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Countdown to Ole Miss football 2021: 48 days

How did the 1948 Ole Miss Rebels fare as reigning SEC champs?

Ole Miss fans, it’s now less than seven weeks until the Rebels hit the field against Louisville on Labor Day in the kickoff to the 2021 college football season.

The staff here at Red Cup is starting to ramp up a countdown using some historical facts and figures to give us a stroll down memory lane or drop some knowledge for those of us who aren’t 80+ years old and remember “the good ole days”.

Today’s portion of the countdown is the latter of those two sentiments — with 48 days until kickoff, let’s look at the 1948 Ole Miss Rebel football team.

By most accounts, this was an extremely successful season of football by any program’s standards. The ‘48 Rebels went 8-1 (6-1 SEC) to finish second in the conference and 15th nationally. It was somewhat to be expected, however, as second year head coach Johnny Vaught was working to defend Ole Miss’ 1947 SEC Championship title.

But somehow, this team was not invited to a bowl game, because well, there was only 14 bowl games that year. Some of the bowl games in 1948 sounded extremely lame as well, like the Salad Bowl between Drake and Arizona or the Raisin Bowl between Occidental and Colorado St.

Ole Miss Athletics

Despite the postseason snub, Ole Miss trounced in-state rival Mississippi St. 34-7 at then-named Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. The Rebels also stomped a mudhole in Baton Rouge against rival LSU, 49-19, which in those times of most run-based offense is truly a physical, emotional and mental beatdown.

Additionally, No. 18 Tennessee, led by Coach Robert Neyland, played Ole Miss in Memphis, Tenn. at Crump Stadium only to return to the Appalachian backwoods with a 16-13 loss to the Rebels. So that’s two coaches who later had their names attached to the universities’ stadiums pitted against each other in an all-time SEC showdown — that’s some rich historical content folks.

Ultimately, SEC charter member Tulane took down Ole Miss 20-7 in New Orleans, La. costing Vaught a perfect season. Fortunately, the Rebels host the Green Wave in Oxford in a couple months, and imo, it’s a great chance for revenge — and in all honesty, if you happen to know someone who attended that game, please introduce me to them, I’d love to host them in my tent.

So the countdown continues as SEC Media Days and our current head coach Lane Kiffin takes the stage later today. Keep checking the Cup for updates as there is no telling what our tanned and skilled fisherman coach may say next.