This has to be the most hype surrounding the Ole Miss Rebels I've seen in my 32 years of living. Analysts have picked them to be everywhere from the Sugar Bowl to the National Championship game. We have a Heisman candidate quarterback running the show, with a potentially all-star cast at the skill positions.
The only thing about that hype is none of it matters today. Today is game day. Today, the Rebels travel approximately 70 miles north to play arch-rival Memphis.
The upset win over Florida and Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech mean nothing today. This is the beginning of a new year.
Ole Miss started the game on defense, setting the tone early by forcing a three-and-out. The offense started out running the ball with three straight plays that were over 10 yards. The drive ended in a field goal: not what I was hoping for, but it's points.
Greg Hardy went down on the first play of Memphis' second series. It looked like a cheap shot from a Memphis wide receiver rolling up his leg.
No worry, Ole Miss fans. He did return to make an impact in the game.
Ole Miss went into the locker room at half time with a 17-7 lead. They looked far from a top 10 team.
The one bright spot was the defense. They looked great. The highly-touted offense looked far from sharp. Snead went in at the half, going 5-for-12 with two interceptions, far from Heisman numbers.
The third quarter was more of the same: dominant defense with sputtering offense. The offense looked completely out of sync.
The defense set the tone in the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 4th-and-inches stop. Snead woke up and looked like the quarterback we've been hoping for. The Rebels flexed their muscles and blew out the Tigers in the final quarter of the game 45-14.
I'm not saying they are the best team in the country right now, but I will say they will be a contender.
In closing, Ole Miss fans, hold your heads high and get out to support your Rebels. There is a good chance you might see something special this year!