After a bowl ban and program restrictions hampered Ole Miss for the last two years, the Rebels are finally eligible for a bowl game. However, with seven games gone, the team stands with a 3-4 record.
Ole Miss must finish the season at 6-6 to be bowl eligible, which means they need three wins in their next five games. This is no simple task, as the Rebels face some stout competition in the back half of the schedule. Here are the final five games remaining on the schedule, as well as a breakdown of what Ole Miss must do to secure a bowl game.
Texas A&M, Oct. 19:
After some close losses earlier this year to Memphis and California, and the defeat
suffered last week against No. 22 Missouri, Ole Miss has little to no room for error, making
this contest a must-win for the Rebels in terms of bowl eligibility. The spread has the Aggies favored by six points, but Ole Miss has performed well at home, boasting a 3-1 record at Vaught-Hemingway.
Texas A&M barely beat an Arkansas team that Ole Miss handled comfortably earlier in the season, but after a loss suffered last week against Alabama, expect Texas A&M to be hungry for a win, as they are also three games away from bowl eligibility.
In order to win, Ole Miss must be able to efficiently carry out its new two-quarterback game plan consisting of Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee. If Ole Miss tidies up on the defensive end and the offense continues to put up points, the game could be a very tight affair.
@ No. 11 Auburn, Nov. 2:
This game at Auburn seems like a long shot for Ole Miss. The Rebels have been woeful on the road with an 0-3 record, while Auburn has been perfect at home. The Tigers have been in good form all year, beating No. 12 Oregon in the opener and having their only loss recorded to a solid Florida team.
However, Ole Miss can come in with some advantages. The Rebels will be fresh off a bye week, while Auburn faces No. 2 LSU the week before and No. 10 Georgia the week after. The Georgia game could possibly leave Auburn too focused on those games to pay attention to the underdog Rebels.
New Mexico State, Nov. 9:
Ole Miss must beat New Mexico state at home, and there is no other way around it. As of now, New Mexico State is 0-7, and a Rebel loss at home here will severely cripple any hopes of a bowl appearance.
No. 2 LSU, Nov. 16:
The only saving grace here for Ole Miss is that this is a home game. LSU has been spectacular this year, recording wins against solid programs like Florida and Texas while putting up dominant performances against lesser competition. Maybe playing Alabama the week before will leave the Tigers exhausted, creating a trap game against the Rebels, but that is a considerable stretch.
@ Mississippi State, Nov. 28:
The Egg Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss. While it’s safe to say neither of these teams have set the world on fire this year, both teams might be looking at bowl eligibility by late November, and that, along with the long-standing rivalry, is enough to make this game a highly anticipated matchup.
Ole Miss’ advantage is a longer break before this game, while Mississippi State’s will be its home crowd. Ole Miss will most likely need this win to solidify their bowl hopes.
Should the Rebels fail to earn six wins this season, there is the possibility of accepting a 5-7 bowl bid depending on the program’s Academic Progress Rate.