Posted: Tuesday, November 4th 2003 at 1:50am
Auburns next foe for most overlooked team in SEC
By The Associated Press
Ole Miss has quietly gone about the business of winning, almost overlooked in the college football world.
Theyre overlooked no more.
Ranked No. 20 in the nation, the Rebels are the only Southeastern Conference team with a perfect record in conference competition as they attempt to capture the Western Division championship for the first time.
The Rebels are the only team that hasnt claimed a West crown since the SEC went to division play 11 years ago.
The Rebels have reeled off five victories in a row since losing at home to Texas Tech. The only other setback came earlier when they blew a lead at Memphis. Ole Miss began to raise eyebrows when it won at Florida.
Next up is the team many picked to win the West and as a possible for the national championship _ Auburn.
This still could turn out to be the year of the Tiger in the West, with two sets nipping at the Rebels heels. Like Auburns Tigers, the LSU Tigers each have one conference loss.
Auburns success has come mostly on the ground. Ole Miss has had a potent offense behind the passing of Eli Manning and an overachieving running game.
We threw the ball pretty well downfield, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said after last weeks 73-7 rout of outmanned Louisiana-Monroe. But were going to have to do better. We play a team that were going to have to score a lot of points on. Theyre scoring a lot of points, and were going to have to keep up.
Tuberville says the Rebels are probably the most improved over the last five weeks.
Eli is probably the best quarterback in the country, he said. Our weakness has been pass defense, so well see what happens.
Auburn leads the series 20-7 and the Tigers are favored to by 7 1/2 points to win again at home. Dont count on it. The Rebels are on a roll. Ole Miss 31-28.
Elsewhere around the SEC this week, with No. 9 Georgia, Kentucky and No. 4 LSU having open dates:
Alabama (minus 10) at Mississippi State: This will be Jackie Sherrills last shot at his alma mater and the next-to-last home game of his Mississippi State coaching career. The Tide has dominated the series 69-15-3, and even though this isnt a good Alabama team, it will prevail against the Bulldogs. Alabama 31-24.
South Carolina (plus 7 1/2) vs. Arkansas at Little Rock: The Hogs are playing a Thursday night game on the heels of a seven-overtime game with Kentucky last Saturday. Arkansas 20-14.
Vanderbilt (plus 24 1/2) at No. 17 Florida: The Gators impress Vandy coach Bobby Johnson. Theyre huge, and theyre fast, and theyre very skilled. Theyre utilizing all that skill and speed and size. When youve got those kind of weapons, you can play. All it means is Vandy loses its 23rd consecutive SEC game. Florida 31-10.
No. 18 Tennessee (plus 12) at No. 6 Miami: The way Miami has flexed its football muscle in recent years, its never a good time to face the Hurricanes. This time will be especially difficult, with Miami coming off an upset loss at Virginia Tech. Miami 35-17.
Last weeks totals: 5-1 straight, 4-1 vs. spread; for year: 57-17 straight, 37-27 vs. spread.
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