It’s been nine years since Ole Miss and South Carolina put the ball down to decide who could claim mediocre superiority. If you’re like me and someone mentions 2009, I think that feels like it was about three years ago.
Turns out, 2009 was nine years ago! For some perspective on how long it’s been since the Rebels and Gamecocks STEPPED INTO THE SQUARED CIRCLE (or something similar), at the time of their last meeting, Steve Spurrier was still the HBC and Houston Nutt was considered a non-trash head coach. REPEAT: Houston Nutt was not yet thought of (outside of Arkansas message boards) as a destroyer of football programs.
Since the dawn of time, Ole Miss and South Carolina have met only 15 times, with Ole Miss winning eight of those contests. However, South Carolina has won the last two, which broke Ole Miss’ winning streak of five (during the brief stretch of 1981 to 2004, which, what the hell?).
I have no idea what will happen on Saturday in yet another weird meeting between these teams (other than regret), but let us recall previous weird meetings, most of which no one has any recollection of, which is probably for the best.
Ole Miss entertained South Carolina in Memphis and stunted all over the haters to the tune of 33-0. While Ole Miss would go on to win the SEC that year, they did turn around and lose to Vanderbilt, 10-6, in the Jefferson Pilot game the following week. Sorry.
Call me crazy, but when you trash an opponent 33-0, maybe get them back on the schedule sooner than 25 years? Ole Miss, an institution that has never excelled in making good decisions, decided to wait until the 70s before calling up the Gamecocks for some follow-up rounds.
The two teams would collide seven times in this decade, which was marked by years of criminally incompetent* Rebel athletic department management AND South Carolina posting a 5-2 record over Ole Miss in that stretch. On a personal level, I would love to hear stories from people who voluntarily sat through South Carolina’s 10-7 win in Oxford in 1974.
*Look, I know people are upset on the net and in real life with Ross Bjork and the Ole Miss athletic department (and I’m not saying they’re wrong), but if you want to make yourself feel better, go look at the administration from 1970-Warner Alford’s dumb ass. We should’ve been kicked out of the SEC long ago for excessive Good Ol’ Boy Syndrome.
Though the Rebels and Gamecocks only met once during this decade, it should be known that Ole Miss dunked on those fools 20-13 in 1981. That’s right, the Rebels beat the Gamecocks in Columbia, just under three months before they would lose to Hawaii in the Aloha Bowl. There’s not a lot to say beyond that.
REAL TALK: I’ve gone to Ole Miss football games for at least the last 200 years, give or take. I have no doubt that I attended the 1998 version of this game, in which Ole Miss prevailed 30-28. HOWEVER, I have no recollection of this game at all.
Given the close score, I assume I hated everything that day and wished for me to not care about Ole Miss football. I’m also alarmed I cannot recall anything from that day. DID IT EVEN HAPPEN? YES, IT DID, AND THE REBELS WON, HAHA!
The following year, South Carolina finished 0-11, with Ole Miss contributing a 36-10 loss to that spectacular effort. That would also be the same Ole Miss team with multiple players who made it into the NFL that lost four games by a total of 15 points and tell me again how great David Cutcliffe is as a developer of professional talent.
Speaking of David Cutcliffe, how about the game Ole Miss nearly lost(!) In 2003?! The Rebels had a commanding 43-14 lead in the third quarter against South Carolina, yet the final score was 43-40. As someone who was there, it wasn’t a great experience!
The following season, Ole Miss traveled to Columbia. If you recall, the Rebels unloaded the quarterback rotation of MIcheal Spurlock, Robert Lane, and Ethan Flatt, LITERALLY ON EVERY PLAY someone new was coming in. I was there and no one knew what the hell was going on.
The Rebels escaped with a 31-24 win in Columbia via Bill Flowers and Ethan Flatt on fourth down play from the 25-yard line. The delicious part of that touchdown was that Ole Miss ran the same play they ran on third down.
In 2008, Houston Nutt’s Ole Miss team defeated Florida 31-30 in Gainesville and made Tim Tebow produce tears of improvement. The next week, Nutt’s Ole Miss team lost to South Carolina 31-24 at home. It’s almost like Houston Nutt was bad at his job!
The 2008 loss, while emotionally crippling, paled in comparison to what was in store in 2009. If you recall, Ole Miss was a top-five preseason team and had visions of winning the SEC (WHAT FOOLS WE WERE).
Ole Miss opened the 2009 season with Memphis and Southeastern Louisiana. As expected, the Rebels came out of that 2-0, but it wasn’t a comfortable 2-0 start.
However, any Ole Miss fan who knew their stuff understood that the entire season hinged on the third game of the year, which was a Thursday night game in Columbia against South Carolina.
Win that game and maybe Ole Miss lives up to its preseason billing. Lose and the sky was the limit, including losing to a 4-7 Mississippi State team by two touchdowns.
Pray tell, how did that game go?
Ole Miss spent the better part of the game not getting the ball to its best player in Dexter McCluster and throwing incomplete passes with Jevan Snead, who was 7 of 21 for 107 yards. Take away his 45-yard touchdown pass to Markeith Summers, and the 6 of 20 for 62 yards is really special.
On a positive note, Ole Miss was in attendance for South Carolina breaking the record for the most times Sandstorm has ever been played in a three-hour stretch. The previous record was two, and the Gamecocks cleared it by 127.
The good news is the probability of hearing Sandstorm on Saturday is pretty low. However, the probability of South Carolina extending their win streak to three over Ole Miss is high enough that bars in Columbia will likely treat their patrons with a rendition or 50 of South Carolina’s new alma mater.