Here’s why Herbstreit excels at what he does. He is a coach’s son and a former Ohio State quarterback. He knows the sport better than anyone else. He is smart, charming, and a great color guy. He supports the cause of the viewer. He doesn’t say the obvious. He is a great source of insight and information. And, most importantly, he knows when to stop talking. So Herbstreit chose Alabama to win, even though Katy Perry, a renowned X’s & O’s football expert correctly selected Ole Miss. Herbstreit will joke about it at his expense, which distinguishes him from many other football talk heads. Herbstreit was in Ridgeland to address a reception for C Spire’s cloud services division. He opined about a variety of topics, including the fact that the ESPN College GameDay experience in Oxford during the 2014 Alabama-Ole Miss match was “hands down”, the best in his 20 years of involvement with the program. Herbstreit confirmed that GameDay could return to Oxford on Sept. 17, “if Ole Miss defeats Florida State and Alabama defeats USC.” Herbstreit also stated that he does not know the answer to the ongoing Ole Miss/NCAA controversy. Hugh Freeze is someone I respect, even though I doubt anyone knows about NCAA matters like this. We are good friends. It’s hard to imagine this going to the extremes, Ole Miss losing lots of scholarships or having to ban receiving bowls. It’s not something I see ….. But I honestly don’t see it. Mississippi State has an opportunity to prove that they are more than Dak Prescott in the last two years. They have some great players. Dak was exceptional, but he had great people around him.” * Chad Kelly, Ole Miss quarterback: “He’s an extraordinary story. It would be easy to believe that he might have been in trouble after all the troubles he experienced at Clemson and then his move to Ole Miss. He has turned his career around and saved his life. He is the epitome dual threat quarterback and has command of the offense. He is a true thrower and can also run the ball. Many people were shocked at his ability to run the ball last season. However, those who knew him at Clemson already knew that he could and would be able to run it. We also wondered when this was going on at Ole Miss. He was playing the game at an extremely high, high level in the final season. He lost (LaQuon?) Treadwell, so he’ll need to spread it more, but from what I’ve heard, he has all the receivers.” * On Southern Miss’ quarterback Nick Mullens: “I don’t know as much about Mullens as Kelly, but I do know enough to enjoy the Southern Miss-Kentucky game the first weekend. There are so many great games in that first weekend. The Southern Miss-Kentucky match is one to watch if your goal is to see an underdog take on a Power Five team. Because of their recent success, Ole Miss-Mississippi State has become a fierce rivalry. It was Ohio State-Michigan that I grew up with. It wasn’t about hatred, I thought. It was two teams who really wanted to win and also respect each other. Alabama-LSU is the best rivalry in college football, and it has national championship implications. And I don’t know if there is anything more intense than Alabama–Auburn.” * He said that he believes in the newfound respect Tennessee is gaining heading into 2016. I believe Tennessee will be even better. I would be surprised if Tennessee beat Alabama in Tennessee at home, and then Alabama beat Tennessee during the SEC Championship Game. “I could see that happening.” Rick Cleveland writes a weekly column for Mississippitoday.org. Support this work by making a recurring gift today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.