The Cupcakes Are Over for the Rebs

Derek StephensSenior Analyst ISeptember 21, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt celebrates after a game against the University of Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

It's been fun, but it's time.

The coaches are ready, the players are ready, and the fans are ready.

They've beaten down Memphis and Southeastern Louisiana, woohoo.

Despite being 2-0 and gaining a No. 4 ranking, the Ole Miss Rebels are ready to see where they stand among legitimate opponents.

They won't have to wait long.

Ole Miss gets four days rest and will head to Columbia, SC to face their first SEC opponent of the year, the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks (2-1) are also one of those teams in the year a person seems to not be able to get a good read on.

One game their defense looks very salty, and then the next their offense looks on fire.

The question for the Rebels is simple. Are they 'for real'?

Riding an eight-win streak into Columbia, Ole Miss should know not to downplay South Carolina, considering the Gamecocks spoiled the Rebel's after-party from the Florida game last season.

Not only will the Rebels have to travel for their first SEC game, the Rebels will have a short week of preparation.

The Rebels will more than likely be without DE Greg Hardy and FB Andy Hartmann and could be without FS Kendrick Lewis.

Houston Nutt said he was concerned about several players, but declined to specify.

The question for the Rebels lies with the passing game and the secondary. Jevan Snead had some receivers drop multiple passes this week, but at times looked rusty. Could it be the effects of limited practice due to the swine flu? That's a question that will be answered on Thursday.

As for the secondary, the Rebels have obviously improved since last year's matchup between the Gamecocks, but exactly how much?

One thing is for sure, we will find out all the answers on Thursday.