Steve Morton’s CDS Game of the Week

NCAA Previews NFL Draft

The Game of the Week

Ole Miss at Alabama

Why this game? This is a matchup of two teams that could legitimately be playing for the national championship in January. Ole Miss upset Alabama last year in this game and allowed the Crimson Tide to win the SEC West by defeating Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. This is one of the nation’s oldest rivalries. The first game between the two teams was in 1894 and both schools are founding members of the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide has dominated the series historically winning 51 of the 62 meetings but Ole Miss won the last match-up last year.

Where can I see it? Saturday, September 19th at 9:15 PM ET on ESPN and Watch ESPN

When the Ole Miss has the ball –

Tempo, lots and lots of tempo. Even without potential 2016 #1 draft pick, Laremy Tunsil at LT due to an NCAA investigation that has dragged on for about the same amount of time as the War of the Roses, Ole Miss has put up 149 points in the 1st two weeks against lesser opponents UT-Martin and Fresno State. Ole Miss is led by junior college transfer, Chad Kelly. Kelly began his college career at Clemson and brings an array of talent to the table such as a strong and accurate arm. His reputation at Clemson was less than stellar as a teammate. He has been a large upgrade on Bo Wallace after two weeks. Ole Miss has an array of weapons at Kelly’s disposal. Little jitterbug back, Jaylen Walton brings speed and big plays. Kelly has size and explosiveness at WR with potential 2016 1st round draft pick LaQuan Treadwell as well as the immensely talented Damore’ea Stringfellow, a transfer from Washington. Ole Miss’s leading WR through two weeks has been Quincy Adeboyejo, a tall WR with 4 TDs already in 2015. Ole Miss also boasts Evan Engram, a TE with 60 career receptions. Alabama counters with a nation’s most physically imposing front seven led by Sunday players like Defensive Ends A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, both of whom top 300 pounds at DE. Jonathan Allen provides 270 pounds with 4.7 speed. Reggie Ragland is a force at ILB. The Tide’s impressive recruiting has also led to impressive depth. Cyrus Jones is an athletic CB Eddie Jackson has shown improvement over 2014. Ole Miss has shown an explosive offense; Alabama has shown a smothering defense against two opponents that could not press the back coverage with Ole Miss’s array of weapons. The winner of this match-up will most likely win the game.

When the Tide has the ball –

The Tide is probably as opposite to the Rebels as you can get. Tide OC, Lane Kiffin is known for getting the max from QBs such as Jonathan Crompton, Matt Barkley and Blake Sims. So far in 2015, Tide QBs have looked to be the Kryptonite to Lane Kiffin’s QB ability. Both Coker and Bateman looked very average against Middle Tennessee and Coker did not impress vs Wisconsin. One of the nation’s best offensive coaches has adjusted in 2015 by leaning on a physical offensive line led by true sophomore Cam Robinson and two very talented and different running backs: 6’3” 242 pound, blockbuster, Derrick Henry and the smaller but faster Kenyon Drake. Both backs are averaging greater than 7 yards per carry. Drake even leads the Crimson Tide in receiving yardage and is the Tides most explosive weapon in the pass game. Robert Foster adds a reliable WR and mega talented TE OJ Howard is seeing more targets than in past years. Ole Miss will counter with a fast and talented defense led by potential top 5 pick, Robert Nkemdiche at DT. Nkemdiche is a quick DT who also possesses good size. He will play high at times but he manages to impact games consistently. CJ Johnson is a fast LB with experience on the line. The move to LB is a better fit for his size and speed. Tony Conner is a Sunday player at safety and Trae Elston and Tee Shepherd bring speed and big play ability to one of the nation’s best secondaries. Alabama has a distinct size advantage on Ole Miss’s defense. Look for the Tide to attempt to pound the rock right at Ole Miss and wear the smaller Rebels down. Ole Miss’s big play secondary will look to grab some key turnovers and Coker/Bateman has shown a tendency to be generous in that department.

The Alabama Fans speak

Why is Alabama going to win?

@Alexander1Great –

I think Bama wins by *this* much. Close game. I think the difference is the defense, specifically DL/Edge. For the first time, Saban has DL/Edge with the speed/athleticism to play with the HUNH offense. They’re dynamic. So I think Bama can get to Kelly, while not compromising their ability to defend the pass. But all of that goes out the window if Bama can’t control the LOS offensively. Gotta control clock w/ Henry/Drake

@jmorrismcm –

It’s hard to say. Bama is going to need something more from Coker

The Ole Miss Fans Don’t Speak –

Unfortunately, I don’t follow any Ole Miss fans. I’ll speak for them below.

Talking a little smack

Josh Brown – (my brother in law) –

Ole Miss has a high school coach and hasn’t played a Top 25 team. Not sure if Coach Freeze has beat many top 25 teams other than that fluke win vs Alabama. Alabama has way more talent on both sides of the ball and better coaches. Alabama wins by 10.

2016 Draft Offensive Player to Watch – Kenyon Drake RB Alabama – Plenty will be written about the supersized Henry or Ole Miss’s plethora of weapons but my favorite offensive guy for the draft is Drake. He has shown no signs of the injury affecting him. First, he is a huge contributor in the passing game with a good feel for coverage and nice hands. He will put pressure on any defense that tries to cover him with a safety. And unlike most pass receiving backs he brings 6’1, 210 pound size to the table and he averages over 7 yards per carry as a runner. He doesn’t have the number of carries you’d like to see as a lead back but as a 3rd day draft pick, he will pay big dividends. See Drake naturally catch the ball below off platform and then do something with it.

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2016 Draft Defensive Player to Watch –Reggie Ragland LB Alabama: 2016 is a banner year for ILBs with Jaylon Smith, Myles Jack and Scooby Wright bringing athletic ability and production to the position. Ragland is a giant sized inside LB at 252 with impressive 4.66 speed. He’s a physical, inside LB who impacts both the run and pass game.

Who wins?

Ole Miss wins this game and it’ll be fairly easily. The Rebels force Alabama into a game of come fly with me that the Tide are ill equipped to win. The game serves as Kelly’s coming out party as Ole Miss wins 38-21.

NostraMorton’s Top 12 (Week 3)


  • Ohio State
  • Alabama
  • Baylor
  • Clemson
  • TCU
  • LSU
  • UCLA
  • Michigan State
  • USC
  • Notre Dame
  • Florida State
  • Ole Miss

NostraMorton takes the loss of his beloved Vols on the chin and they exit the top 12 much as Baker Mayfield exited the grasp of many a Vol defender. Auburn in a rough Saturday for the SEC also is given its walking papers from the top 12 after nearly falling to Jacksonville State. Notre Dame sadly falls until NostraMorton gets more looks at DeShone Kizer after the Irish lost Malik Zaire for the season. Oregon also is gone after Sparty treated them rudely in week 2. LSU moves up after an impressive victory over Ole Miss. UCLA replaces Oregon on the strength of a plethora of talent and one of the nation’s best players in the Chosen Rosen.  Sparty hops in after an impressive victory and Ole Miss moves in after rolling up 149 points in weeks one and two.

NostraMorton Heisman Watch



  1. Leonard Fournette
  2. Zeke Elliott
  3. Josh Rosen
  4. Joey Bosa

NostraMorton’s crystal ball for the Heisman took as big a hit as his top 12. Top three from last week either didn’t play well (looking at you Deshaun Watson and Cardale Jones) or got hurt for the season: Malik Zaire. NostraMorton rides Watson one more week. If his play continues, true freshman Josh Rosen will be hard to ignore.

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