I was reading the paper the other day about the SEC media days, and I noticed that one of the members of the media picked Ole Miss to win—not only the West, but the entire SEC.
This made me laugh, but then I started thinking, "What would it take for that to actually happen?" So I came up with a scenario of what it would take for Ole Miss to accomplish that.
Disclaimer: I am not predicting Ole Miss will win the SEC. I just was intrigued by somebody else doing it and came up with this fictional scenario.
Aug. 30, 2008: Ole Miss vs. Memphis
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is packed with red as Houston Nutt, for the first time, touches the head of Chuck Mullins to the sounds of 60,000 people screaming Hotty Toddy at the top of their lungs. Ole Miss wins the toss and chooses to receive the ball.
Jevan Snead takes his first step onto Hollingsworth Field as the starting quarterback for the Rebels and takes the snap. The first drive of the season for the Rebels is a successful one, as Snead goes 4-4 for 36 yards and Cordera Easton runs three times for 25 yards and a touchdown. The extra point is good and Ole Miss kicks off the ball.
Memphis has the ball for their first play of the season, and the stadium is so loud that no one can even hear themselves think. Memphis snaps the ball, but the quarterback is sacked by none other than Jerrell Powe, making his NCAA debut. As the two teams go into the locker room for halftime, Ole Miss has pushed themselves out to a 21-7 lead.
Memphis comes back out from the locker room and scores quickly, but that is the end of their comeback run, as the Rebels win the game, 44-14.
Sep. 6: Ole Miss vs. Wake Forest
The Rebels travel to Wake Forest to win their first road game in years but face a tough opponent in No. 23 Wake Forest. The first half is a defensive one, and the Rebels find themselves down 14-7 at the half. The Rebels do, however, come back out of the locker room with renewed energy to win the game convincingly 28-17.
Sep. 13: Ole Miss vs. Samford
(I don't really believe there is any reason to really talk about this game at all, because even Ed Orgeron could have won this game.)
Rebels win 51-3.
Sep. 20: Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt
I know that the average margin of victory of this game has been less than six points over the last eight years, but I don't see any challenge coming from Vanderbilt (not against this SEC championship team of Ole Miss).
Ole Miss wins 24-7 and earn themselves the No. 25 spot in the polls.
Sep. 27: Ole Miss vs. Florida
Ole Miss hits the hard part of their schedule with a visit to the Swamp. Ole Miss makes a game out of it but still loses to Florida, 24-30. Jevan Snead just wasn't quite prepared for the harsh environment, as he hasn't ever experienced anything like it before. This loss drops Ole Miss right back out of the top 25.
Oct. 4: Ole Miss vs. South Carolina
A sold-out game in Oxford as fans watch breathlessly, hoping Houston Nutt is really ready to take them into the race for the SEC. Nutt delivers as the Rebels knock the Gamecocks off in a fourth-quarter thriller, 17-14. Beating the No. 16 Gamecocks brings Ole Miss right back into the top 25.
Oct. 18: Ole Miss vs. Alabama
Ole Miss heads into Bryant-Denny stadium seeking revenge for being cheated out of their upset the year before. They make short work of the overrated Crimson Tide, 40-13. This jumps the Rebels up to 18th in the polls.
Oct. 25: Ole Miss vs. Arkansas
Houston Nutt returns home to 70,000 boos. Arkansas (who doesn't have a good record) plays with a ton of emotion, but it just isn't enough as the Rebels win again, 17-13.
Nov. 1: Ole Miss vs. Auburn
Ole Miss returns to the safety of Vaught-Hemingway after two straight road games to fight for the West, as undefeated Auburn faces one-loss Ole Miss. The game is very defensive, but the home field advantage pays off for the Rebels. Ole Miss wins 13-7.
Nov. 15: Ole Miss vs. ULM
This another one of those game even Ed Orgeron could win (but apparently Nick Saban couldn't. Hmmm...have you ever thought he might be overrated?). Ole Miss wins 49-0.
Nov. 22: Ole Miss vs. LSU
This is the final true regular season test for the Rebels as they head to Death Valley, but the Rebels are able to take advantage of the Tigers' rebuilding year (you know, the first year Les Miles actually has to play with his recruits) and win the rivalry 14-3.
Nov. 28: Ole Miss vs. MSU
No, that was not a typo earlier. LSU was the last test for Ole Miss, as the Egg Bowl turns out to be just like the old days of Ole Miss dominance and the Rebels win 20-3. (No stupid 4th-and-1 tries this year. Sorry to disappoint you Dog fans.)
TBA: SEC Championship Game—Ole Miss vs. Florida
The No. 4 Rebels take on the one-loss No. 1 Florida Gators. Without the home field advantage that Tim Tebow tends to rely on to win his football games, the Rebels are able to win in a classic shootout, 44-40.
And thus ends the SEC Champion season for the Rebels. Houston Nutt, of course, won the Coach of the Year award, and just for kicks we'll say that Jevan Snead won the Heisman.
We might as well finish the season the season on a good note. The Ole Miss Rebels played the Buckeyes in the national championship game, and...well, you know what happens when the Buckeyes play SEC teams in a bowl.