Everyone and their mothers' knew Tim Tebow was running the ball on UF's final drive in Gainesville, and, most importantly, Ole Miss knew. It was nothing new, though, for the Rebels, who actually lead the Gators in their past heads-up battles, but it was the start of their giant slaying.
At first glance, Ole Miss' record of 9-4 is impressive in a tough conference like the SEC, but nothing to write a song about. Upon further observation of their losses, one thing stands out...the nail-biters, and their slim margins of defeat.
Miss lost by two points to an above-average Wake Forest squad that failed to meet preseason expectations but still capped the season with a bowl win and an 8-5 record.
Miss lost by six points to a pretty good Vanderbilt team, which far exceeded anyone's expectations in the early going, but hit some bumps along the tough road that is the SEC. The Commodores finished the season with a win over No. 24 BC and a 7-6 record.
Miss's third defeat came against the Spurrier led Gamecocks of South Carolina, Spurrier's squad won by a TD. The Cocks finished their season with a 7-6 record, numbers that Mr. Spurrier isn't too fond of.
Miss received its fourth and final loss while visiting Mr. Saban and his No. 2-ranked Tide. The rebels suffered a mere four-point loss.
Why list the Rebels' losses, you ask? Well, just look! Their average margin of defeat was exactly 4.8 points. In hockey? That's no good, but this is college football, and those games are considered "close." Very close.
Let's take a look at Ole Miss's strengths, and see why I think they will take the SEC west in '09.