BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
For the first time ever after ranking teams for 78 years, the Associated Press college football poll has Mississippi State perched atop the standings at number one.
The 6 and 0 Bulldogs are worthy of the lofty ranking following impressive victories. At the time Mississippi State rocked 8th ranked LSU, the Bulldogs followed that up by shocking 6th ranked Texas A&M. On Saturday before a standing room only crowd at Davis Wade Stadium, coach Dan Mullen's hungry Bulldogs dominated 2nd ranked Auburn.
No one should argue Mississippi State's No. 1 ranking.
Well...maybe some Ole Miss faithful might argue that their undefeated 6 and 0 Rebels should share that lofty ranking. Coach Hugh Freeze has built a solid foundation in Oxford in this his 3rd season.
His 3rd ranked Rebels upset No. 2 Alabama in Oxford last weekend and followed that up with an eye-opening dominating win over No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday before a record setting crowd of 110-thousand-plus fans in College Station.
Thanks to that Landsharks defensive unit, the Rebels chewed up the Aggies offensive attack, leaving the state of Texas with a marquee victory that is giving those folks on the Final Four Playoff selection committee plenty of ammunition to extend an invite to Ole Miss.
Coach Freeze said,"To go in there and set the tone early, to play a sound game, win the turnover battle, rush the football early on, I think was vital for us. I thought we played well enough offensively to manage the game and let our defense win it."
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace led the Rebels with 50 yards rushing on 14 carries and scored two first quarterback touchdowns giving the Rebels the momentum and kept the 110-thousand Aggie fans quiet. Freeze has plenty of confidence in Wallace.
"Probably I've called better plays for him, "stated Freeze. " He probably would have made the same play in the first half if I was smart enough to get it called. Sometimes it takes us a little longer. My mind can only remember so far back. I'm thinking the last two games, we didn't call some of that stuff against Alabama in the first half. We were trying to manage the game. One thing he's done for us, when our defense is playing well, we're really trying to manage the game. His numbers the other night could have been a lot better because we had some things in the passing game. In that environment, when you're playing in front of 110,000 that are itching to be a factor in the game, the last thing I want to do is give them anything to be excited about."
There is a picture circulating on the internet showing sophomore defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche with a bong.
Freeze said,"I'm very aware of the picture. I'm also aware of when it was taken and where it was taken. We test our entire team on our drug testing policing at the beginning of the season. Then we have our other follow-up tests throughout the course of the year. I'm super confident that we handle each one the same. We enforce our policy very consistently. There's not one time that I do not always bring in our athletic director and talk about and make sure we're being very consistent in that. Our kids make social decisions all the time, just like my kids do, and I've made mistakes. We are going to help them navigate life, but we're going to hold them accountable for actions that are not what we want representing our university, or program or themselves. I'm very confident that we deal with all of them in the same manner. We will continue to do that."
There are many more games to come before we get to that point of selecting the Final Four playoff teams, but from what I've seen thus far, No. 1 ranked Mississippi State and No. 3 ranked Ole Miss are steam rolling over the competition and heading for a helmet-to-helmet battle on November 29th in Oxford for the annual Egg Bowl showdown.