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Ole Miss vs. Alabama NCAA Week 4: Tide turning back to QB Jalen Milroe to save longshot title odds

On Saturday when Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide take the field against Ole Miss in a huge SEC matchup, the Tide will do it sitting outside the AP Top 10 for the first time since 2015. And a second loss on the year will mean they will miss the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons for the first time. Saban has decided to reinsert Jalen Milroe as the No. 13 Tide’s starting QB against the No. 15 Rebels. Alabama opened at -7 and hasn’t lost back-to-back home games since 2007, Saban’s first season.

Milroe started the first two games but didn’t see the field in Saturday’s shocking 17-3 win at South Florida – shocking because USF has been one of the worst programs in the country the past handful of years and had lost by 17 earlier against Western Kentucky. The Bulls should have lost by 50 to the #RollTide.

Jalen Milroe will be back at QB for Alabama on Saturday.

Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner got his first Alabama start against the Bulls and was a brutal 5-for-14 for 34 yards before being replaced by freshman Ty Simpson, who was 5-for-9 for 73 yards and led Bama to all its points. With SEC play beginning, Saban apparently is ready to ride with Milroe, the best runner of the three, the rest of the way.

“This is all I’m going to say about this. Jalen really showed the leadership that I was looking for during the game in terms of supporting his teammates and doing the things he needed to do,” Saban said Monday in making the announcement. “He’s had the opportunity to play, so have the other guys. Jalen played the best of all those guys. So I think he’s earned the opportunity to be the quarterback.”

Milroe was 13-for-18 for 194 yards and three TDs with two rushing scores in the Week 1 blowout of Middle Tennessee but only 14-for-27 for 255 yards with two TDs and two picks and no rushing TDs in the Week 2 home loss to Texas, which had dropped Alabama from No. 3 to No. 10 in the polls before USF.

Alabama has lost four of its past six games vs. Top 15 opponents and is now a +5000 longer shot to win the national title after opening +600.

Ole Miss has not been challenged much in double-digit wins over Mercer, No. 24 Tulane (without star QB Michael Pratt) and Georgia Tech. Leading receiver Tre Harris missed the game against the Jackets but likely returns for this one. Ole Miss is averaging 52.7 points, fourth in the FBS and first in the SEC.

Former Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is 0-4 all-time vs. Saban (once loss when Kiffin was at Tennessee), and Ole Miss has lost seven straight in the series overall. The #HottyToddy are seeking to win back-to-back road games vs ranked teams for first time since 2003-04.

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