The Ole Miss football program has fallen on hard times in the last two years under Houston Nutt and hit rock bottom with a winless season in the SEC.
Nutt was subsequently removed of his coaching duties and replaced with Hugh Freeze who has won his first two games against Central Arkansas and UTEP, respectively. Two relative cupcakes compared to their SEC brethren they will battle during the conference slate.
This weekend Oxford, Mississippi, will be invaded by one of the biggest, most passionate fan bases in college football when the Texas Longhorns flood the Grove. Considered one of the best places for providing a unique game day experience and ambiance in the nation, the Grove will be inundated with their neighbors from the west.
Oxford is no stranger to raucous tailgating scenes and sellout crowds, especially when LSU, Alabama, and their rivals to the south, Mississippi State come to town. However, this will be an atmosphere unparalleled to their SEC counterparts because of the newness associated with this game.
The hatred and hostility that surrounds visits from the Bulldogs from Mississippi State, who have defeated the Rebels in the last three Egg Bowl match ups, or games against the conference heavyweights, LSU and Alabama will not be present because of the novelty of the game.
But the Rebels need this win on a national television audience as much as they would against an SEC opponent to put their program back on the road to recovery.
Texas enters Saturday night’s contest as the 14th ranked team in the nation while Ole Miss is happy they have already matched their season total of a year ago. This game can serve as a jump start to their season as they prepare for conference play in two weeks vs. #1 Alabama.
A win against Texas would do wonders for the football program and give them the confidence that they can compete against the conference’s elite later in the season.
The last two seasons under Nutt were downright forgettable but a win Saturday night vs. one of the nation’s best teams would give the small southern town a memory they will never forget.
Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt
Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.