If you’re looking for the most intriguing and explosive bowl games this weekend, Saturday’s Outback Bowl between Indiana and Ole Miss could be what you are looking for. The 11th-ranked Hoosiers had a dream season, but inexplicably missed out on a New Year’s Six bowl game. Despite that, it’s been a tremendous year for coach Tom Allen. At 6-1, Indiana has put together one of the best seasons in recent program history thanks to an explosive offense that has had more than a few moments of brilliance.
The Rebels have been wild in their first year under Lane Kiffin. Quarterback Matt Corral has been the trigger man of one of the most high-octane units in the country that has the ability to put up points in bunches and stress defenses in a variety of ways.
Can the Hoosiers cap off a magical season under Allen or will Kiffin and the Rebels light up the scoreboard yet again en route to finishing 5-5 on the year? Let’s take a closer look at the matchups and storylines to follow in Tampa before making some expert picks both straight up and against the spread below.
Indiana: The loss of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. definitely hurt down the stretch. The Hoosiers only managed 4.09 yards per play in the season finale vs. Wisconsin and 4.85 the week before against Maryland. That was the bad news. The good news is that the defense improved dramatically, giving up just a total of just 17 points. Despite that, Ole Miss typically forces its “basketball on grass” style on most opponents, which means new starting quarterback Jack Tuttle might have to have his best game yet.
Ole Miss: Wide receiver Elijah Moore and tight end Kenny Yeboah — the Rebels’ two leading receivers — opted out before the bowl game. That’ll put a ton of pressure on Braylon Sanders and Jonathan Mingo to pick up the slack, and Kiffin to get more creative with the play-calling. Corral already announced that he’s coming back, and a great game against a defense that has had its ups and downs would go a long way toward setting the Rebels up to contend for the SEC West and set himself up for a Heisman Trophy run in 2021.
Game: Outback Bowl
Date: Saturday, Jan. 2 | Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium — Tampa, Florida
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Outback Bowl prediction, picks
Grab the points, but you won’t need them because Ole Miss will win this game straight up. Even though Moore and Yeboah won’t be there, Kiffin will have plenty up his sleeve and will want to put on a show on national TV with the college football world watching. Corral has moments of ineptitude, but that won’t happen now that he’s had a little bit more time to hone his craft. Pick: Ole Miss (+8.5) | Ole Miss 45, Indiana 42
So who wins Ole Miss vs. Indiana? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Indiana vs. Ole Miss spread to back, all from the advanced model on a 56-36 run on its top-rated college football picks this season.