Ole Miss and Tennessee football have a long history dating back to 1902, which of course we all remember the Rebels fell to the Vols 11-10 in Memphis.
It would be 18 more winless games for the Rebels until the program finally broke through against Tennessee in 1947 when some new coach named Johnny Vaught was kicking ass and taking names all of the sudden.
The arrival of Vaught brought along a back and forth series and a decent rivalry between the two schools including the infamous “Archie Who?” game. Orange-clad Vol fans wore buttons in 1969 taunting the now college football legend quarterback paterfamilias Archie Manning, ending in a 38-0 blowout for the Rebels in Jackson.
Since the arrival of the 1980’s, the series has been very lopsided for Tennessee with only three Ole Miss breakthrough wins - once in 1983 in Knoxville and 2009 and 2014 victories in Oxford. The 2009 win if you don’t remember was when Dexter McCluster ran for approximately 2.4 miles of yards against an Ed Orgeron coached defensive line with Kiffin as the head coach. College football, my how the turntables have turned.
The Rebels and Volunteers have not played in Knoxville since 2010, which was a 52-14 massacre from QB Tyler Bray and a run of the mill UT squad that went 6-7 with a Music City Bowl loss. Yikes.
But now Ole Miss is favored by a field goal or so on the road against what will likely be a very loud and obnoxious Neyland Stadium. The school announced yesterday the “checkering” of Neyland where each section is orange or white, so that clearly adds some juice to the game. If you’re planning on being there in person, go to checkerneyland.com and definitely don’t wear the right color in your ticketed seat.
The absence of a win in Knoxville in almost 40 years is most likely due to the infrequency of when these teams play, but the entire staff of Red Cup was born after 1983 so needless to say, the program has a chance to make history most of us have never seen before.