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Ole Miss Rebels vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Game Preview + Free Predictions

Mississippi Rebels vs Vanderbilt Commodores Handicapping Preview

Two of the SEC’s bottom-feeding teams open their conference schedule against each other this Saturday in Nashville. Though these teams cannot keep up with the likes of an Alabama, LSU or South Carolina, they are well matched versus each other, which should at least make for an intriguing game.

Mississippi Rebels vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville TN
Saturday, Sept. 17, 12:20 pm EST
NCAA Odds from Sportsbook.com:
MoneyLine: Ole Miss -140, Vandy +120
Spread: Ole Miss -2.5, Vandy +2.5
Over/Under: 47

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In other circumstances, Ole Miss would perhaps be a more decisive favorite, but the Rebels must overcome a couple major injuries to the offensive starters.

Starting RB Brandon Bolden is doubtful this week with a pretty serious ankle injury. It occurred in the season opener against BYU, but the injury apparently may be a fracture – this would put Bolden on the shelf for several weeks. The senior eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards last year (1,028) and in losing him, the Rebs lose a vital part of their offense. Furthermore, starting WR Melvin Harris is also likely out with back trouble. He practiced a bit this week, which was encouraging, but he is probably not all the way back and is also a key figure in Ole Miss’s offensive game-plan. This puts the onus on other players (sophomore RB Jeff Scott, WR Ja-Mes Logan) to assert themselves this week in Tennessee.

Vanderbilt must go forward without starting TE Brandon Barden, who was a second-team all-SEC selection in 2010; a notable absence for an offense that struggles to be productive in the first place. Vandy is never going to blow an opponent away with its prolific attack, yet the Commodores are 2-0 and are coming off a nice win against Connecticut, 24-21. Veteran QB Larry Smith has managed himself well thus far, though the first game was against middling FCS opponent Elon. A win at home to open the conference slate would absolutely get the momentum rolling downhill for Vanderbilt.

Despite the injuries, the Rebels still definitely have a more talented depth chart than Vanderbilt. Ole Miss has a 1-1 record thanks to an excruciating one-point loss in the opener to BYU, so the Rebs faithful truly need a reason to get excited. The diminutive Scott has been decent in Bolden’s absence – he is averaging 6.4 yards per clip on just 21 attempts. Seeing as junior pivot Zack Stoudt isn’t a world-beater, the Rebels would perhaps be better served handing the rock off to Scott more often against a pretty bland Commodores defense. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The Ole Miss “D” has been playing just fine, so though it is a struggle with the attrition, the Rebels must find a way to get the offense kick-started into gear. If Ole Miss finds its rhythm, this Saturday can serve as a good tune-up game for when the conference schedule gets considerably more difficult (Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn loom in the next five weeks).

Lastly, Ole Miss has some talented freshman that it should get more involved to supplement the vanished production. Particularly at wideout, Nickolas Brassell and Donte Moncrief were highly touted prospects who bring plenty of athletic ability. If Stoudt can deliver these youngsters the ball with some regularity and in turn take some pressure off the speedy Scott, the Rebels’ offense could see its fortunes turn around in a hurry.

Vanderbilt gets the Rebs at home and will want to keep the good vibes of the 2011 season going. But the Commodores are decidedly the least talented football team in the SEC, and perhaps got a little lucky last week vs. UConn. The Rebels, meanwhile, certainly aren’t an LSU-caliber roster, but have far more talent than Vandy and should get the job done if they start playing up to par. Though Mississippi will get much better with Bolden and Harris back in the fold (hopefully before much longer, with those tough games on the horizon) they should have just enough horses to get by a lightweight program like the Commodores.


Over is 6-2 in MISS last 8 games overall.
MISS are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
VAN are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
VAN are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games on grass.
VAN are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 home games.
MISS are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
Underdog is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.

Score Prediction: Ole Miss 20, Vanderbilt 14
Over/Under Prediction: 34

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