way many Ole Miss fans thought it would. The Rebels are 3-5, have lost three straight games and will face another top-10 team in Texas A&M in their next SEC game in two weeks.
But are the Rebels as bad as they look?
The quick answer is no. And while 3-5 is nothing to brag about, it is not nearly reflective of how good Ole Miss actually is. Here are five reasons why:
- Ole Miss has played one of the country’s toughest schedules
According to Team Rankings, Ole Miss has played the fifth-toughest schedule in the country — good for second in the SEC behind Alabama — thus far. According to the website’s rankings, Clemson tops the list, followed Wisconsin, Florida State, Alabama and then the Rebels.
- The Rebels are just one of seven teams in the FBS that have yet to trail at halftime
Ole Miss has dominated in the first half of play this season, and is only one of seven teams in the FBS that has not yet trailed at the halfway point. In addition to the Rebels, the other teams are Boise State, Clemson, Florida, Michigan, San Diego State and Washington — three of which (Florida, Michigan and Clemson) are still in contention for the College Football Playoff. But because of some second-half struggles, those halftime leads have not carried over into a strong record.
- Quarterback Chad Kelly has been strong
The Ole Miss quarterback has thrown for 2,532 yards, 18 touchdowns and 8 interceptions through eight games. His best performance came on Saturday night, when he broke Archie Manning’s single-game school passing record. Despite Kelly’s strong performance Saturday, the Rebels still fell to Auburn, 40-29.
- FPI rankings love the Rebels
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Rebels are No. 14 in FPI, making them the highest ranked team with a losing record. The only other team in the top 30 with a losing record is UCLA (3-5), which comes in at No. 29.
- Ole Miss is the only team with a losing record near the top of S&P+ rankings
The S&P+ Ratings are a ratings system that uses every play from every team. Those ratings also like the Rebels, as they rank them at No. 19 on the list. No other team with a losing record falls in the top 40.
After three straight conference losses, the Rebels get the chance to rebound against Georgia Southern next weekend. Following the aforementioned Texas A&M game, Ole Miss finishes the regular season with a trip to Vanderbilt before a home finale against Mississippi State.