The 2007 college football season was a sublime doozy. Nick Saban lost to Louisiana Monroe. Appalachian State upset Michigan in stupendously Wolverines fashion. USF was ranked No. 2 for a time. Pitt completed the most stunning college football upset of all time.
And in Oxford, Miss., one Ed Orgeron — head coaching successor to David Cutcliffe — led the Ole Miss Rebels to a 3-9 record before mercifully receiving the ax, having failed utterly to tally an in-conference SEC win. (This was also the year that the “S-E-C S-E-C S-E-C!” chant was born, but Rebel football would contribute not a whit to its installment in the fabric of college football).
That 2007 campaign with Orgeron at the helm would prove to be the most disappointing season of Ole Miss football in modern memory, only to be outdone and supplanted by Houston Nutt’s 2011 effort, which saw the Rebs turn in two wins on the way to their second winless-in-conference-play season in four years. Those are two startlingly poor efforts, and we’d probably be better off emotionally and psychologically to forget it all ever happened, but sometimes it’s just as well to rip the bandaid off those memories and remind ourselves just how low we once were.
We’ve been here before, but we’re masochists and tragedians, so let’s do it again.
Ole Miss lost to Georgia and Arkansas by a combined 64 points.
Nutt’s Razorpigs ran the ball 54 times for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Ole Miss, conversely, ran the ball 35 times for 90 yards and no scores. Arkansas out-gained Ole Miss overall, 437-279, and killed the Rebs in the turnovers department, 4-1. Running out of the Nutt-invented Wildcat rushing attack, Felix Jones scored twice and put up 101 yards. Somehow, Darren McFadden failed to find the end zone that day, despite his 110 yards of rushing gains.
On Ole Miss’ side, the law firm BenJarvus Green-Ellis handed in an 84-yard day for no touchdowns. The Rebs’ lone touchdown came in garbage time — a 37-yard Brent Schaeffer pass to Mike Wallace, then a two-point conversion — and that was soon answered by a 48-yard bomb from Nathan Emert to Chris Baker.
We’ll forget entirely about the tire fire that was the Georgia loss (45-17, Georgia), but not before the other Bulldogs tuned up Ole Miss for 17 points in the second quarter and 21 points in the fourth. Remember Matthew Stafford? Yeah, Orgeron surely does.
Ole Miss beat Memphis and Northwestern State by a combined nine points. NINE.
Northwestern State hung 31 points on the defense, outscored them 17-7 in the fourth quarter, and still took home a one-possession loss. What?
The best of the rest is wholly forgettable.
A 17-point loss to top-ranked LSU? Sure. A 17-14 loss to Mississippi State in Starkville? Of course. They scared the hell out of Alabama, though, forcing a Leigh Tiffin field goal with five minutes to go to seal the deal for the Tide. They shut out Louisiana Tech, 24-0, and took a 38-25 loss to a fledgling Missouri club — which was, of course, still nominally a member of the Big 12 — after putting a scare into Florida, 30-24, whose quarterback would go on to win that year’s Heisman.
They still got that Memphis W, though. Undefeated start, y’all.