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Ole Miss Preview: Temper Expectations For 2013

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Bo Wallace and the Rebels should lose to Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU, but could finish 9-3 by beating Auburn and Mississippi State. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.
Bo Wallace and the Rebels should lose to Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU, but could finish 9-3 by beating Auburn and Mississippi State. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

With one of the best recruiting classes in school history, Ole Miss comes into 2013 with a lot of expectations.

Guys like Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil will be expected to contribute right away as the Rebels take aim at the SEC West.

However, with such a good recruiting class, what are the realistic expectations for the Rebels moving forward?

The Schedule

Unfortunately for the Rebels, other teams in the division also are strong.

Within the span of four weeks, the Rebels will play at Alabama and Auburn before coming home to face Texas A&M and LSU.

If they can come out on top in two of those four games, it will be considered a success.

However, there's a big game that will come up prior to those four. Ole Miss will travel to Texas in a rematch of last year's 66-31 beatdown in Oxford. This year, the Rebels will look to get their revenge with a much-improved team.

After a Week 8 game with LSU, the Rebels conceivably could run the table. With its schedule (including cross-over games against Missouri and Vanderbilt), the Rebels could come out of the SEC with two or three losses best-case.

Offense

Jeff Scott is one of my favorite running backs in the SEC. He had his three best games against Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M last year.

He was inconsistent, but an improved offensive line should help. Expect Tunsil to make an immediate impact, along with Austin Golson.

The biggest weapon the offense has is Treadwell, who will make an immediate impact at receiver. He was the top high school receiver last year. By the end of this year, he'll be a Top 5 receiver in the SEC. He's that good. Pair him with Donte Moncrief and you have a dynamic duo.

Defense

Nkemdiche and his brother Denzel who will lead the defense this year.

Robert is a powerful rusher that can get to the passer, while Denzel plays the stinger linebacker position.

The Nkemdiche brothers, along with Lavon Hooks (defensive tackle), Cameron Whigham (defensive end) and high school teammate David Kamara (defensive back), all hail from the same area in Georgia.

There's a lot to be excited about defensively, and it will be on display in the first game of the year against Vanderbilt.

The biggest question mark will be how quickly Kamara and the younger Nkemdiche can adjust to the speed of the college game. With a tough schedule ahead of them, they're not going to have much time to make adjustments.

Predictions

Ole Miss will open the season 3-0, beating Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri and Texas (yes, I said Texas).

Alabama will have no problem manhandling the Rebels, moving Ole Miss to 3-1. An upset over Auburn will move the Rebels to 4-1, but Texas A&M will then come to town and hand the Rebels their second loss. 

LSU is just too strong on defense and will hand Ole Miss its third loss, but Idaho, Arkansas, Troy and Missouri will fall.

That leaves rival Mississippi State, which is 50-50. Still, the Rebels should come out on top, finishing the year 9-3.