April 14th, 2010
"A life upon the road is the life of an outlaw man".....The Eagles
Ole Miss fans, allow me to introduce myself. I am a 49 year old native Southerner, which makes me old enough to remember both Manning's. I was raised, and spent most of my life in Clayton County Georgia. That is the mythical home of Tara. Like you, I am a fanatical college football fan. Unlike you, I do not bleed Red and Blue.
Let's preview 2010....
Desparate, thin, hungry, something to prove, prone to taking chances and making mistakes. Ole Miss is definitely the outlaw of the SEC in 2010. Not enough talent to own the show but enough scattered talent to surprise you and take what you have. Houston Nutt will have this team and fan base properly prepared. He is no Mike Leach but neither is he Les Miles. This could be a wild ride for Ole Miss fans and as long as Dave Rader doesn't shut them down offensively, it should be. Pivotal games for this team are Kentucky, in the first half of the season, and Auburn in the last half. Both clubs will provide a measure for the progress of this team. Both games are at home in front of a sold-out crowd. The Ole Miss faithful will party gracefully in the Grove before the game but I guarantee that they will be in their seats at kickoff. It will get loud fast. A lot of questions will be answered Saturday in the Spring Game, but I'm just not feeling it for Ole Miss this year. The loss of too much talent on both sides of the ball will show it's effects all through the year. 7-5 sounds about right but 8-4 is not out of the question.
Reasons I could be wrong
The beginning of the year gives the Rebs a chance to get their feet under them and compete. Jacksonville State, Tulane, Vandy, Fresno State, Kentucky and then a week off (from what?). Tulane is the only road game of the first five.
Tennessee, LSU and Mississippi State are winnable games.
If Bobby Massie, Rishaw Johnson and mammoth Alex Washington play SEC caliber football they could find themselves opening holes for a very underrated set of backs. Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis could play for anybody.
Jerrell Powe. He is the new Terrence Cody. He has a rare combination of size, quickness and agility and if he ever settles and becomes comfortable he has the ability to take over a game. Relative newcomer D. T. Shackleford could be set for a breakout year.
Reasons I could be right The four toughest games on the schedule are all on the road. There are few places harder to play, in the SEC, than 2010's destinations. Tuscaloosa, Fayetteville, Baton Rouge and Knoxville. I would've added Gainesville to this list but Ole Miss always seems to have their number.
Inexperience at QB. If Tate Forcier and the kid at USC couldn't get it done, I'm going to find it difficult getting behind Raymond Cotton and Nathan Stanley. Yes, I'm aware Stanley is a sophomore.
Houston Nutt has a tendency to play to the fullest extent of his talent, pushing the offensive envelope very hard. The chemistry between Nutt and Rader will be one of the more intertesting sub-plots in the SEC this year. Having lost 24 seniors with game experience will not help, although some of the secondary personnel needed to be replaced. This will be the year that Nutt begins to establish this team's long term identity, unfortunately there is not quite enough experienced talent to put on the field.