The Ole Miss Rebels have to play in the same division as the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers. Life is always tough in the SEC West. However, competitors love a challenge. The Rebels know they are always going to be tested in what most people believe is the toughest division in college football. Can head coach Lane Kiffin guide his Rebels to a New Year’s Six bowl game? He did so in the 2021 season, but the 2022 season proved to be a lot more difficult. The hope in Oxford is that the Rebels learned lessons that will carry into this season – especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Let’s take a look at the 2023 Rebels and see what the best bets are for their futures.
2023 Ole Miss Rebels Futures
Odds To Win SEC: +3000 at MyBookie Sportsbook
Odds To Win National Championship: +10000 at MyBookie Sportsbook
Best Bet To Win Heisman
Running back Quinshon Judkins is listed as a +5000 choice to win the Heisman Trophy in 2023, while quarterback Jaxson Dart is priced at +8000. One of the misconceptions of Lane Kiffin’s offense is that it is a wide-open, go-for-broke offense which seeks to throw at every opportunity. If you followed Kiffin when he was offensive coordinator at Alabama under head coach Nick Saban, you would notice that Alabama’s passing attack was often safe and conservative, with a lot of screen passes and horizontal plays which emphasized getting the ball to a speedy receiver or running back in open space. Kiffin did not have a gunslinger-type offense in which his quarterback would gun the ball down the field.
In 2021 at Ole Miss, quarterback Matt Corral was an effective runner, not just a good passer. He often sacrificed his body to absorb hits and get first downs as a rusher. Kiffin didn’t keep him protected in the pocket. He used Corral’s rushing ability as a main driver of the Ole Miss offense. If you were to say that a running back or quarterback will be the better Heisman contender within a Lane Kiffin offense, it’s not an easy call.
However, Jaxson Dart is a veteran quarterback who is playing his second straight year in the Kiffin system. Last year was a struggle but this year gives him a chance to be better. If Dart is noticeably better – enough to lift Ole Miss to a New Year’s Six bowl game (which would mean the Rebels will pull an upset of either LSU or Alabama this year) – he might get a look as a Heisman Trophy candidate. A lot has to go right but this is in the realm of possibility.
Pick: Jaxson Dart
Best Player Prop To Bet
Quinshon Judkins Rushing Yards
Judkins will get his share of carries but Ole Miss – playing LSU, Georgia, and Alabama this season – is likely to trail for the vast majority of snaps in its biggest games of the season. The likelihood of Ole Miss needing to throw a lot of passes in several of its games will limit the extent to which Judkins will touch the rock. He won’t be used often enough to pile up the yards against elite opposition.
There proposition on Judkins for the season, the inclination should be to go under the total.
Pick: Quinshon Judkins Under 1275.5 Rushing Yards
Regular Season Win Total
The Ole Miss schedule is a familiar beast. Playing in the SEC West invites a very high degree of difficulty. Before the SEC showdowns on the slate, the Rebels are at Tulane, the defending American Athletic Conference champion. Remember, they reached the Cotton Bowl last season and stunned Lincoln Riley’s USC team in a 46-45 thriller. Then come the big SEC games for Ole Miss in 2023. There’s at Alabama, home against LSU, at Georgia, at Auburn, and at home versus Texas A&M.
The game at Alabama might actually be more winnable than many people think. That’s only because Alabama does not seem to have a good quarterback situation this year. Transfer Tyler Buchner is not highly regarded. Alabama will have to be elite on defense if it wants to have a chance to dethrone Georgia for both the SEC and national championships in 2023. Ole Miss could pull off an upset there, but it’s still really hard to bet against Nick Saban at home.
Examining The Schedule
The home game versus LSU might be the whole key to Ole Miss’ season. The LSU Tigers were a good team last year, but they still did lose four games: Florida State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Georgia. That LSU team was talented but not consistent. The gap between LSU and Ole Miss might be overestimated. Since the Rebels get LSU at home in Oxford, they have a realistic shot at upending the Tigers. The key in that game will be which quarterback – Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart or LSU’s Jayden Daniels – avoids the big turnover and can make smart decisions with the ball under pressure.
Ole Miss goes to Georgia to play the two-time defending national champions of college football. Georgia is the gold standard in the sport, and even with changes at quarterback and several other roster spots the Bulldogs have the toughest and most physical offensive and defensive lines in college football, which is why they dominate. Ole Miss will have a very difficult time matching the physical standard of play Georgia is able to replicate with such great consistency. The Rebels are highly unlikely to win that game. The Alabama and LSU games offer comparatively better chances of an upset.
The game at Auburn will be richly fascinating and a major national story. Why? Auburn’s new coach is former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, who won a lot of games with the Rebels but ran a wayward program and ran into multiple scandals in Oxford. Ole Miss fans will want to beat Auburn and Freeze more than any other opponent in 2023.
The home game versus Texas A&M could be a hot-seat game for A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, who had a terrible 2022 season and will try to bounce back this season. If Fisher struggles, however, he could face withering internal pressure at his school. Lane Kiffin could get Fisher fired if the situation is dire enough.
All in all, Ole Miss will probably lose three SEC games. It should beat Texas A&M at home and it might win at Auburn. The Alabama, LSU and Georgia games feel like losses, but if the Rebels take care of the other games on their schedule, they will go 9-3 and hit the over on the 7.5 win total.