If you've been a fan of Ole Miss football for any significant stretch, you're quite familiar with the emotional whiplash related to that commitment and drain on your life expectancy. One minute you're drinking Dallas dry at back-to-back Cotton Bowls for the first time in 50 years (FIF-TY! FIF-TY!), and the next you're babbling incoherently as you lie facedown in a drainage ditch after one SEC win over two years (TWO! TWO!).
Right now, thanks to BEARS BE CHEATIN, times are very good. But as the scars on your psyche should remind you ("Can't wait to see the backups play against Jacksonville State!"), times have been much, much worse. In order to better appreciate how #blessed we Ole Miss fans are right now, we need to look back at some of the truly horrible football seasons in program history.
Since we don't have anything better to do over the rest of the summer, we'll be going back through the 10 worst teams in modern-ish Ole Miss football history.
This countdown will only include teams from the Billy Brewer era to present day because 1) I am lazy and care not for the research involved in all of that, and 2) it's more enjoyable to discuss teams that are more fresh in the minds of the majority of Ole Miss fans. However, I do find it impressive the 1905 team did not score a point (0-2) and the 1907 team was outscored 195-6 (0-6; almost beat Missouri Normal to avoid the winless season).
We'll typically just do one team/season per article, but we're gonna get things rolling by knocking out three in the first installment: the 1984, 1985 and 1987 Billy Brewer teams. Since these teams played 30 years ago, first-hand experience and audiovisual entertainment are somewhat lacking, so they get to share a post, like they shared misery.
10) 1984 (4-6-1 overall, 1-5 SEC)
Though this team was only outscored by nine points overall, the difference in SEC play was 148-115, which is a good way to only win one conference game. If you look at the schedule, you'll notice that they played five non-conference games and only one SEC game in Oxford, which, if that happened today, would lead to a mob physically removing the athletic director from his office, throwing him in a dumpster, pushing the dumpster into a lake, and then setting the lake on fire.
As for that lone Oxford SEC game, behold the majesty of 1980s Ole Miss football!
The really depressing part is that the stadium was still six years away from getting lights and would look essentially the same for another 14 years. But in not-as-depressing images, a blurry shot of Dog Brewer walking the team through The Grove.
Point deductions for waiting until he got in the stadium to put on his red pants.
The 1984 team was also the last Ole Miss team to play Southern Mississippi, because if the Rebels were going to keep losing to a Conference USA-like team, they'll damn well do it an hour from home in the Liberty Bowl.
Finally, the Egg Bowl that year was between two teams with one SEC win between them (Mississippi State upset LSU the week before), yet the powers that be decided it was a game worthy of appearing on televisions across our fine land. After countless Google searches, I am unable to confirm if these TV executives were later indicted for war crimes.
9) 1985 (4-6-1 overall, 2-4 SEC)
Quite an impressive feat to score 115 points in SEC games for the second straight year (while giving up 172; SEC margin of defeat jumped from 5.5 points/game to 9.5) and post the same bizarre 4-6-1 record. After a little bit of research, I learned it was a season of very odd things.
First, in the second game of the season against Arkansas in Jackson, your halftime score:
WE'VE GOT A FIVER, PEOPLE.
But the madness didn't stop there.
WE'VE GOT AN ELEVENER, PEOPLE.
Could that be topped?
Never doubt the power of a football program that has the ability to throw up consecutive 4-6-1 seasons.
It's also worth noting that in an era when most offenses considered passing an extension of the DANG LIBERAL AGENDA, Ole Miss was out-rushed 2,032 to 971 and averaged 2.4 yards/carry FOR THE SEASON. In an effort to overcome that ground game deficit, five separate players for the Rebels combined to throw 16 interceptions.
8) 1987 (3-8 overall, 1-5 SEC)
After the 1986 season, Ole Miss was placed on probation (Billy Brewer's first experience, but not his last), which set the tone for what would be a brutal year. Outscored in SEC games 207-108 (average loss of 34.5-18), there were very few causes for celebration in the fall of 1987, outside of thrashing what must've been a miserable Vanderbilt team.
Highlights from that season include losing to Kentucky 35-6 (and quarterback Mark Young throwing four interceptions in the process), remembering what one of the end zones at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium looked like:
And fans showing up for non-conference games like it was Ed Orgeron's last year in Oxford: