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Mental and physical toughness will be tested as Ole Miss travels to Arkansas

Coaching search rumors, cold temps and coming off a close loss - the Rebels mettle is pushed to the max

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

It’s impossible to know everything Ole Miss coaches are saying to players right now to allay coaching search rumors involving head coach Lane Kiffin.

Maybe it’s all a lot of social media noise that no longer phases the team, and for FBS, top 25 talent level players, each most likely has its own way of dealing with it. On top of the Auburn coaching search and Kiffin’s name being consistently listed as a candidate, there’s the loss to Alabama looming from last week and the Bama hangover effect. A College Football Playoff possibility went out the window though a 10-win season, which would be historic and in the preseason improbable, still remains.

Then, there’s the damned cold weather likely to rear its head come kickoff. Temperatures in Satan’s asscrack (aka Northwest Arkansas) are supposedly expected to dip into the teens late in the evening. As a Mississippian, typically you are in a duck blind, deer stand or staying at the house when temperatures get to those levels.

Physically and mentally, the Ole Miss trip to Arkansas will absolutely be the toughest test for this Rebels squad this season. Every game is a crucible of wills for each team to see when the opponent will break and give up, and the Hogs who sit at five wins on the season have bowl eligibility on the brain when the Rebels arrive on Saturday.

For anyone who has played football at a high level, this is nothing new, and fans and bloggeurs like yours truly are probably blowing it a little out of proportion. It does feel like this game has more than its fair share of distractions, however, and coaches who aren’t aware to deal with those could see a team devoid of attention to detail when it matters most in this game.

I have no doubt Ole Miss wants to win this game and the Egg Bowl to close out back to back 10-win seasons to continue a three year stretch of success unseen in Oxford in decades. The next two games are about cementing a legacy for a long time to come, and maybe that fact is enough to overcome all the other junk surrounding the game.