No. 2 Alabama will welcome in Ole Miss for an SEC West showdown in Week 5 of the season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday. Although the Crimson Tide is a big favorite over the Rebels, the history between these two SEC foes is pretty notable, with the Rebels famously knocking off the Tide back in 2015. However, the Matt Luke era in Oxford has cooled down the divisional matchup a tad as Nick Saban and the Tide have thoroughly dominated the games over the last two seasons.
The Tide are led by star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and a stellar wide receiving corps that has been nearly impossible to cover over the last two seasons. The Rebels are hoping to find a groove under first-year offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez and first-year defensive coordinator Mike McIntyre.
Could Ole Miss pull the biggest stunner of the 2019 season, or will Alabama's recent dominance continue? Let's break down the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Alabama: Tagovailoa has tossed 17 touchdowns and is without an interception through four games, and has the third-best passer rating in the country at 225.27. He's been slanting opposing defenses to death with star receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and opposing defenses haven't been able to stop it quite yet. Ole Miss is currently ranked 114th in the nation in pass defense, so it would take an other-worldly performance for that to change. If there is a problem with the Tide, it's a rushing offense that is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry against Power Five opponents. Najee Harris toted the rock 14 times last week and posted his second career 100-yard game, but those 14 carries are the most that he's had in a single game during his two-plus year career.
Ole Miss: QB John Rhys Plumlee came in after Matt Corral suffered a rib injury last week, and nearly led a miraculous comeback before it fizzled out on the 1-yard line as time expired. He will get the start for the Rebels. Wide receiver Elijah Moore is fourth in the SEC in receiving with 95 yards per game and Scottie Phillips is sixth in rushing with 90.5 yards per game. The defense, though, has been atrocious. In addition to the awful pass defense mentioned above, the Rebels have given up 5.34 yards per game and allowed 68 plays of 10 or more yards -- 13th in the SEC.
Game prediction, picks
This will be a dial-a-score game for Saban, and he will dial up a big one on Saturday afternoon. Why? Because the rushing attack really hasn't provided the balance that he said the team needed this summer. You'll still see plenty of Tagovailoa through the air, but expect Harris and the rest of the running backs to get a heavy workload deep into the third quarter, have success and lead the Crimson Tide to a big win and cover. Pick: Alabama (-37.5)
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