I’m a huge fan of preseason college football magazines, despite the slow death of print publications, and I find myself stocking up on them every year since I was a kid.
Other than Ducks Unlimited and whatever Mrs. OMTB subscribed to, you won’t find another magazine in the house apart from piles of previews from Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and various fantasy football prospectus. This all correlates with sports betting and having reading material when needed (see: on business and on shit).
It is nearly impossible to accurately predict the 131 teams in the Football Bowl subdivision before the start of the season, however, I think the 20-30 low is pretty obvious based on history and resources.
In my opinion, the teams in the top 25 for most of these publications are teams that have been approved to have a strong to very strong possibility of 9-10 or more wins in any conference. So, that being said, it seems national publications are split on the Ole Miss Rebels.
Here is what some of the most prominent tipsters have predicted:
- CBS Sports: No. 27
- Athlon Sports: In the “next tier” of 21 teams outside the Top 25
- Phil Steele: No. 30
- At Lindy’s: No. 17
- ESPN Football Power Index: No. 17
- Sports news: No. 16
Now, the prospect of head coach Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss going on a 10-3 season and finishing No. 11 overall with another top 25 finish would be a big moment for everyone. This would add recruiting momentum, add credibility to the portal strategy for Kiffin, and speak volumes about staff and players ending up on the same page in a very short period of time.
I think this vapid specter of where Ole Miss will land is directly related to whether the writers think the higher number of impact transfers will or will not work for the Rebels. The margin for error is so small in the SEC that the difference between 7-5 and 10-2 may only be in a handful of games.
For me, I think most of these posts put too much emphasis on returning production as an indicator of future success. Anticipation players will continue to improve, get stronger and better, it makes sense, but we’re talking about college athletes aged 19-21. Nothing is guaranteed, so I always take the pre-season standings with a huge grain of salt.
The best news for me and other Ole Miss fans like me is that the program has returned to the college football landscape year after year after leaving after the NCAA. And it feels damn good.