Well its finally that time again! College football kicks off tonight with some of the marquee games as UNLV travels to take on #11 Wisconsin, #20 Mississippi State goes up against Memphis, and Utah starts the season off in difficult fashion against Montana State. While its all fine and dandy that these other teams begin tonight, we all know that the real start of the season occurs on Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi as the Cougars travel to meet up with the Ole Miss Rebels. This is the first time ever that BYU and Ole Miss will play each other on the gridiron. This is also BYU's first game as football Independents so lot's of history is ready to be made.
We have asked our friends over in SEC country, Red Cup Rebellion, to answer 5 questions about the upcoming game and they have kindly obliged. In return, we answered 5 of their questions and those are posted over on their respective SBN blog. So read through what they have to say below and then head over to RCR to see how I answered their questions.
Oh, and leave your comments below. Let's get a good discussion going!
1. We have heard that some people are calling for Houston Nutt to be fired. How hot would you say is Houston Nutt's hot seat? Is it mainly fans or school administration?
We ask ourselves that question every day. If Houston only wins five this year, will he be fired? The answer is, we're really not sure. I guess that means his seat isn't piping hot, but I think that there's a good segment of our fanbase who, if faced with another season without a bowl, would opt for firing Nutt. In 2009, when the Rebels opened preseason polls as the #8 team in the country, Nutt really let us down. We finished 8-4 with a bowl win, and a lot of fans gave up on him then. Next came.... the Jacksonville State loss. That was the last straw for many.
The administration appears to be behind him (mostly because his buyout would be something like six million dollars this year). That could all change if big time boosters come forward willing to pay. As it stands, it appears that the administration would like to keep him around (assuming he wins more than four). If we only win four again, he's gone.
2. Last year, BYU went through a QB controversy where we rotated our QBs all throughout training camp and even the first few games of the season. How is Ole Miss dealing with their own QB controversy? Has it affected overall team play so far? Has or will a starter be named by Saturday?
Well, the controversy was somewhat settled for us. When JR Randall Mackey was at a concert in Oxford and got in a fight, Nutt suspended him for the first game. That left the coaches with the option of a scrambler who struggles with accuracy or a pocket passer who struggles with decision making. Because the coaches value possession of the ball so much, it was obvious they would choose Sophomore Barry Brunetti (the better scrambler). Brunetti has the "winner" tag, but he hasn't started a division one game.
A scouting report for him: He's undersized (6'0" 210) and struggles with deep accuracy. He runs well, makes good decisions (in the limited bit of his throwing that I've seen), and is effective with the check down. Luckily, he appears to know his limitations and checks down often.
JR Zack Stoudt will play, and that could change things up a lot. When he's in the game, you'll see the wildcat as well as the Rebels' attempt to exploit any speed mismatches that may exist (I'm not assuming they do exist).
3. How do Ole Miss fans feel about Texas A&M possibly joining the SEC? And with it, do you feel like BYU could compete in the Big 12 if given an invitation, like some fans want?
A&M is a storied program who is successful at the moment as well. I think the majority of our fans were fine with the SEC the way it was, but if we're going to add programs, A&M is a good one to bring into the fold. We're hoping they will help us recruit in Texas due to conference ties, and we know they'll expand the media market. If they're perennial championship contenders (which most believe they won't be), that would be unfortunate. We don't want yet another team we regularly view as a loss when forecasting the season. If they drop back down to a level of good competition who loses to LSU, Bama, and Auburn on a yearly basis, we can hopefully compete. The last thing we need is another (near certain) loss on the schedule.
4. Name one player on offense and one on defense that you believe will have the most impact against BYU this weekend.
Brandon Bolden. I'm sure that's a cop out, since he's probably one of maybe two names your fans know among players on our team. Still, I think that if we're to succeed against you, it's going to come from Bolden. He's a power runner who breaks tackles but also has good speed. The key to attacking the 3-4 is to have success running directly at it. If we can't do that, we lose. If we can, we've got a good shot. The only way for a non-elite team to beat Jake Heaps is to try to keep him off the field.
Defensively, watch out for SO MLB Mike Marry. Marry is 6'2" 250 and has adequate speed. Because of the inexperience of our defensive tackles, he's going to have a lot of work to do with your backs and even simply trying to get off blocks. Marry is strong and apparently a smart player who knows what's going on around the field. While we're certainly worried about Jake Heaps, we cannot allow your offense to be two dimensional and expect to win. We've got to stop the run.
5. Predict the final score and tell us how you came to that conclusion.