Monday, 8 September 2008

Two games into the Houston Nutt era

So, we’re now two games into the Houston Nutt era at Ole Miss and the record stands… exactly the same (1–1) as it did after two games of the Ed Orgeron era.

The similarities, though, seem to end there: instead of barely edging Memphis and losing by eight to Vandy the Rebels thumped the Tigers (admittedly, at home, and admittedly a Tiger team that this weekend just got beat by Rice, of all teams) and came within an arguably bogus pass interference call of a road victory against what appears to be the best team in the ACC this year (admittedly, not saying much considering the sorry state of the contemporary ACC), with the team missing two of the team’s key defensive starters for most of both contests (Peria Jerry played limited time against Wake, while Greg Hardy remains out).

I don’t know that Jevan Snead is going to make anyone in Oxford forget Eli Manning (call me back when Snead goes 28–28 in his first 28 pass attempts in a game), but he’s already helped me wash away the memory of the likes of Micheal Spurlock and Ethan Flatt. And, for better or worse Nutt has brought back the high drama of Rebel offensive playcalling in a way not seen since the traitorous Riverboat Gambler was roaming the sidelines at Vaught-Hemingway.

Is this the year the Rebels get back to a bowl for the first time since the Second Coming of Manning? The schedule looks favorable, although I only see one likely road win for the Rebels at this point (at sputtering Arkansas). But with Jerry back and Hardy on the mend, the Rebels will be tough to beat at home and might even be able to steal a second win on the road to move up beyond the Poulan Weed-Eater bowl-of-last-resort level.

* Yes, I know the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl no longer exists, but it’s fun to type and represents the sort of crappy bowl game, usually held in Shreveport, the Rebels regularly attend.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Tue, 9 Sep 2008, 6:27 am CDT:

We can go 0–5 in our remaining road games and still make a bowl by winning these 5 home games: Samford, Vandy, UL-Monroe, South Carolina, State.

Assume the Samford and UL-Monroe games are gimmies (we’re not Arkansas and will not be trailing by double digits to Monroe in the 4th quarter nor will we lose to them like Bama did last year). O beat Vandy at home. ‘Nuff said. South Carolina is awful. There is no other way to put it. Anyone that actually saw that, impressive if you only look at the scoreboard, 34–0 win against NC State should also agree. State is an OK team, but nothing the Rebels shouldn’t be able to beat at home—- especially with a potential bowl game on the line.

I think we can beat Arkansas on the road and it honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see Houston steal another road game as he has so many times in the past. Maybe Bama or even LSU? Of course LSU is good, but the Rebels seem to play better in BR than Oxford as it is and we still haven’t seen them against 1A competition. I’m going to Gainesville for no other reason than to check “The Swamp” off my SEC checklist and would love to see the Rebels come home with a win like they did in 2003, but we both know that ain’t happening.

I’m still sticking by my 6–6 prediction and a Liberty Bowl, but 7–5 is definitely within reach.


The home schedule definitely lines up well; even Auburn is winnable, although I probably wouldn’t go beyond a 35% or so chance. It’s that road win that’s a toughie, although unless Arkansas markedly improves that is probably the one to circle. After all the recent oh-so-close LSU losses I’m not willing to go on a limb there.

Maybe this will be the year I finally make it to an Ole Miss bowl game… although I can’t see myself going to the Liberty Bowl to freeze to death (which is the usual LB weather) even if I’m in Memphis at the time.

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