Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 7/5/12

The Ole Miss Rebels haven’t won the SEC since 1963. 1963! And they haven’t been to a bowl since 2009. Yet I think they’ll be better this season for some reason. Or at least serviceable. Somewhat competitive.

One thing’s for sure- they’ll end that 15 game losing streak to SEC opponents.

2011 was: a decent start, but HORRID finish. After a 2-3 start, they dropped their last seven to finish 2-10. How much difference will a new coaching staff make?

2012 will go smoothly if:  that supposed SEC speed comes through. The Rebels have playmakers everywhere, but little depth. A lot of youth got experience last year and that has to count for something, right? I believe they’re better than Kentucky, but there’s still a massive gap between those two teams and the rest of the league.

2012 will be rough if: they don’t solve their passing game and rush defense issues from last year. Both numbers were bad. Oh their running game was bad too. Just look at what LSU, Alabama and Auburn did to them. Still I believe in Hugh Freeze to make this team surprisingly better than you might expect. Or at least not as utterly putrid as they were last year.

 BMOC: RB Jeff Scott, WR Donte Moncrief, OG Aaron Morris, DE C.J. Johnson

All-name team: S Chief Brown, WLB Serderius Bryant, CB Dehendret Collins, WR Ja-Mes Logan, RB I’Tavius Mathers

Bottom Line: There are some questions on both sides of the ball, so reaching a bowl could happen, but very much far from certain. Especially with this SEC schedule, they’ll need to hit the proverbial ground running. But at least they seem to be moving in the right direction and look like a 5-7 squad.

Rankings Athlon- 71 Lindy’s- 60 Phil Steele- 69

All the 77s

#59 Purdue

#60 Iowa St

#61 Kentucky

#62 Arizona State

#63 Boston College

#64 Ohio

#65 Marshall

#66 Arizona

#67 Southern Miss

#68 Tulsa

#69 Oregon State

#70 Houston

#71 Syracuse

#72 Colorado

#73 Kansas

#74 Maryland

#75 Duke

#76 Minnesota

#77 Indiana

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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