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How Do the Schedule Changes Affect the Ole Miss Rebels?

The SEC leadership has finally made their decision. The conference will shift to a ten game, all conference schedule. The change could be good or bad for the Ole Miss Rebels.

The Rebs aren’t really supposed to be competitive this season. It’s the first year of Lane Kiffin’s tenure. Even though he has been successful in his first season with a new program throughout his career, there shouldn’t be expectations on this Rebels team.

The defense struggled the last few seasons under a few different coordinators. Even though the defense played well under Mike MacIntyre, the squad is losing some talent this offseason and will have to learn a new scheme under new coordinators D.J. Durkin and Chris Partridge.

The offense will be led by a young, relatively untested quarterback, no matter who gets the nod. John Rhys Plumlee played the majority of last season, but needs to continue refining his passing game. Matt Corral, the other presumed starter candidate, missed much of last season with an injury.

If the Rebels aren’t supposed to be that great, how could this season end up either good or bad? Let’s take a look.

How the Shortened Season could be a Good Thing:

Firstly, the team could be good. Even though it is the first year, there would be no problem whatsoever if the team is good. Through his career, Kiffin has produced winners in his first year.

In his first (and only) season with Tennessee, the Vols had an overall winning record, going 7-6, but 4-4 in conference. His first year in California with USC was better, as he led the Trojans to an 8-5 season. Most recently, and best, his first season with Florida Atlantic was exceptional. The Owls went 11-3 and 8-0 in conference.

If the team isn’t good this year, there is still something looking up. A full slate of SEC games will give the young players on the roster a good look at their yearly opponents. And in a more reserved environment than a full SEC stadium, at that.

How the Shortened Season could be a Bad Thing:

For one thing, the season could be totally cancelled or players could get sick. Those would be worst case scenario. However, there could be other downsides.

The Rebels need their out of conference games. This is a young team that needs as much experience as it can get. Even though some of their out of conference schedule are considered cupcakes, sometimes those games are appreciated.

A cupcake game going into a big game can be a great way to tune up some players that may be coming off of injury reserve or a few weeks of poor play.

On the other hand, winning in general is good for confidence. These cupcake games are usually just considered free wins, but a young team can take more from it. One facet of the game that’s giving them trouble can be good or a struggling player can have a standout performance. That value shouldn’t be understated.

Realistically, if football is played, this will be a memorable season for reasons other than the schedule. These are unprecedented times, and the plan for things ahead is constantly changing. So, for those of us on the couch watching, let’s just sit back, relax, and don’t take things too seriously.

Follow me on Twitter @kinggeorge94 for more Ole Miss Football news and notes and follow @OT_Heroics for any and all things sports!

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George Ruggiero
Just an aspiring sports journalist from down south. Hotty Toddy!
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