I’m sure we can all think back approximately a century to the olden days of Ole Miss football as we hurtle into the 2021 college football season.
Yes, for our countdown to Ole Miss football is now at a mere 28 days or four weeks, and the staff at Red Cup along with every other Rebel fan is on pins and needles at this point thinking about kickoff on Labor Day versus Louisville.
But for the number 28 on our countdown, I decided we’d take another historical journey to a time when having way too many teams in a conference wasn’t a debated topic on ESPN but a reality - it’s time for a recap of the 1928 Ole Miss football team.
Head coach Homer Hazel, who was later inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, led the Rebels in 1928 in his fourth season at the helm. I think it was Hazel who really charted the course for future Ole Miss head coaches as he notched 5-5, 5-4, and 5-3-1 seasons just doing his part to kind of meet expectations and slowly improve but also not win a conference championship.
The Rebels were a member of the 22-team Southern Conference, which is maybe the direction the SEC is headed in future seasons. Teams like Washington and Lee, Virginia Military Institute, Sewanee and the THEN NAMED Virginia Polytechnic Institute Gobblers (later to be known at Virginia Tech) were also in the conference though none of them played Ole Miss.
In this bizarre ‘28 season, there was nine games only two of which were home games for Ole Miss in Oxford, leading to wins over Arkansas (25-0) and Clemson (26-7). Through a seven game road schedule, Tennessee clipped the Rebels by one point, were blanked by Alabama, lost to LSU in Red Stick, and stumbled to Loyola by 20 in New Orleans.
The 5-4 Rebels of 1928 did have the pleasure of squeaking by Mississippi A&M 20-19 to close the season on a winning note. This was the second year of the official Egg Bowl trophy, which remains a tradition to this day.
While Ole Miss didn’t capture a conference title, the squad featured one of the more talented athletes in school history at the time in Gerald “Gee” Walker who was honorable mention All American in ‘28. All he did after that was go on to a prolific pro baseball career and amass nearly 2,000 hits with the Detroit Tigers and a few other teams. Seems pretty good iyam!
Ultimately, college football looks markedly different compared to the Wing T days of the roaring 20’s, but it doesn’t change the rabidness with which we wait for the first game.
And now, we’re officially 28 days out.