Spring football is over. The transfer portal is closed. The calendar reads June. You know what that means? College football is almost here. It has now been five months since Michigan took down Washington in the national championship game in Houston, and we have made it through the hardest part of the offseason. We are well past the halfway point, and now, there's nothing but excitement to get us to the finish line. We are less than three months away from the start of the college football season, and Ole Miss football is ready. Rebels fans can't wait to see their team take the field for the first time.

The 2024 college football season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons in a long time, and it's because of all the changes that are coming to the game in 2024. Let's start with the expanded College Football Playoff.

It's going to be interesting to see how the first year of the new 12-team College Football Playoff goes. The four-team playoff era is over, and having eight more teams make it is going to make a huge difference.

First of all, college football fans can breathe a little bit easier during the regular season. There's no worse feeling as a fan than seeing your team lose a huge game in the first weeks of the season before conference play even starts. In the four-team playoff era, that's as demoralizing as it gets. You know that one more loss is the nail in the coffin, and even with one loss (or in Florida State's case, zero), there is no guarantee that you will make it. Now, power five teams that go 10-2 should be pretty safe, and even some 9-3 teams will likely be able to make it.

The other big change is more football and a longer season. The College Football Playoff committee recently released the schedule for the 2024 playoff, and it is going to be an exciting month. Instead of three total playoff games played in the span of a week, we will get to see 11 games spread out over the span of a month. That is going to be a lot of fun.

Another huge change to the college football world this year will be with the new conferences. The Pac-12 is gone as everyone except for Oregon State and Washington State found a new home. USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington are now in the Big Ten, Cal and Stanford moved to the ACC, and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah are in the Big 12.

The Big 12 did lose two teams, however, as Oklahoma and Texas are making the move over to the SEC.

All in all, big changes are coming to college football, and it should make for an exciting season. Things are going to look different, and not everyone is a fan of the new changes, but there is going to more football and more good matchups. That's a plus.

Is this the year that Ole Miss football makes the College Football Playoff?

Ole Miss football has been consistently good since Lane Kiffin took over, but making it out of the SEC and into the College Football Playoff is no easy task. The Rebels never made the playoff during the four-team playoff era, but now that it is expanding to 12 teams, they will have a better chance of making it. In fact, that will be the expectation for this veteran-led team.

The past few years have been solid for Ole Miss, and with a 12-team playoff format, they likely would've made the playoff in two of those seasons. For example, the Rebels went 10-2 last season with losses to Alabama and Georgia. A resume like that would likely do the trick this season. 10 wins in the SEC is tough to accomplish.

This is the season that Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss are expected to break through. They don't have to win at least 11 games, and they ended up getting a favorable draw with their schedule compared to other SEC teams. They do have to play Georgia, but the game is at home, and that is their toughest test of the year by far. They avoid Texas and Alabama, but they do host Oklahoma and go on the road to LSU. Those are tricky matchups, but the Rebels can definitely pull off another 10-2 season or better and make the playoff.

Ole Miss is also loaded with upperclassmen that have experience, and that should go a long way for them. Of all 22 projected starters for the Rebels, 20 of them are upperclassmen and 17 of them are seniors. This is the year for Ole Miss. They have so much experienced talent on this squad.

While the Rebels have a ton of older players that should have big years, they do have some young guys that are looking to turn heads. They know that the attention might not be on them right now, but they want to change that. Here is one player that could be in line for a breakout season in 2024.

Cayden Lee, WR

Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Cayden Lee (83) runs after a catch for a touchdown against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the second half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
© Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

It's going to be tough for Cayden Lee to see the field too often next season as there are a lot of upperclassmen at the WR position that are projected to start, but Lee had a good year in 2023. Lee was a freshman last season, but he found a way to contribute for the Rebels and ended up having a solid first year.

Cayden Lee finished the year with five receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns. It was nothing crazy, but it was good for him to get experience and find the end zone a couple of times.

There should be opportunities for Cayden Lee to see the field more this season, and he has to seize them. He showed that he can be an explosive threat last season, but with all the talent around him, it will make it more challenging for him to be on the field enough to have a big year.

Still, the talent is there for Cayden Lee. If he makes big plays in games, which he is more than capable of doing, then the Rebels won't have a choice but to play him more often. He is capable of big things.