This matchup features a ton of NFL players as well as one phenomenal quarterback and another signal caller playing at the top of his game.
The 2003 team had a strong offensive line, a decent running game, good receivers, a bend but don't break defense, and Eli Manning.They went 7-1 in the SEC, losing only to eventual national champion LSU. This team is the reason for the south end zone. It's the reason for the indoor practice facility. This team propelled the city of Oxford into a major destination. Eli Manning was superb. A freshman Patrick Willis laid the wood on special teams. The defense wasn't spectacular, but it had its moments.
At the end of the season, the 2008 Ole Miss football team could have beaten any team in the country. The defense was fantastic, and the offense was explosive. Fades to Mike Wallace were common. Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge were reliable targets too. Brandon Bolden was a punishing runner as a freshman. Michael Oher had a miraculous season at left tackle. The offense was interesting, catching teams off guard. The defense was centered around the best defensive line in school history, one that featured Greg Hardy, Peria Jerry, Jerrell Powe, Kentrell Lockett, Ted Laurent, Marcus Tillman, Emmanuel Stephens, and many other good players. The linebackers were solid if not spectacular. The secondary featured four players who would play go on to play in the NFL with two of them earning multi-year starting positions at safety.
Both teams lost their share of mind-numbing games early. The 2003 squad lost to Memphis and Texas Tech. The 2008 group lost to Wake Forest and Vanderbilt. No one will ever understand.
So that's it. I've been debating this one myself for quite some time. Who wins?