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.