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The Break Up: acknowledging the Ole Miss-Vandy series stoppage

The SEC scheduling overlords decided both schools need to say, “It’s not you, it’s me” to each other.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Last week, the SEC released the conference schedule for the 2024 season, giving those of us wandering in the June content desert delicious manna slop with which to work. Of note on Ole Miss’ schedule was the absence of Vanderbilt, our longtime pre-noon rivals.

The Rebels and Commodores will meet for the 98th time on the last weekend of October in the 2023 season, but any future meetings are undetermined. Those will be left to the rotational whims and potential nine-game conference schedules organized by our aforementioned SEC scheduling overlords.

The series break in 2024 will mark the first time Ole Miss has not played Vanderbilt since 1969. So if you were born in 1970 or after, one day a year for your entire life has involved dealing with the Ole Miss-Vandy game.

(brief aside)


Because the series is taking a pause after 53 consecutive years of football games that were a blend of lethargy, breakfast foods, agony, deep sighs, and the Three Daves, it’s important to recognize the break and reflect upon the past. Thankfully, the people behind the Ole Miss football Twitter account gave the pause its proper due.

Print the t-shirts.

With our respects paid, let’s look back through the series that was first played 129 years ago.

Origin Story

The year was 1894, and that crazy bastard Grover Cleveland was back in the White House for his second term after four-year break between terms that was not his idea. Ole Miss football, in its second year of existence, traveled to Nashville to play Vanderbilt for the first time.

After a road trip that was filled with navigating massive packs of 18-wheelers on I-40, Ole Miss may have been a little rattled. Or maybe they stunk. Who’s to say? Either way, Vanderbilt won the first meeting 40-0.

Given that Vanderbilt football had a three-year head start on Ole Miss (began in 1890), it seems logical Ole Miss needed a few years to catch up. The two teams played for the second time in 1899, with Ole Miss losing 11-0 (AN ELEVENER, PEOPLE).

The schools met a third time in 1900, with Ole Miss once again losing, but only 6-0. Granted, Ole Miss didn’t score in three tries, but look at the defensive progress. WE CAN BUILD ON THIS.

SPOILER: They did not. Here are the results of the next 16 games, all of which were played in Nashville.

  • Vanderbilt 29, Ole Miss 0 (1902)
  • Vanderbilt 33, Ole Miss 0 (1903)
  • Vanderbilt 69, Ole Miss 0 (1904)
  • Vanderbilt 29, Ole Miss 0 (1906)
  • Vanderbilt 60, Ole Miss 0 (1907)
  • Vanderbilt 29, Ole Miss 0 (1908)
  • Vanderbilt 17, Ole Miss 0 (1909)
  • Vanderbilt 9, Ole Miss 2 (1910)

No one, and I mean no one, holds Ole Miss scoreless for 11 straight games in a series.

  • Vanderbilt 21, Ole Miss 11 (1911)
  • Vanderbilt 24, Ole Miss 0 (1912)
  • Vanderbilt 91, Ole Miss 0 (1915)

SWEET MERCY. Did all of the able-bodied Ole Miss students go to Canada, join the Canadian army, and find themselves in the trenches of Flanders?

  • Vanderbilt 35, Ole Miss 0 (1916)
  • Vanderbilt 7, Ole Miss 0 (1925)
  • Vanderbilt 19, Ole Miss 7 (1929)
  • Vanderbilt 24, Ole Miss 0 (1930)
  • Vanderbilt 13, Ole Miss 7 (1939)

Ole Miss lost all of its first 19 games against Vanderbilt and was outscored 566-27. That’s an average score of 29.8-1.4 for two decades worth of games.

I plugged these numbers into my proprietary model that adjusts scores for things in the early 1900s like the ball being a sheep’s bladder, two or three people literally dying every game, and passing considered to be ungentlemanly conduct*. Folks, even with adjustments, it was still very bad.

*How dare you throw over the dead bodies on the field. Trample them like a real man!


On November 4, 1939, Ole Miss defeated Vanderbilt for the first time, winning 14-7 in Memphis. We don’t know what celebration took place after this historic win, but I am certain Ole Miss head coach Harry J. Mehre did the jitterbug in the locker room as his players played swing dance music around him.

A special shout-out to coach Mehre and his players avoiding the rat poison, as they went on the road the next week to beat Mississippi State Teachers College (pre-Southern Mississippi) in Hattiesburg. Probably thanks to all of the recovery cigarettes the training staff had them smoke throughout the week, per 1939 federal health recommendations.

Ole Miss also made program history the next year after going on the road and beating Vanderbilt in Nashville for the first time. It’s unclear if they celebrated on lower Broadway, but given the complaints from bachelorette parties about no pedal taverns available that weekend, it’s safe to assume they did.

After Ole Miss’ consecutive wins, the two teams met 9 times from 1942 to 1952, with Vanderbilt restoring order and posting a 6-2-1 record in those games. But starting in 1953, things were about to go in a different direction for a very long time.

To New Beginnings

From 1952 to 1991, the year before the SEC moved to 12 teams, Ole Miss posted a 30-5-2 record agains the Commodores. That stretch included a 10-game winning streak and a 19-game unbeaten streak (17 wins and 2 ties).

One of the ties was a 7-7 game in Nashville during the 1964 season. Despite knowing nothing about that game, I can confidently say it was one of the worst college football games of that decade.

The Modern Era

Sine 1992, Ole Miss is 21-10* against Vanderbilt. However, since 2004, that record is 10-8 because Ed Orgeron, Houston Nutt, Hugh Freeze, and Matt Luke.

*Technically, 19-10 overall because two wins during the Freeze era were vacated. But our count ain’t abide by the silliness of pretending games didn’t happen.

In fact, let’s get a roll call of Ole Miss coaches’ records against Vanderbilt during this time:

  • Billy Brewer 1-1
  • Joe Lee Dunn 1-0
  • Tommy Tuberville 4-0*
  • David Cutcliffe 5-1
  • Ed Orgeron 1-2
  • Houston Nutt 1-3 (lmao)
  • Hugh Freeze 3-2
  • Matt Luke 2-1
  • Lane Kiffin 3-0

*Coincidentally, it’s the same record he has against Utah senator Mike Lee when they rock-paper-scissors for the right to be Trump’s human footstool while he watches 12 hours of cable news a day.

You should also know that Houston Nutt and Ed Orgeron never scored more than 23 points against Vanderbilt. Legendary stuff, fellas.

Some Final Math

Ole Miss’ historical record against Vanderbilt is 55-40-2 (according to the cops, it’s officially 53-40-2). That means, of Vanderbilt’s 40 wins against Ole Miss, 15 have come since 1952, or, arranged differently, Vanderbilt has 15 wins in 70 years.

If Ole Miss had not engaged in 14 years of buffoonery, starting with Ed Orgeron, those numbers would be more in Ole Miss’ favor. My point being, I, for one, will miss them on the schedule when Ole Miss has a competent coaching staff that doesn’t have ups and downs against bad teams.

Notice I didn’t say miss the games because, friends, I will 100 percent not miss sitting through those games. I’m strictly speaking about results.

So drink in the automatic win this season because we don’t know when we’ll have it again.

A Parting Song

Vaya con Dios, Ole Miss/Vanderbilt (for now). You were too beautiful for anything but a morning kickoff under a cloudless sky and searing sun, roasting everyone alive at 92 degrees and 61 percent relative humidity.