Ole Miss Rallies Behind Bo Wallace For SEC West Title Run
By Dan Harralson
Hugh Freeze has put the Ole Miss Rebels on the map.
He's won 15 games in two seasons in Oxford – a rare occurrence since David Cutcliffe roamed the sidelines from 1999 to 2004. Freeze has won a pair of bowl games and appears to be a top-notch recruiter. His teams haven't been easy outs, putting a scare in both Alabama and Texas A&M. Plus, Freeze’s Rebels already have a signature win, coming last season over Texas.
Minus losing last season's Egg Bowl, there's a lot of momentum in Oxford as Freeze continues to build the Ole Miss program.
Not many SEC schools have a returning starting quarterback, but Ole Miss does in Bo Wallace – making the Rebels confident that they can make a push for the SEC West championship.
"I want to be regarded as the top quarterback in this league," Wallace told reporters at SEC Media Days.
"Why can't we be the Auburn of this year? Come out of nowhere and take the West by storm."
Over time within college football anything is possible. But realistically, is it feasible for Ole Miss to finally win their first ever SEC West title and become Atlanta-bound? Anything's possible with the mindset Wallace has, on top of the work ethic he has displayed this offseason.
“You can tell watching him in seven-on-seven drills, he’s putting more zip on the ball,” Ole Miss defensive end C.J. Johnson said, joining teammate Wallace at SEC Media Days. “His deep ball accuracy has (improved), so there are a lot of aspects of his game as far as throwing the football that have really changed now that he has his arm strength back.”
Wallace's arm strength has been called into question, but the senior has 26 starts in the SEC under his belt and has never missed a game, which shows his toughness.
Hugh Freeze chimed in on his signal caller, as well.
"I think he's matured quite nicely in the way he leads our team, the way he goes about our business,” Freeze said. “He finally feels healthy and confident. I really think he's at a point where he certainly has every avenue right now to step in and be one of the (top) guys in this conference.”
If Ole Miss can take care of business against Texas A&M, Tennessee and Mississippi State, then the Rebels will have a shot against the SEC West's big three in Alabama, LSU and Auburn – in which Ole Miss only has to go on the road to LSU.
But, Bo Wallace is ready – just ask him. “I’m ready for the year and I’m ready for that game (the Egg Bowl).”
2014 Ole Miss Rebels Schedule Predictions
Wins: Boise State, Vanderbilt, Louisiana, Memphis, Presbyterian, Arkansas
Losses: Alabama, LSU, Auburn
Toss-ups: Texas A&M, Tennessee, Mississippi State