Welcome to our Factor Five Five Factor Preview Ole Miss at South Carolina. The Factor Five Five Factor Preview examines the necessaries and completely arbitraries of the official beginning of your weekend, the Thursday Night special featuring the Emotive Olympics between Steve Spurrier and Count Giggity. Grimace! Sweat! Nail-bite! Non-surreptitious nose-pick! Theatrics will be had no matter if the game turns into an abominable 7-3 puntfest, because both coaches wear their gameplans on their faces. Considering this is a South Carolina game, a puntfest is a real live possibility; then again, Houston Nutt is coaching the other team, so a 38 overtime death march ending at 4 am is equally possible.
Cocky will kill your boyfriend. Just a regular reminder from the Safety Patrol at EDSBS.com.
Category one: Nebulous Statistical Comparisons of Dubious Validity. Ole Miss presents this from their bag of misleading data: they are proud holders of the 35th ranked pass defense in the nation right now, a stat garnered off stellar performances against Memphis, who did not attempt a non-lateral pass or bother to heave the ball downfield at all against them in Ole Miss's flu-stricken matchup with them, and from numbers gathered versus the challenging aerial attack of Southeast Louisiana.
They will have to hold that rank to hold South Carolina in check.
Despite the conservative, run-first game plan against NC State, South Carolina will come out throwing in this game because of a.) the strength of the Ole Miss defensive line, particularly against the run, and b.) because Steve Spurrier has the patience of a hungry tiger shark put into a tank full of obese seals.
The relevant number for South Carolina: #4, as in Jevan Snead. Snead may have a 9 for 20 night at his worst, but those nine completions will all be for first downs, touchdowns, and back-breaking plays. Snead played woozily against Memphis, but he should have, since playing with the flu rarely makes people better athletes. (Michael Jordan and his theatrics aside, and there probably was a Vegas line and kneecaps to protect in his case.) The Gamecocks are giving up 87 yards a game on the ground, so of paramount importance after stopping the run is finding some way to confuse Snead into throwing a few Favre-ian passes just like a kid out there: or, in other words, doing what kids do, which is throw to the wrong people with great enthusiasm.
Advantage: Ole Miss. Limit Snead, and he'll still make you pay. Trust us: we know from hard experience.
Ole Miss, You've Been Factor'd!
Category Two: Mascot: The easiest Factor Five decision yet: South Carolina, since Ole Miss has no formal mascot. Cocky the hoop-dressed chicken wins by default, though this would go to Ole Miss in a snap if they just bit the bullet, claimed William Faulkner as their mascot, and had an undergrad stumble around in a white suit carrying a bottle of whiskey muttering about "the ineluctable tripping and tumbling of the human race down an endless staircase wrought and created by its own mournful, irrevocable and inglorious failure."
Touchdown, Ole Miss, though it's all futile in the end as the impermanence of the moment is subsumed by the permanence of the dust, and the moment, and its endless, atavistic silences.
Advantage: South Carolina.
South Carolina, you've been factor'd!
Category Three: Aura. Every factor in this game should bend in the general direction of Oxford: a number four ranking coming in, as deep a roster talent-wise as Ole Miss has ever had, a quarterback of some not unserious talent, DE Greg Hardy returning to play in the game, and an opponent coming off a conference loss to Georgia. In theory, this is four quarters of predetermined hot awesome for Ole Miss fans.
This means the real onus is on Ole Miss, of course, since the backlashy counter to "Ole Miss is going to do it this year!" is "Houston Nutt teams never validate their ranking," which is in turn countered by "Ole Miss is more talented than Arkansas ever was," which is countered by "Then that means there's even more room for disappointment," and at that point you being shouting at each other because that is how you solve unsubstantiated talk radio arguments: incoherent volume applied directly to the ear.
It's on the road in a tough environment. On that alone, the aura and underdog status without expectations favors South Carolina.
Advantage: South Carolina.
Sakerlina, You've Been Factor'd!
Category Four: Names. South Carolina usually wins this one without contest with names like:
AND FEATURING: Foxy Foxworth.
Ole Miss puts up stiff competition with Jacarious Lucas, Ferbia Allen, Ja-Mes Logan, J.D. Lawhorn (aka new name for genitals in "the lawhorn") Lekenwic Ingram, and Fon Ingram. For depth throughout the roster and someone who gave us another horrible thing to call your dick, we rule in favor of Ole Miss.
Advantage: Ole Miss. "Lawhorn." (giggles.)
Ole Miss, You've been factor'd!
Grudges? Scores to settle? Sheer cussedness? Ole Miss lost a bitter 31-24 game in Oxford last year thanks to 3 turnovers on the day and Ole Miss sputtering for just 129 yards of offense in the second half. No lingering animosity between Nutt and Spurrier, though, since they occupy separate henhouses in the SEC and are not division rivals. Even the fans in this rivalry don't have much beef, since they both agree on the virtues of sundresses on young ladies, the entertainment value of a good cockfight, and the necessity of hating Mississippi State for entirely different reasons.(Ole Miss, natural rival; Spurrier, because they knocked out his equipment manager in 2000.)
Ole Miss, you've been factor'd!
EDSBS FACTOR FIVE FIVE FACTOR PREVIEW SUM: 3-2, Ole Miss You've Been Factor'd! Reminder: THIS MEANS BET ON THE OTHER TEAM. It's the counterindicator of counterindicators, though the Factor Five is 2-1 straight up on the season after Miami saw Georgia Tech's triple option as an invitation to ravage both holes and make a new one all of their making on Thursday night. Tread carefully, wagerer: not only is the Factor Five leaning treacherously towards the unpredictable this year, it is also featuring perennial curveball and hypnotist Houston Nutt tonight. Just flip a coin and you'll be just as well off in the long run.