Why Ole Miss football is fascinating

By Bo Bounds

As Ole Miss prepares for a big year in 2009 – let’s take a look at how the Rebs got here.
First, having grown up in Jackson, MS, I will tell you this fan base is craving a championship year on the national stage. My good friends, who happen to be Ole Miss fans, have had their fathers tell them about the glory days since childhood. Ole Miss football has had some success the last 40 years, but nothing consistent.

2009 will be fascinating for several reasons in Mississippi. This fan base craves attention and winner more than any other I know. SEC football fans 40 years old and younger consider Ole Miss an average to below average SEC program. That drives the Ole Miss fan base crazy.

Ole Miss football 2009:

1.) The Expectations: Ole Miss fans have always felt like they are a football school since the 1950s and 1960s. The only problem is post 1970; Ole Miss has not proved it on the field. Now, with the best schedule in the league and some legitimate SEC championship talent – Reb fans are dreaming of the BCS.
2.) What didn’t get accomplished with Eli: A Southern fairy tale that didn’t come true. Reb fans thought Archie’s son would take them back to the glory days in football, but the Rebs fell short in 2003. Ole Miss went to two bowl games with #10 calling the shots. No bowl game Eli’s sophomore year was devastating. Year two was a trip to Shreveport and year three the Rebs played in the Cotton Bowl.
3.) The 2009 Schedule: Some C-USA, WAC and MWC teams will play tougher schedules than Ole Miss this year. And that’s ok – if you don’t go undefeated. I thought Florida’s schedule was a cakewalk last year. At least the Gators had to play Georgia and Florida State. If Ole Miss goes 9-3 with that schedule, the wheels will have fallen off.
4.) The Stars have aligned for Ole Miss: Reb fans believe they deserved that coveted SEC West Championship in 2003. Believe me, I understand. MSU was awful and Bama, Auburn and Arky were all down. The problem for Ole Miss fans in 2003 was Nick Saban was in his 4th year in Baton Rouge. During that time, Saban had built the best defense in the country. Could Saban get in the way again? Sure, but I don’t see it. Could LSU and Miles steal the West? Yes, but I believe they are a year away. Brad Edwards, with ESPN, picked Florida last year for one reason: Their schedule….not Tim Tebow or Urban Meyer.

I’ve never been around a fan base that needs this more than Ole Miss. They need to go to Atlanta and play on a national stage. Their rival (MSU) has played in 4 College World Series, 2 Sweet 16s, a Final 4 and the SEC Championship game since the cable boom in 1990. The Rebels believe this is their year. So do I.

Ole Miss has the coach, a rabid fan base and the facilities. Will 2009 be the year for the Red & Blue?

Bo Bounds is the host of the fast-paced, irreverent sports talk radio show: Out of Bounds on Supersport 930 in Jackson, MS.