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Ole Miss vs BYU: what the pundits and fans are saying

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 31 2011 2:57 p.m. MDT

We've scoured the internet, radio and TV waves to learn of what fans and pundits alike expect to happen come Saturday. The sentiment regarding both team's chances differ by region as is often the case.

Optimisim reigns with BYU fans. Despite the Cougars traveling into SEC country with some brutal heat awaiting them, most fans fully expect a victory against University of Mississippi.

Cougarboard, the largest BYU fan site, had 431 fans make predictions as of Wednesday afternoon.

The final score according to the consensus of cougarboard predictors? 29.62 to 17.29 in BYU's favor. The 12+ point spread assigned by those 431 fans is far greater than the 3.5 point spread assigned by the Vegas sportsbooks.

"I think the team is on the verge of greatness this year, and the offense looks poised to do amazing things, beginning with Ole Miss," said Cougarboard poster WhiteKinght. "Based on Bronco's comments about the Linebacking Corps, I expect our defense to do a great job of keeping the Ole Miss running game in check, and our new secondary should be more than adequate in keeping their quarterback under control. Jake, J.J. and company will take care of the rest, leading this team to its first victory in the independent era."

Other Cougar fans have been much less optimistic.

"Ole Miss is an SEC team with SEC(ish) talent and speed," said poster Lawyer. "To say that we're going in there and steamrolling them is way too blue-goggled, IMO. Everyone around here says BYU is much improved going into next season and all of the opponents are worse or the same going into next year. Truth is, BYU's 'big wins' were against Washington and SDSU."

In Ole Miss country, they tend to side with Lawyer's toughts, although some went to a bit of the extreme.

On RebelFaithful.com, AtlantaRebels chimed in with this thought, "If we lose to BYU, I will be ashamed and utterly disgusted... I have seen some bad loses in my day... Jac state and Miss State every sorry season they've played since 1997 or whatever it was when Fred Smoot was there.... Anyway... I beg the football gods, please don't embarrass me on this one..."

Jeff967 on the same site urged some caution to fans making such statements, "I would rather have a rematch with Jacksonville State than open with BYU. Them boys ain't missed no cornbread. And Chuck, daddy did not raise no bear."

Yeah, what he said.

So what about the pundits?

Remember Mike Belotti who coached Oregon in its 38-8 loss to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl back in 2006? He stubbornly reaffirmed his assessment that BYU could not compete in a BCS conference following the blowout win.

Now Belotti is doing commentary on ESPN and not much has changed regarding his view of BYU.

On the BCS preview show that aired on ESPN earlier this week, Belotti made statements that BYU didn't have the speed or athleticism to stay with Ole Miss in a football game.

Other national pundits differ signficantly in their opinions.

SI.com's Stewart Mandel said, "The Cougars faced better teams than Ole Miss when they were in the Mountain West."

Cfn.com's staff prediction took a bit of the middle road, predicting a 24-20 victory for BYU.

Nationally, the fan sentiment seems to be slightly in the Rebels' favor. Of those that participate in espn.com's pick em' challenge, 63.5 percent sided with Ole Miss.

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