OXFORD - The usual suspects dot the top of the rankings. You know the names, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson are ranked one through four, with Texas A&M coming in at No. 5.
Overall, here’s where the SEC teams rank after the aforementioned schools listed above: Tennessee comes in at the 18th slot, with Kentucky being 21st, and finishing out the SEC portion of the rankings is Arkansas, which is 22nd.
No Ole Miss? Well here’s Athlon Sports Top 25 and explanations for each ranking, with the following representing Ole Miss and exactly what was said about the Rebels:
"How will all the new faces fit in Oxford? The Rebels should get better each week, but matching last year’s 10 wins will be tough."
Ole Miss was in “The Next Tier” category, as Athlon describes it. Fair? Possibly. Not exactly the deepest analysis being shown, but that’s just the actual rankings with a short comment afterwards. The bigger question, perhaps, what about where the Rebels come in with regards to SEC teams Athlon is ranking ahead of them?
Bama being No. 1 and UGA placing at No. 3 is hard to argue, obviously. Texas A&M, well, that team has talent but still much to prove. No. 5? Debatable, at the very least. Ole Miss did knock off the A&M 29-19 last season in Oxford, and it’s not like the Aggies exactly know what will happen at quarterback (again).
Seeing Tennessee at the 18th position is not 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 the same level with the Vols? Possibly. This is justifiably where it gets murky.
Ole Miss is certainly in contention with being on the same level with Tennessee, Lane Kiffin’s old stomping grounds, and that’s possibly even more the case with the next SEC school in question.
Kentucky players receive good coaching, make plays, and are on the rise, but do they truly hold more talent in Lexington than what the Rebels possess in Oxford? Maybe it’s just bias for the Rebels, but this is about where Ole miss should be ranked – in the low 20s – and ahead of Kentucky.
Ironically, Arkansas is not ahead of Kentucky either. Even with the talents of quarterback KJ Jefferson still residing in Fayetteville for at least one more season. Perhaps a good ol’ fashioned toss-up between the three SEC foes is the best way to describe it? Any one of Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss could easily end the 2022 college football season near the 20 marker.
At any rate, Athlon does not believe Ole Miss deserves to be inside its inaugural 2022 College Football Top 25 Rankings. The Rebels can start to prove the long-time college football publication wrong when it opens the 2022 college football season at home against Troy on Sep. 3 in Oxford.
In also attempting to prove their worth against other SEC ranking ahead of them, Ole Miss hosts Kentucky (Oct. 1), travels to College Station to play the Aggies (Oct. 29), hosts Alabama (Nov. 12), and then heads to Arkansas (Nov. 19) to finish out it’s attempts to play and knock off other SEC teams Athlon has higher in its first rankings.
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