Ole Miss Football 2011 Schedule: Game-by-Game Breakdown
After finishing the 2010 campaign with a disappointing 4-8 record, the Ole Miss Rebels managed to recruit a stellar class in 2011. The Rebs hope to build on this past year nonetheless and see it as a valuable learning springboard to the 2011 season.
There are certainly holes to fill on both sides of the ball this coming year, but with the team having another year under Houston Nutt's system, fans are hoping the team can make the next step and compete for the title in the ultra-competitive SEC West.
But will the schedule cooperate?
The 2011 slate features the usual difficult SEC schedule, including defending national champ Auburn.
Here's a game-by-game look at what lies ahead for your Ole Miss Rebels.
BYU (Ind. 2011)
When: September 3
2010 Record: 7-6, including a win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl
Noteworthy: BYU will join the Western Conference next year but play as an independent this year. Boise, originally scheduled in this spot, will take on fellow SEC member Georgia. BYU also takes on Texas and Oregon State this season, plus rival Utah, giving them one of the toughest schedules in the nation. A good early test for the Rebels.
Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley Conference)
When: September 10
2010 Record: 5-6
Noteworthy: The Rebels get a breather before starting the SEC slate. Of course, the same was said last year about the Jacksonville State game. SIU has had good success in recent years playing up a level; they've beaten Indiana and Northern Illinois and lost another game against a D-I program by three points—all since 2006.
Vanderbilt (SEC East)
When: September 17
2010 Record: 2-10
Noteworthy: Vandy should be the same ol' Vandy. A new head coach, new personnel and a weak 2011 recruiting class all point in the Rebels' favor. This is an SEC game that Ole Miss can't afford to lose.
With a grudge to avenge, the advantage should belong to the visiting team this season. For the record, Ole Miss leads when games are played in Nashville with a 27-15-2 record.
Georgia (SEC East)
When: September 24
2010 Record: 6-7, including a humiliating loss to UCF in the Liberty Bowl
Noteworthy: The Bulldogs return to the Ole Miss schedule this season, and they have some pressure on them. Coach Mark Richt has worn out his welcome among some Georgia faithful, having great recruiting years with little to show for it. This may be the year he has to win it all in Athens.
The Dawgs have perhaps the best young QB in the SEC, Aaron Murray, but he's lost his top go-to guy, A.J. Green. The Rebels will have to find a way to penetrate the stout UGA defense.
Fresno State (WAC)
When: October 1
Where: Fresno, CA
2010 Record: 8-5, including a loss to Northern Illinois in the Humanitarian Bowl
Noteworthy: The rubber match from the Rebel win last season. The Bulldogs fill the schedule for Ole Miss the week before the bye week. Coach for life Pat Hill had a less than stellar recruiting class in 2011 and is working with Derek Carr, David Carr's little brother, in the starting QB spot. All of this means the Rebs should repeat their success against these West Coast Bulldogs.
Alabama (SEC West)
When: October 15
2010 Record: 10-3, including a thumping of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl
Noteworthy: Luckily for Ole Miss, they get Alabama after a week off. While Nick Saban lost several key elements of his squad from last year, most recruiting analysts say he only reloaded. Still, it's hard to replace Heisman winner Mark Ingram, WR Julio Jones and game manager Greg McElroy. Almost all the defense returns, however. 'Bama holds a 44-9-2 record against the Rebs, including wins in the last seven.
Arkansas (SEC West)
When: October 22
2010 Record: 10-3, including a loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl
Noteworthy: Arkansas leads the series 30-26-1, including seven of the last 10. Most early games of the series were held in Memphis. Who can forget the NCAA-record seven-OT thriller of 2001? While Bobby Petrino has lost Ryan Mallett, he has a decent backup in Tyler Wilson and a solid running game in Knile Davis. Mallett's favorite targets are back too.
Auburn (SEC West)
When: October 29
Where: Auburn, AL
2010 Record: 14-0, including a BCS championship game win over Oregon
Noteworthy: Everyone knows that Auburn won't be nearly as powerful as it was in 2010. But Gene Chizik loaded his bare cupboard with an incredible recruiting class. The result is that these two teams should come into the game pretty evenly matched.
Auburn leads the series 26-9 and is 12-2 in Auburn. Ole Miss, despite being in an adjoining state, is the team the Tigers have played the least in the SEC next to South Carolina (15 games).
Kentucky (SEC East)
When: November 5
Where: Lexington, KY
2010 Record: 6-7, including a loss to Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl
Noteworthy: The Rebels lead the series 27-13-1. Joker Phillips faces a stiff battle to replace almost all his offensive production from a year ago. Especially difficult to hide is the hole left by all-everything Reggie Cobb. Sadly for the Wildcats, Phillips' first recruiting class ranked next to last in the SEC.
Last season, UK played streaky football, winning their first three and then losing their next three. They ended the season with two losses followed by two wins followed by two losses.
Louisiana Tech (WAC)
When: November 12
2010 Record: 5-7
Noteworthy: Tech will also play Mississippi State in 2011. In many ways, this is still Derek Dooley's team, although new coach Sonny Dykes has recruited well over the past two years. Including Tech, Ole Miss will face four teams with a Bulldog mascot. A Tech player has been the winning quarterback in four Super Bowls. Former Rebel coach Billy Brewer coached at La-Tech also.
LSU (SEC West)
When: November 19
2010 Record: 11-2, including a win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl
Noteworthy: LSU holds a 56-39-4 advantage in the series. Before last season's seven-point loss, Ole Miss had won two in a row. The series is the second longest in Ole Miss football history (next to MSU).
Les Miles still manages to pull victories out of his hat, and boasting consistently highly regarded recruiting classes, there's no excuse why the Bengal Tigers shouldn't compete for the SEC West crown yearly. In fact, many prognosticators have chosen LSU to win the SEC next year and represent the conference in a BCS game.
Mississippi State (SEC West)
When: November 26
2010 Record: 9-4, including an impressive win over Michigan in the Gator Bowl
Noteworthy: This is the season. Ole Miss coaches, players, students, alumni and fans are all hankering for a spankering of the Bullies. This will be the 108th meeting of these two storied programs. Ole Miss leads the series 60-41-6. The home team has won 10 of the last 12 matchups. It's time for the Egg to come home.
SEC Title Game
When: December 3
Where: Atlanta, GA
Noteworthy: Only three SEC teams have not made the trip to Atlanta. Ole Miss is one of them. Between us, the other two (Vandy and Kentucky) will probably never get there. Ole Miss can.
Consider this; The past five SEC champs have gone on to win the BCS national championship. Thus, if Ole Miss can get to the title game, according to recent history, the team is only one step away from possibly adding a fourth national title to Oxford. This conference is that much better than any other one in college football. See y'all in Atlanta.