Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 1/2/13
This is a game of should haves. Pittsburgh should have upset Notre Dame, missing a short field goal that would have likely knocked the Irish out of the BCS Championship Game. The Old Miss Rebels should have upset LSU, Hugh Freezes squad falling late to the Tigers in the game where Les Miles gave his now famous big kiss on the mouth, only if youre a girl postgame speech. It is also a test to see just how good the down-roster SEC teams match up against other conferences in the post season. Pittsburgh had big wins over Virginia Tech, Rutgers and USF, but lost to Connecticut and Youngstown State. Ole Miss beat Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas, should have beaten LSU and Vanderbilt and could have beaten Texas A&M. But should haves and could haves dont count. This is a chance for the Rebels to prove they are on the road back to relevance. Key Matchup Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri has the nations longest streak without an interception, having thrown 270 consecutive passes without giving one up. And these werent dump screens. Sunseri has thrown for over 3,000 yards while senior running back Ray Graham has rushed for 1,042. On the Ole Miss offensive side, you have quarterback Bo Wallace, who has thrown for 2,843 yards and 15 touchdowns and running back Jeff Scott, who finished the season with 828 yards. This is as even a non-BCS bowl as you are likely see with two 6-6 teams playing for first-year coaches and trying to finish with a winning record. Player to Watch Ole Miss defensive end C.J. Johnson played through a number of maladies during the season, but the post Egg Bowl layoff should give him time to heal. The same is true for linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, who has recovered from a hand injury that plagued him during the win over Mississippi State. Both those defenders will need to be at their best to pressure Sunseri and slow down Graham. Telling Stat 15 Bo Wallace interceptions this year. If the Rebels are to pull out of victory, they need their quarterback to throw to his guys, not the opposition. Final Analysis The Rebels should have beaten Vanderbilt and LSU. The fact that they won against their in-state rival, Mississippi State, a team once ranked in the top-15 in the country, to get bowl eligible speaks to the tenacity head coach Hugh Freeze has brought to his program. Given the trajectories of both teams, expect this one to be close and fun. The Pick: Ole Miss 21-20
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