OXFORD — The usual suspects top the rankings. You know the names, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson are number one through four with Texas A&M coming in at number five.
Overall, the SEC teams rank the above schools here: Tennessee is 18th, Kentucky is 21st, and Arkansas, which is 22nd, makes up the SEC portion of the rankings.
No Ole Miss? Well here are Athlon Sports Top 25 and explanations for each leaderboard, with the following representing Ole Miss and exactly what was said about the rebels:
“How will all the new faces fit in at Oxford? The Rebels should be getting better every week but it will be difficult to match last year’s 10 wins.”
Ole Miss was in “The Next Tier” category, as Athlon puts it. Industrial fair? Possibly. Not exactly the deepest analysis is shown, but that’s just the actual rankings with a brief commentary afterwards. Perhaps the bigger question is where the Rebels come in in terms of SEC teams, does Athlon rank ahead of them?
Placing Bama in 1st place and UGA in 3rd place is of course hard to dispute. Texas A&M, well this team has talent but still has a lot to prove. #5? At least controversial. Ole Miss beat the A&M 29-19 at Oxford last season, and it’s not like the Aggies know exactly what’s about to happen at quarterback (again).
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Seeing Tennessee in 18th place isn’t difficult to handle, especially with savvy signal-caller Hendon Hooker and his 31-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio returning to Knoxville. Are the rebels on par with the Vols? Possibly. It’s rightfully dark here.
Ole Miss is certainly busy trying to be on par with Tennessee, Lane Kiffin’s old haunt, and that may be even more true of the next SEC school in question.
The Kentucky players are training well, making plays and making progress, but do they really have more talent in Lexington than the Rebels in Oxford? Maybe it’s just a bias for the Rebels, but that’s where Ole Miss should be placed – in the low 20s – and ahead of Kentucky.
Ironically, Arkansas isn’t ahead of Kentucky either. Even if quarterback KJ Jefferson’s talents reside in Fayetteville for at least another season. Perhaps a good old-fashioned throw between the three SEC opponents is the best way to describe it? Anyone from Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss could easily end the 2022 college football season near the 20 mark.
In any case, Athlon doesn’t think Ole Miss deserves to be in his first College Football Top 25 ranking of 2022. The Rebels can begin to prove the longtime college football publication wrong when they open the 2022 college football season at home against Troy on Sept. 3 in Oxford.
Ole Miss is also trying to prove herself against other SEC rankers ahead of them, hosting Kentucky (October 1), traveling to College Station to play the Aggies (October 29), hosting Alabama (November 12) and then heads to Arkansas (Nov. 19) to end his attempts to play against and knock out other SEC teams, Athlon has moved up in his early rankings.
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