Week 12 - Ole Miss at LSU

Posted Nov 16, 2012

Week 12 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Ole Miss at LSU

Ole Miss (5-5) at LSU (8-2) Nov. 17, 3:30, CBS

Here's The Deal: Ole Miss had a little bit of fun with LSU in 2008 and 2009, and it provided a great fight in 2010, and after a rough 2011, can it get back on track and make a big statement in the first year of the Hugh Freeze era? The Rebels have come up with a nice bounceback season, but they still need to come up with one more win to get bowl eligible. The home game against Vanderbilt last week was supposed to be the tipping moment, but that didn't happen putting the pressure on this week's date in Death Valley and next week's Egg Bowl against Mississippi State to get the sixth win.

The offense has been interesting, the defense has been outstanding at getting into the backfield, and the team has been competitive – helped by a major coaching improvement – but 5-7 is going to be a major disappointment after all the promise shown early on.

LSU got over its tough loss to Alabama with a decisive and dominant 20-point win over Mississippi State, and now it's hoping beyond reasonable hope for a miracle with by Auburn over the Tide. If LSU and Texas A&M win out, and if Alabama loses once, the Tigers will end up playing for the SEC title. That's not going to happen, but LSU is still deep in the hunt for an at-large BCS bid and can greatly improve its stock with dominant wins over the last two weeks. At the very least, closing out with wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas to go 10-2 will be impressive, even if it's not a national championship campaign.

Why Ole Miss Might Win: The pass rush has to be a major factor from the start. LSU QB Zach Mettenberger has been great over the last two weeks, but he needs to be hit. Alabama didn't generate a pass rush, and Mississippi State didn't bother him enough. Ole Miss has been steadily able to make lots and lots of plays behind the line with 11 tackles for loss against Vanderbilt and five sacks against Georgia, and while the big plays haven't always resulted in wins and production, but the pressure should be there. LSU's passing game isn't as good as Georgia's and Arkansas', and it'll have a problem if Mettenberger gets popped.

Why LSU Might Win: Can Ole Miss generate enough points? It might sound basic and easy, but the Rebels just might not be able to score against a defense that has yet to allow more than 21 points all season. LSU might not be in the national title chase, but the defense has been a brick wall leading the SEC and ranking third in the nation in pass defense. The Ole Miss offense has worked without a problem against the weak and the sad, and it moved the ball on Texas A&M, but the line doesn't do enough in pass protection and it won't generate much for the ground game to pick up the slack if the Tigers can get up early.

What To Watch Out For: Mettenberger has turned into the quarterback LSU has been hoping for. The coaching staff couldn't hide the passing game against Alabama, and Mettenberger picked the right time to bust out with his 24-of-35, 298-yard, one score day, and he followed it up by hitting 19-of-30 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns against MSU. He got in a little bit of work against the Rebels last year with a 25-yard run, and this year he should be able to continue his hot trend to be the main man for the offense going into next year. This year he has been good, but now he's setting the foundation to be great.

What Will Happen: The LSU defense will rise up with a big day in the final home game of the year. The offense will be methodical and efficient, getting up early and turning the game over to the D and special teams on the way to an easy win.

CFN Prediction: LSU 34 … Ole Miss 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) LSU -18.5 O/U: 50.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Killing Them Softly, 1 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2): 2.5