This week in the JFP we went streaking (figuratively not literally, no one wants to see that) in the look back portion of our weekly look at college football in Mississippi. Looking forward this is an interesting week.
Normally our big winner is, well, a team that won. This week our big winner is Ole Miss. Yes, they got crushed by Alabama but the Rebels were the first team I have seen that punched the Crimson Tide in the mouth this season.
Does that mean Hugh Freeze has turned things completely around in Oxford. The short answer is no but it give hope for a bowl game this season if Ole Miss plays their remaining schedule like they did against Alabama.
Only time will tell if their game against the Tide was just getting up to play for the top team in the nation or a weekly occurrence. Now, time for our weekly look forward.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State took last week off to prepare for a trip to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats. In their last two outings the Bulldogs have looked sluggish on offense and defense at times but it hasn't cost them a game yet.
I have seen Kentucky play several times this year already and the Wildcats are not a deeply talented team but they play hard each weekend. Kentucky put a first half scare into South Carolina last week leading 17-7 at halftime.
If MSU sleepwalks through this game, they could see their undefeated season go down in flames. Kentucky has not rolled over for anyone this season and I figure the Bulldogs won't scare the Wildcats heading into Saturday's game.
Mississippi State needs to come out looking sharp on offense and defense against an undermanned Kentucky team. MSU is the better team but I will be worried if they let a weaker team stay in their home stadium keep this game close heading to the final quarter.
Kentucky will be alternating two freshmen quarterbacks in this game with their starter injured. That means the Bulldogs defense should be ready for a steady dose of the running game.
I doubt Kentucky will put the ball in the air a bunch against MSU's ball hawking secondary. Mississippi State will have the potential to make big plays on defense, every time the Wildcats put the ball into the air.
This should be an easy win for Mississippi State but only if they wake up from the late September nap. Kentucky isn't good but they fight until the clock reads triple zero.
MSU 34 Kentucky 14
Ole Miss Rebels
The Rebels had little chance against an Alabama team that is far more talented than they are but Ole Miss did show a ton of fight against the Crimson Tide. This week, Texas A&M comes to Oxford as a fellow conference member.
This game will be another tough test for Ole Miss. The Aggies could easily be undefeated if not for a huge second half comeback by the Florida Gators.
Florida held Texas A&M scoreless in the second half after the Aggies offense rolled the Gators defense for most of the first half. Texas A&M won their first SEC game last week against an Arkansas team that seems to have given up (see Ole Miss at the end of last season for an example).
Ole Miss on defense must stop Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to stop the Aggies offense. In their one lone loss of the season, Manziel was stellar against Florida in the first half but frustrated in the second half.
The Rebels must keep Manziel in the pocket and not allow him to scramble or run wild on them. Keeping Manziel contained will be the most important thing Ole Miss will do on Saturday.
Ole Miss offense will face a good Texas A&M defense but the Rebels should not fear any defense after moving the ball against the vaunted Alabama defense last Saturday. Against the Aggies, the Rebels should just run their offense.
The biggest way for the Aggies defense to be effective would be to force turnovers out of the Ole Miss offense. Ball security should be the Rebels number one job on offense.
This should be a close game heading into the four quarter. Don't be surprised if this game is close in the closing minutes as well.
Texas A&M 28 Ole Miss 21
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
This is quickly becoming a season to forget for Southern Miss. Everything seemed to go in their favor last week with the rain falling against Louisville and the Golden Eagles still couldn't hold on to pull out their first win of 2012.
Southern Miss is going through a season that fans haven't even thought of in the last 18 years. If things don't turnaround soon, there could be major changes in the coaching staff after the season.
Boise State has a strong defense but the Broncos normally high scoring offense has been woeful this season. Against Michigan State and BYU, Boise State failed to score an offensive touchdown.
USM will have a chance in this game as long as the Broncos offense doesn't catch fire on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are using a built in advantage this week, playing the game at 11am central time.
There is little chance Southern Miss can win this game even with the early start time. Boise State is a better team than USM right now and uncertainty at quarterback, doesn't help either.
Boise State 24 USM 10
Jackson State Tigers
The Tigers took care of business last week against winless Prairie View A&M. This week, Jackson State hits the road to face Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
This is an important game for Jackson State. The Tigers are in third place in the East Division behind Alabama State (3-1) and Alabama A&M (4-0).
At 2-1 in the SWAC play, JSU can't afford to fall behind by another game. If the Tigers lose this game the East division in the conference might become a two horse race just a week into October.
JSU 24 APBU 17
Alcorn State Braves
Alcorn State hasn't won a game this season since shocking Grambling State in the very first game of the year. The Braves get a chance to get win number two this week against Southern.
ASU should be in this game until the end. Alcorn State might be out of the division race at 1-2 but a win this weekend at home could put them back in the mix if the other teams ahead of them start to stumble.
ASU 17 Southern 10
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
Mississippi Valley couldn’t start a winning streak last week against Northwestern State after beating Southern University before their bye week. The Delta Devils face an uphill climb at home this week against Alabama A&M.
MVSU faces what could be the best team in the SWAC this year. The Delta Devils fight hard each week but that doesn't always show up on the scoreboard.
Alabama A&M 27 MVSU 14
Delta State Statesmen
Delta State has been up and down this season and has lost both games at home so far. The Statesmen might have more talent then their record would indicate.
DSU has played nearly ever game close and will eventually get back to winning. The Okra faces Tarleton State University this week on the road, where Delta State's lone win has come this season.
The Texans are undefeated at home at 2-0 but haven't won on the road. A strong home team like Tarleton State could extend the Statesmen losing streak to three games.
Tartlton State 34 DSU 24
After three straight weeks on the road, the Majors return home to face Huntingdon this Saturday. Millsaps is the best small college team in the state without question.
The Majors have a stout defense that feeds their offense good field position with quick stops and turnovers. Until Millsaps loses, I am going to pick the Majors to win each week.
Millsaps 31 Huntingdon 17
It was a slow start to the season for Belhaven but the Blazers are on a roll after winning two straight games. The Blazers come home this week after a big road victory to face Kentucky Christian University.
Belhaven isn't just winning games the last two weeks, they are destroying the opposition. KCU is on a three game losing streak and just lost to a team that the Blazers defeated 70-28.
Belhaven 42 KCU 21
Mississippi College Choctaws
This season has been rough for Mississippi College with a 1-3 record. Last week the Choctaws were run out the stadium by Hardin-Simmons.
Mississippi College has a chance to turn things around this week at home. The Choctaws host Sul Ross on Saturday and the Lobos are also 1-3 on the season.
MC 17 Sul Ross 14
Holmes Community College Bulldogs
Holmes extended their winning streak to three straight games with a win over Mississippi Delta. The Bulldogs face East Mississippi this week.
HCC 24 East Mississippi 21
Hinds Community College Eagles
Hinds' losing streak reached three straight after a loss to East Central. The Eagles play Southwest this week.
Southwest 21 HCC 17
Last week's picks (6-4) Season total (32-19)