Alabama vs. Ole Miss Is A College Football Soap Opera | Can Lane Kiffin Blemish Saban’s 23-0 Record Against Former Assistants?

This weekend’s showcase College Football game features No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide versus No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels and has a lot of different plots and subplots.

Closing The Gap 

The growing consensus among college football experts is that the Rebels could hand Nick Saban and Alabama their first loss of the season. There’s going to be plenty of game-breaking plays, pads popping and passionate verbal exchanges between the two teams. The game within the game will be even more intriguing.

Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is on the other sideline. He gave Saban his props when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday.

“He’s undefeated versus almost everybody,” Kiffin said. “There’s a reason he’s the best in the history of college football. Even when people know how his place works, he’s still undefeated, which is amazing.”

The respect is there for his former teacher. However, Kiffin also firmly believes his team can pull the huge upset.

Building A Juggernaut 

Kiffin gets much of the credit for Alabama’s offensive success. Before he arrived Alabama — like most SEC offenses — ran a conventional package based on the run game and limited creativity.

In Kiffin’s three Crimson Tide seasons, Alabama football won a national championship and three SEC Championships and became leading innovators of the college football’s evolving passing culture. Finally we have the two Heisman front-runners in Bryce Young and Matt Corral set to face-off in Tuscaloosa.

Could Lane Kiffin Be The First Former Assistant To Beat Saban?

Nick Saban is the unquestioned “GOAT” of college football, having won seven national championships, with six coming in Tuscaloosa. Saban is 23-0 versus former assistants, and not many have come close to beating him since they left “The Capstone,” aka Tuscaloosa.

But this week’s opponent, Kiffin who’s credited with changing the offensive culture at BAMA in 2014 as the offensive coordinator when he installed the more modern, spread, pistol and run-pass-option offense, just may be up-to the task.

In last year’s Alabama 63-48 win in Oxford, Kiffin and his offense lit up the Alabama defense for 647 yards, and if not for having to settle for field goals twice after halftime they might have pulled the upset.

With 19 of 22 starters returning for the Rebels, this could be as good a shot as any of Saban’s former pupils will get at beating him. Georgia’s Kirby Smart came close, but the Bulldogs suffered two epic collapses against Saban in the 2018 CFP national title game and then again 11 months later in the SEC title game.

Ole Miss hasn’t beaten Alabama since back-to-back wins over Saban and the Crimson Tide in 2014 and 2015, when Kiffin was ‘Bama’s offensive coordinator. Now he has the chance to do something that hasn’t been done in the previous 23 attempts, knock off the mentor “Saint Nick.”

The Rebels’ Offense Could Present Major Problems For ’Bama Defense:

Back in 2014 and 2015 when Ole Miss upset Alabama, Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze used an up-tempo offense to keep the Crimson Tide defense off kilter.

In fact, in 2016 they led 24-3 before a huge comeback by Kiffin and the Alabama offense led to a 48-43 win. Ole Miss almost became the only team in the SEC to beat Saban three consecutive times.

Kiffin will attack this defense in the same manner and look to catch them out of position as many times as he can. With a confident quarterback in Matt Corral leading the way, the Rebels have no fear that they can win in front of 100,000 screaming Crimson Tide fans on the road in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Bryce Young vs Matt Corral Heisman Moment

When the 2021 college football season began Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was the Heisman favorite, but he’s done nothing to solidify the hype.

’Bama QB Bryce Young and Corral have emerged as the Heisman front-runners, and no one could’ve expected both to get off to such blistering starts.

Young, a sophomore, has led Alabama with the poise of an upperclassman. He’s coming off a five-touchdown pass performance against Southern Miss.

Corral, a redshirt junior, has been magnificent and seems to have gotten his turnover woes from a season ago under control.

Last season, Kiffin let the talented Ventura, California. (Long Beach Poly HS) product play loose — at times too loose. The dynamic player threw a combined 11 interceptions in losses to LSU and Arkansas.

With Kiffin calling plays and plenty of weaponry to go around, Corral is capable of a huge day against the bullies from Tuscaloosa. The stage is set, now all we have to do is wait until Saturday at 3:30 Eastern Time on CBS to see how these plots and subplots turn out.