LSU vs. Ole Miss: Top Prospects, Storylines, Odds for B/R's Game of the Week
In a relatively tight race, the B/R Game of the Week features the LSU Tigers and 12th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels.
LSU's trip to Oxford garnered 33.5 percent of your 5,796 votes, defeating a couple of rivalry games and a critical Pac-12 matchup. The other choices in Week 8 were USC at No. 13 Notre Dame (23.6 percent), No. 10 Oregon at UCLA (23.4) and Tennessee at No. 4 Alabama (19.5).
And this SEC contest is loaded with intrigue.
Though the Rebels improved to 5-1 last time out, they are dealing with major injury concerns. LSU, meanwhile, upset Florida—then reached a "separation agreement" with head coach Ed Orgeron, yet he will be roaming the sidelines Saturday.
Rest assured, those storylines will be covered in our community-chosen preview for B/R's Game of the Week.
Top NFL Draft Prospects
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
One of the more discouraging pieces of Orgeron's tenure is LSU's lack of top-rated NFL prospects just two seasons removed from winning the national title. Derek Stingley Jr. is basically the only one, and the 2019 first-team AP All-America choice is likely to miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.
LSU's potential draft-worthy candidates include, among others, offensive guard Ed Ingram, edge-rusher Ali Gaye, linebacker Mike Jones Jr. and nickelback Cordale Flott.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Whether he plays Saturday is unknown—more on that shortly—but Matt Corral has engineered a breakout year. Through six games, he ranks seventh nationally at 9.4 yards per pass attempt and has posted 1,728 yards with 14 touchdowns to just one interception. He's also scampered for 450 yards and eight scores.
Jerrion Ealy, RB, Ole Miss
After two straight 700-yard seasons, Jerrion Ealy hasn't quite lived up to expectations. He's managed 223 rushing yards and caught 10 passes for 90 yards. Still, Ealy's versatility and relatively light college workload will intrigue NFL teams.
Coach O Is Gone, but He's Here, so Now What?
LSU separating with, not firing, Ed Orgeron is a technicality worth exploring later. But we're not diving into that today.
Strictly on the field, this is a strange situation. Saturday marks the first of five—or, depending on how Orgeron and the administration handle bowl season, six—games in which he's overseeing the Tigers while moving closer to his exit.
College football is already hard enough to predict. Throw in the uncertainty of each player's response to the news, and expectations for LSU in Week 8 are probably all over the board.
That's on top of the roster's existing inconsistencies.
To begin October, LSU mustered 33 rushing yards in a 24-19 loss to Auburn. Then the Tigers surrendered 330 yards on the ground to Kentucky in a dreadful 42-21 result. And with Orgeron's hot seat sizzling, LSU shredded Florida for 321 rushing yards and held the Gators to just 3.9 yards per carry.
If you're confident in how LSU will perform, good for you. Because the Tigers are like a Build Your Own Adventure book, and Orgeron's delayed dismissal only adds to the guesswork.
Matt Corral Might Not Play—Unless He Does
Very informative headline, right? Based on what Lane Kiffin has shared, though, it's the present view of the situation.
In his Monday presser, Ole Miss' second-year coach expressed concern about Matt Corral's availability. He logged 30 carries in the victory at Tennessee, and the workload took a heavy physical toll.
"He's not in very good shape," Kiffin said of Corral, according to Nick Suss of the Clarion-Ledger. "He hasn't been for the last two days. You guys know how we are on injuries. Hopefully he will play, but I don't feel good about that right now."
Kiffin provided even less information Wednesday.
"Yeah, I've never spoke in detail about injuries," he said, per David Johnson of 247Sports. "So I'm not going to start now, because what I always say is that I hope everyone plays. But, that's hope."
LSU is undoubtedly preparing as if Corral will play. Plus, since betting odds haven't gone off the board—and, more notably, DraftKings continues to favor Ole Miss by 7.5 points—it suggests Vegas knows something too.
But if he's limited or unavailable, the Rebels will likely be leaning on an inexperienced quarterback for a key game. Luke Altmyer, the expected understudy, has only attempted four passes in his college career.
Game Information and Odds
When: Saturday, Oct. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi
Stream: CBS Sports
Spread (via DraftKings): Ole Miss -9
Moneyline: Ole Miss -365 (bet $365 to win $100); LSU +280 (bet $100 to win $280)
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