2009-10 Ole Miss Rebels Football Predictions
by Josh Nagel - 8/20/2009
No. 10 Ole Miss Rebels
2008 Record: 9-4.
2008 Against the Spread: 9-3.
2009 Odds to win BCS Championship: 15/1.
Key games: at South Carolina Sept. 24; vs. Alabama Oct. 10; vs. LSU Nov. 21.
Overview: It appears Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is bound to leave parallel legacies behind whenever he leaves college football. The first will be as one of the most successful and underrated coaches of his generation; the second will be of a coach who made every former employer regret letting him get away.
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This honor currently belongs to Arkansas, which decided to move in a different direction at the end of the 2007 season. The Razorbacks hired Bobby Petrino, who brought a shady reputation and an oversize case of bad publicity with him when he ditched the NFL's Atlanta Falcons overnight to take the job.
Nutt almost immediately was introduced as the head coach at Ole Miss, which needed a big-name leader to revive its struggling program. No one involved in the program could possibly have imagined just how soon the Rebels would get a return on their investment.
Nutt took a team that went 3-8 the previous year with no conference wins, to a 9-4 mark with a 5-3 SEC record including a monumental upset at Florida.
Punctuated with a blowout win over Texas Tech in its bowl game, the season marked the program's biggest one-year turnaround since 1947.
Thus, it's safe to say Ole Miss found the right man for the job. The next step is to see whether the Rebels can continue their progress by competing for the SEC title. This is a daunting task considering clubs like defending national champion Florida, BCS bowl participant Alabama and a hungry LSU team will be standing in the Rebels' way.
Most football predictions have Ole Miss in the Top 10 nationally, and it stands to reason the Rebels have every chance of fulfilling this potential.
Quarterback Jevan Snead proved he was among the SEC's elite signal-callers; his playmaking ability alone was the difference in several Ole Miss wins last year.
Snead's performance also earned him at least one unlikely admirer: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who picked Snead ahead of Florida's Tim Tebow on his pre-season All-SEC ballot. Spurrier later changed his vote and claimed the initial one was a mistake, but even so, the gaffe served to draw some attention to the impression Snead left on SEC opponents.
With most of its core components returning on both sides of the ball, including what is expected to be a standout secondary, it's not a stretch to envision the Rebels improving on last year's record. They also benefit from having two major opponents, LSU and Alabama, making visits to their home field.
2009-10 Ole Miss Rebels Football Predictions: 10-3, BCS bowl game appearance.
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