While it is a Roll Tide world we seem to live in, these schools are trying to start a revolution and overthrow the king. After big wins on signing day, they each have a burden on their shoulders to triumph.
After a catastrophic 2-10 finish in 2011 for Mississipi, the Rebels finished well this past year with a 7-6 record and a win in the BBVA Compass Bowl. However, they did not fair well in the SEC, logging a 3-5 record in the conference.
Ole Miss fought off LSU and Florida to sign the No. 1 overall recruit in the ESPN 150, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. Along with Nkemdiche, Ole Miss acquired other top-five players, only the fourth school to ever do that in the same season.
No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, No. 1 receiver Laquon Treadwell, ESPN 150 offensive lineman Austin Golson and ESPN 150 safety Antonio Conner will join Nkemdiche to try and make their marks in the SEC.
All eyes will be on the Rebels to see if they can prove that they drafted their best recruiting class yet. With all that talent, there is a lot of pressure on the southern school to see if they can rise to the occasion and hang with the big dogs in the SEC.
On November 12, 2012, SportsCenter tweeted, “#DidYouKnow: USC’s 5 losses are the most for a preseason AP No. 1 college football team since Ole Miss is 1964.” One of the biggest contributing factors to that blunder was the Trojans' defense, which ranked 63rd in total defense, 68th against the pass and 58th against the run.
Along with the loss of Monte Kiffin, three of the four starters from the secondary will not be returning. USC compensated for the loss and signed No. 11 cornerback Chris Hawkins to go along with Su’A Cravens and Leon McQuay III, two of the top-three safeties in the nation.
While the offense received some needed tender love and care, the pressure is on the defense to step up and make sure moments like an embarrassing 62-51 defeat do not happen again.
FSU dominated the 1990s in college football. Now, the Seminoles are looking to revive themselves. FSU made a big statement in the ACC this year, winning their first ACC title since 2005 and first BCS bowl game since the 2000 Sugar Bowl. If the Seminoles want to continue to represent the ACC and chase a national title, they will need their four ESPN 300 recruits (three from the top 150) to rise to the occasion.
The Noles lost three linemen from 2012 and seem to be in rebuilding mode. Bjoern Werner, Brandon Jenkins and Cornelius Carradine have all packed their bags for the NFL draft.
Matthew Thomas, the nation’s No. 1 OLB, was FSU’s biggest catch of the day. Joining Thomas will be No. 4 cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive tackle Keith Bryant and linebacker E.J. Levenberry. In addition, four-star prospect DeMarcus Walker will be joining the rookies after switching to Florida State from Alabama.
With QB E.J. Manuel gone and changes being made to the offense, it is imperative that this defense rise to the occasion.