Texas A&M v Ole Miss
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Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has made a name for himself with explosive offenses, colorful soundbites and occasional jabs at his peers in the coaching industry. What he isn't known for, however, is winning at an elite level. 

He is 1-10 overall against top-five opponents in stops at Tennessee, USC, FAU and Ole Miss, which includes an 0-3 mark with the Rebels. His only win against a top-five team came in 2011 when his Trojans topped then-No. 4 Oregon 38-35 as 14-point underdogs. 

That record at Ole Miss includes a 42-21 loss to then-No. 1 Alabama last season. It was expected going into that game that Kiffin would get crazy with his play-calling and take a ton of risks, so much so that he confidently said 'get your popcorn ready' at the end of his pregame interview ... and then promptly gave up 35 straight points to start the game.

He can change that narrative on Saturday night when the ninth-ranked Rebels head to Athens, Georgia, to take on two-time reigning national champion Georgia, which is No. 1 in the current AP Top 25 despite being ranked No. 2 in the College Football Playoff Rankings. 

What is Kiffin's plan going to look like? Apparently a lot like it did in that ill-fated game against Alabama in 2021 based on what he has said this week.

"[Georgia] is 42-1 or something like that in their last 43 games, so big challenge to play there at night. I kind of feel nobody gives us a shot, which is a good thing sometimes," Kiffin said on Wednesday. "During the week I said playing with 'house money'. What do you got to lose when no one expects you to win? ... "I think it allows you to play and coach looser. Not uptight, not tense, not as stressed. I say that because we went to go play Alabama, who we've played every year, and early on when we got here it was like house money because no one expected us to win and they're 'Alabama'."

The problem is, when you consistently 'talk the talk' but don't 'walk the walk', you can clearly define the ceiling for the program and the coach. That's what this game will do for Kiffin and the Rebels. 

Make no mistake, this is his best chance to date to shake that reputation and slay the dragon. 

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Mississippi
Ole Miss QB Jaxson Dart has improved under Lane Kiffin's direction. USATSI

Quarterback Jaxson Dart has thrived under Kiffin's tutelage. He has 2,467 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, only four interceptions, 334 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. He is smart with the football, dynamic when he needs to be a play-maker and has weapons all around him to work with. 

Running back Quinshon Judkins has topped the 100-yard mark on the ground in four of his last five games, wide receiver Tre Harris is coming off of a 213-yard performance in the win over Texas A&M and the unit as a whole is 11th-nationally averaging 6.9 yards per play and seventh in points per drive at 3.13.

"Ole Miss is a team that prides themselves on having really good skill players," said Georgia defensive back Kamari Lassiter. "They have a really good quarterback, really good running backs and really good guys on the outside. They can do a lot of tempo, so just being able to prepare for those weapons and a lot of tempo for their game. That's something we have to work on."

More importantly, though, is an Ole Miss defense that creates havoc in the offensive backfield. They are third in the SEC in tackles for loss per game (7.33), lead the conference in turnover margin (0.89) and sixth nationally in sack percentage (9.7%). Defense doesn't win championships anymore, 'just enough' defense does. Ole Miss has more than 'just enough'.

Simply put, this is the exact kind of team Ole Miss expected when it hired Kiffin prior to the 2020 season.

Does Kiffin have to upset Georgia in order to prove that he's an elite coach? No. After all, the Rebels are 10.5-point underdogs.

However, they do have to be relevant in the fourth quarter. They do need to have the ball late with a chance to tie or win. They do need to prove that they are able to compete with the best of the best. If they don't, and Kiffin loses his mind against a top-tier opponent again, it will be nearly impossible to shake that reputation. 

Get your popcorn ready.