[ED: This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011]
In the second actual part of the EA Sports series building up to the release of NCAA Football 2011, the cuppers take a look at their favorite rebel teams of all time. Interestingly, many share the same team. This could be because that team was awesome to watch, but it could also be because it's the team in which we've been most vested. As we revealed in the post about how we became fans, we haven't really been diehard fans for very long. Anyway, since I'm writing this, I get to go first, thus making my insight original. The others suck.
Juco: Honestly, the 2008 Rebels are my favorite team. I loved watching the multitude of highlights put up by the defense, and the offense was incredibly explosive. More than that were the games. That season saw us go from horrible lows (a devastating five turnover loss to Vanderbilt) to incredible highs (beating Florida in the swamp, beating LSU in Death Valley). It was also my final semester in Oxford, since I finished law school that December. A rollercoaster year that ended in an incredible come-from-behind devastation of Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, 2008 was incredible.
Ivory Tower: 2008. I made 12 of 14 gamed (missing only Wake Forest because no one would go with me and Arkansas because One Man got hitched). SEC football is so uch about our rivals and opponents. Travelling to Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge and Gainesville was a treat and a half. And here's your obligatory WAOM moment of self-pity: it's going to be a while before I see wins in the Swamp and on the Bayou with my own eyes in the same season again.
Brian Walker's Elbow: Since I have only been an Ole Miss fan since 2005, my options are limited. I would have to say that the 2008 team is my favorite. I was abroad at the time, and I followed as closely as I could in a third world country. Beating Florida was a highlight of my Rebel fandom, and the second half of that season was sensational. We steamrolled teams all the way to six consecutive victories to close out the season. I was actually watching a college football replay from 2008 the other day, and I saw that Texas Tech was at #2 in the BCS at one point that season. Luckily, I made it back from South America in time to go to that Cotton Bowl. However, that season does leave you thinking, "What happened to Jevan Snead?"
Ghost of Jay Cutler: 2008. After four miserable years and the embarrassment of the Ed Orgeron circus, a winning season was everything I needed to reaffirm my devotion to the Rebels. Interestingly enough, though, the early, humiliating, soul-crushing loss to Vanderbilt almost saw me swear off Ole Miss football forever. Almost. A week and one crying Tim Tebow later, I was born again. The wins over Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, and State were immensely satisfying. And a win over a highly-ranked, trash-talkin' Texas Tech squad in the Cotton Bowl was such an unbelievable way to cap off an unbelievable season. But, all of that aside, that season saw Ole Miss students, fans, coaches, and even players begin to once again take pride in Ole Miss. The complete overhaul of the Ole Miss situation is certainly why 2008 is undeniably my favorite year as a Rebel.
Now for something completely different, One Man To Beat: The 2009-2010 version of the Ole Miss Rebels will always be remembered for the pre-season hype they didn't live up to, however, I'll remember them for fighting through heaps of adversity. This is a team that kept fighting even when an SEC championship was out of reach. Losses to South Carolina, Alabama and Auburn did not keep them from throttling Tennessee for the first time EVER in Oxford. Winning against LSU and watching the Tigers come unraveled was fantastic. Chanting "Houston Nutt" as Arkansas fans exited Vaught-Hemingway was especially sweet. It was all topped off with another Cotton Bowl victory in Texas Stadium. Maybe not the season the analysts expected, but one I will always remember.
So that's our favorite team. Any of you more learned fans care to impart your infinite wisdom upon us with yours?