After much anticipation, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has officially announced the 2024 schedules for year one of its 14-team model. With Oklahoma and Texas joining – the latter of which is about to make its first College Football Playoff appearance – the SEC just got that much stronger. Below are the schedules for both Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Ole Miss will begin year four of the Lane Kiffin era in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, a place the Rebels went a perfect 7-0 in 2023, against Furman (Aug. 31) ahead of another home matchup against Middle Tennessee State (Sept. 7). The Rebels will then travel to take on power five opponent Wake Forest (Sept. 14) before another home stretch that features Georgia Southern (Sept.21) and Kentucky (Sept. 28) to begin SEC play. Ole Miss will then hit a road stretch against South Carolina (Oct. 5) and LSU (Oct. 12) ahead of a bye week (Oct. 19). Kiffin’s squad will return from the intermission for a round of three tough conference foes including Oklahoma at home (Oct. 26), at Arkansas (Nov. 2), and at home against a Georgia (Nov. 9) team that beat the Rebels by 35 points in 2023. Ole Miss will take another break (Nov. 16) before rounding out the season at Florida (Nov. 23) and in the annual Egg Bowl at home against Mississippi State (Nov. 30)*, possibly ending a recent tradition of the rivalry game being played on Thanksgiving Thursday.
Outlook: Ole Miss is currently working to build a team ready to compete in the expanded College Football Playoff model by retaining key members of the current roster and adding vital pieces via the transfer portal and on the high school trail. Kiffin has proven that he can elevate the ceiling in Oxford as he is the only coach in program history to win 10 games in multiple regular seasons. Though the Rebels’ schedule includes opponents that will pose a challenge, and perhaps cause the team to lose a game or two, Ole Miss fans can expect this locked-in coaching staff to field a group that can fight with the big dogs and post another historical double-digit win season. — Caleb Salers
Mississippi State will begin the Jeff Lebby era at home against Eastern Kentucky (Aug. 31) before traveling to a slightly tougher Arizona State (Sept. 7). The Bulldogs will return home for back-to-back games against Toledo (Sept. 14) and Florida (Sept. 21). The matchup against the Gators will kickstart a tough stretch of conference games including Texas (Sept. 28) and Georgia (Oct. 12) on the road and Texas A&M (Oct. 19) and Arkansas (Oct. 26) at home. The in-conference ceasefire will commence with a historically weak UMass coming to town (Nov. 2) before getting right back in the action with Tennessee (Nov. 9) on the road, Missouri (Nov. 23) at home, and Ole Miss (Nov. 30)* on the road. The Bulldogs’ byes (Oct. 5) and (Nov. 16) come at a good time between matchups against powerhouses Texas and Georgia and ahead of games against recently successful programs in Missouri and Ole Miss.
Outlook: At the end of the day, Bulldog fans need to realize where the program currently stands. Lebby has what it takes to be a good head coach, but unless production in the transfer portal heats up quickly, this is going to be a rebuilding year – and that’s OK. Remember year one under Dan Mullen? That’s more or less where the Bulldogs will stand at the end of the 2024 season. Expect a six-win ceiling with an offense that is more aesthetically pleasing than Zach Arnett and company were able to put on the field in 2023. — J.T. Mitchell
* indicates the game could be scheduled to be played at a different date.
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