As we get closer to the most wonderful time of the year, the start of the college football season, it's time to start predicting how the season will shape up. I'll begin with the Week 1 match-up between Ole Miss and BYU, and most notably the quarterbacking situation for the Runnin' Rebels.
Randell Mackey, the red-shirt junior and former junior college standout, was arrested for disorderly conduct after a fight at a downtown Oxford bar. Tuesday evening, coach Houston Nutt announced the suspension of Mackey, who held the edge at the starting quarterback spot this spring.
Nutt said that Barry Brunetti will start for the Rebs in the season opener against BYU, but does that mean that Zack Stoudt may take over at some point?
Brunetti has impressed me a lot. He has shown that he can pass very well, and when he has to he can also run it. But Stoudt is also a very good passer and has a good chance to take over. If Brunetti wants to start the rest of the season than he needs to perform well. If he doesn't, then I expect Stoudt to come in after half time.
The passing game will have to stand out this week. Brunetti has some talented wide receivers, so the Rebs should be okay in that aspect. There could be some shared snaps between Stoudt and Brunetti, like last years season opener with Masoli and Stanley. But Brunetti should take the snap most of the time. Brunetti needs a solid 250-300 passing yards in this game. Hopefully no interceptions, but I expect at least one from Brunetti.
I expect The Rebs to be on top with their rushing game. Brandon Bolden will shine. He has the power and speed to get around BYU's defense. I expect Bolden to have a 200-yard game with 2 touchdowns.
Jeff Scott is a fast back. I expect him to come in on sweep plays. When he does the sweep plays, you might as well turn your attention to the end zone. He is too fast for BYU's defense and will make big plays when you least expect it.
Ole Miss will miss injured linebacker D.T. Shackleford, but don't give up yet. Kentrell Lockett is returning. Lockett injured his leg in last year's Fresno State game, but he gets another year of eligibility. Damien Jackson also returns and is one of the Rebs' best defenders. They also have highly-touted linebacker C.J. Johnson. This guy is ready to perform and perform well. I believe the defense is ready to shine this season.
I expect Ole Miss to get on top at first and then for BYU to come back with some scores to bring it closer. My gameday prediction is Ole Miss 48, BYU 31. As always, Hotty Toddy!