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It is awful clear that after coming off the worst season in Ole Miss history in the form of a 2-10 record and being blown out of the water after Houston Nutt was fired that included LSU taking knees the middle of the 4th quarter and MSU getting a 31-3 win in the Egg Bowl that Ole Miss is not expected to be very good.
Houston Nutt is not going to be walking through the door when Ole Miss opens with Central Arkansas or otherwise I would agree. I do not recall Auburn fans giving Gene Chizik a chance and he's sitting a home with the Crystal Football a couple years later.
If a new coach means anything in College Football - especially in the SEC - that coach could be in the mist of having a 9-4 season or winning huge games no one gave a snail's chance of doing so. A prime example is Ole Miss beating MSU 45-0 the year before and MSU turns around and smacks them 41-27. There is no reason Ole Miss cannot do the same thing after getting smacked 31-3 last year.
There are several games that Ole Miss could have easily won last year - of course we have to start with BYU that was gift-wrapped to them. Then add Arkansas who was on the ropes all day long. Ole Miss hung around and fought with Georgia who went on to win the SEC East. That's 5 wins and maybe the meaning of the rest of the season would be different than saying "who cares?". Of course it is likely we would still have Nutt today if Ole Miss were to finish out those games.
Ole Miss looked the exact opposite upon playing Lousiana Tech, Vanderbilt and MSU. In two of those three it was after the fact Nutt was fired. Against Vanderbilt, it was like they were playing Alabama that day.
There is talent on the Ole Miss football squad that was there before, plenty of it showed its spark at times. There is some talent coming in this year especially on defense. Hugh Freeze is going to run a "Basketball-style" offense (if you don't know what that is - look at Auburn's offense). Ole Miss won't be putting up 3, 7, 13 points on a consistent basis and settling for Field Goals with this style of offense.
With the offense putting up what should be higher numbers, the defense won't be going out on the field looking defeated and only having so little field (and points) to defend like they did much of the year last year and can be afforded some miscues. With Ole Miss scoring a little bit more, some of those drives can start on the 20 with 80 yards to defend instead of handing them the ball at midfield or better.
Ole Miss scored just 10 Touchdowns against SEC opponents last year - there will be more than 10 Touchdowns with Freeze running the offense. (Cue the "yeah, like 11" and such comments).
In terms of their schedule, Ole Miss can easily start 3-1 with their 4-game home stand to start the year, and the first big test with Texas should tell a lot about the season. If Ole Miss shows any fight in that game, there are teams later on down the road that should fear this team (Cue the laughter by MSU & LSU fans)
Don't believe me? Just look at how Ole Miss did against Wake Forest in 2008 (yes it was a loss, but no one gave them a chance in that game either that was won on a last second Field Goal set up because of a very questionable pass interference call) and then ask Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer and the Florida Team what they thought of Ole Miss coming into that game. I believe that same year LSU and MSU got beat too.
Freeze has not been given the chance to coach one game to change the minds of fans - for or opposing fans. His overall record at Ole Miss is 0-0 so far. He hasn't lost yet. It wouldn't surprise me that every national media outlet predicts Ole Miss to go something like 3-9, 4-8 or even 2-10. Go on ahead - that's what happened before Dexter McCluster, Kentrell Lockett, and Shay Hodge shocked the world. Freeze is already being judged (like Dan Mullen for example) that he will not be a good coach at Ole Miss.
This was also the first hire not made by Pete Boone - the former Athletic Director at Ole Miss. Boone hired Tuberville (left in a pine box to Auburn), Ed Orgeron (went 3-21 in SEC play and finished 7-25 against teams not named Memphis and blew countless 4th quarter leads) and Nutt (brought the team back up but buried them to the ground last year in the worst season in school history in terms of number of losses with 10)
In between the hires was David Cutcliffe - who was not hired by Boone because he took a different job between 1998 and 2002 (Cutcliffe was hired at the end of 1998 and coached the bowl game after Tuberville left). Boone returned in 2003. Cutcliffe was the person to ultimately grab Eli Manning out of high school and had some of the best years in Ole Miss history, especially when it came to offense.
After Manning was drafted first overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. Ole Miss nose-dived into a 4-7 year that showed plenty of close games and a win over MSU. Boone wanted to make a lot of changes on the staff. Cutcliffe did not want to and thus was fired because he did not do what Boone wanted.
Ever since that fire (and ensuing ridiculous hire that had Orgeron ripping his shirt off in his first press conference), Ole Miss has had 5 of the last 7 seasons where the Rebels have had a worst record than Cutcliffe's 2004 record. (2005, 3-8, 2006, 4-8, 2007, 3-9, 2010, 4-8, 2011, 2-10). It is still considered to be the most controversial fire in the last 10 years. This eventually started the group known as "Forward Rebels" asking for change in the administration in 2011 and we know the rest of the story.
The fact is that there is a new head coach in Freeze and a new Athletic Director in Ross Bjork who has already made several changes at Ole Miss including getting a new Women's Basketball Coach. Ole Miss has not been able to prove anything since the 2011-12 Sports Season especially in Football. If Ole Miss wins even 5 games this year in Football, a lot of people are going to look pretty stupid.
Am I saying that is going to happen? No. I am sitting in a "wait and see" mode to see if we do have something at Ole Miss instead of making accusations about a coach that has proven nothing in the SEC yet. The problem AD is also gone and a new one is in. He hasn't done anything stupid yet and both guys have made all the right moves.
September 1st cannot get here soon enough.
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