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Countdown to Ole Miss football: The 30s and one month


NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

When this countdown started what feels like 18 months ago, it reminded me of a Michael Scott quote.

Scott, the one-time brave* leader of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, once said:

Sometimes I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.

*Darryl once said to Michael: “Mike, you’re a very brave man. I mean it takes courage just to be you. To get out of bed every single day, knowing full well you got to be you.”

Also, for all writers out there, it’s important to make multiple pop culture references that are over a decade old.

This countdown was always going to happen because the content thirst is never quenched, but I had no intention of it featuring decades in the 20th century. I found that along the way.

I mention that because we are now in the 30s, and, if you remember anything from history classes, it was not a real super great time for a lot of people. The Great Depression dominated the decade (with a guest appearance by The Dust Bowl), making life miserable for a prolonged period for so many.

The other area your history teacher(s) probably touched on was the rise of the Nazis in Germany, who still have some big fans in the United States, and Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 to start World War II.

My point of this mini-history recap is that tying this decade into Ole Miss football was a JOURNEY. Fortunately, my Ole Miss powers kicked in, and I remembered that perhaps the most important event related to Ole Miss sports happened in the 1930s — the end of Prohibition.

Not that Prohibition stopped Ole Miss fans from drinking, but the end of it relieved them of drinking with their heads on a swivel, always looking out for the Baptists cops.

The on-edge drinking came to an end December 5, 1933, when the 21st Amendment was ratified, telling the 18th Amendment to, in the words of The Righteous Gemstones’ Uncle Baby Billy, “Go outside, nerd.”

And that, friends, is a long way of saying, to document being 30 days away from the start of Ole Miss football 2023, we’re listing 30 games related to the most alcohol consumption.

The consumption could be because of celebration, disaster, or the game starts at 8 PM, what else am I supposed to do. Just like last week’s player pool, we’re limiting the range because, based on my rough math, there are like 9 billion options.

With that in mind, let’s set the range starting in 1999, which was David Cutcliffe’s first year. Please note, these games are not ranked, but they are in chronological order and broke the “well now, that’s a lot of booze” threshold.

September 18, 1999 - Vanderbilt 37, Ole Miss 34 (OT)

Obviously, we start with alcohol consumption fueled by disaster. What made this loss particularly depressing was that Ole Miss’ first-year head coach, fresh off helping Tennessee win a national title, lost to a bottom feeder in his third game (3rd) with a roster talented enough to win the SEC West. It was NOT GREAT, BOB.

November 25, 1999 - Mississippi State 23, Ole Miss 20

After blowing a 20-6 fourth-quarter lead, Ole Miss had the ball on their own 24 with 20 seconds left, tied at 20. Cutcliffe, who had taken heat earlier in the year for running out the clock in a similar situation, decided to not be David Cutcliffe and push the ball down the field.

Quarterback Romaro Miller delivered a perfect underthrow, which was batted, then kicked in the air, and you know the rest.

December 31, 1999 - Ole Miss 27, Oklahoma 25

The last college football game of the 20th century, and it was New Year’s Eve in Shreveport when Y2K was going to destroy everything. In other words, the perfect storm.

October 13, 2001 - Ole Miss 27, Alabama 24

First time to beat Alabama since 1988, and Eli Manning and company did it in a driving rain.

November 3, 2001 - Arkansas 58, Ole Miss 56 (7 OTs)

Strictly based on the length of the game, followed by the realization you invested that much time into a game Ole Miss never should’ve lost. KEEP POURING.

October 5, 2002 - Ole Miss 17, Florida 14

Let us choose to ignore that Florida finished the 2002 season 8-5. Instead, let’s focus on the 6th-ranked Gators coming to Oxford, and the Ole Miss defense scoring 9 points in the upset win.

October 18, 2003 - Ole Miss 43, Alabama 28

Whenever you absolutely kick Alabama’s ass, you act accordingly. Ole Miss led this game 41-16 with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, which checks all the boxes for an ass-kicking.

November 8, 2003 - Ole Miss 24, Auburn 20

A dramatic late win on The Plains...

...and the Rebels were in the driver’s seat for the SEC West title. Surely, nothing would go wrong!

November 22, 2003 - LSU 17, Ole Miss 14

Ah, well, nevertheless.

We are coming up on the 20th anniversary of that game, and it still triggers the Platoon music with flashbacks in my brain. Probably a sign I didn’t drink enough.

January 2, 2004 - Ole Miss 31, Oklahoma State 28

New Year’s in Dallas, first January bowl game since the Kennedy administration, and Eli’s final game. Again, that checks most of the boxes.

September 24, 2005 - Wyoming 24, Ole Miss 14

Watching a defensive line averaging 260 pounds a man push around an alleged SEC offensive line was a harrowing experience. Then there was the quarterback duo of Michael Spurlock and Robert Lane combining to go 12 of 29 for 120 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs.


September 30, 2006 - Georgia 14, Ole Miss 9

Let’s check the ingredients here:

  • Ole Miss was 1-3 and bad
  • The game started at 8 PM
  • It was a close game and upset delusion fueled the consumption

That will do it. On a personal note, that was one of the drunkest crowds I can remember in The Grove and stadium. I remember people walking through the stadium gates with beer cans/bottles in hand (not in a cup!) and no one said anything because everyone had lost hope.

September 27, 2008 - Ole Miss 31, Florida 30

No commentary other than David Kellum’s call when Ole Miss stopped Tim Tebow on fourth down.

November 22, 2008 - Ole Miss 31, LSU 13

There’s nothing like chasing down some beverages with the tears of the LSU post-game call-in show.

January 2, 2009 - Ole Miss 47, Texas Tech 34

I’ve documented this before, but Ole Miss fans set alcohol buying records at the Hyatt Regency Dallas bar:

  • New Year’s Eve: $26,000
  • January 1st: $27,000
  • January 2nd: $29,000

I spent no money there, but I do remember making a significant contribution to another drinking establishment’s light bill for the month.

November 14, 2009 - Ole Miss 42, Tennessee 17

Look, if Dexter McCluster is going to set school records, then it is our duty to match his performance.


September 4, 2010 - Jacksonville State 49, Ole Miss 48 (2 OT)

Drink because the Houston Nutt era is over, and we can’t fire him for at least another year.

September 15, 2012 - Texas 66, Ole Miss 31

Another 8 PM kickoff, but this Saturday involved welcoming Texas to Oxford for the first time. Texas fans showed up in large numbers, and that afternoon in The Grove was ELITE boozing. That continued after leaving at halftime to go to the bar.

November 24, 2012 - Ole Miss 41, Mississippi State 24

An Egg Bowl win is always nice, but this one got Ole Miss to 6-6 and a Birmingham bowl game, signaling that Hugh Freeze was on his way to turning things around from the disastrous end of the Houston Nutt era.

September 14, 2013 - Ole Miss 44, Texas 23

Ole Miss’ first trip to Austin, and it resulted in a thrashing of the highest order. The Rebels were actually down 23-17 at half (after leading 14-0; PEAK HUGH FREEZE), before rattling off 27 unanswered and probably getting another Mack Brown assistant coach fired.

October 19, 2013 - Ole Miss 27, LSU 24

I forget how many defensive starters Ole Miss was missing (we’ll say 15), but they had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter and did everything in their power to lose the game, before kicking a last-second field goal to win.

A classic blend of house money drinking, party drinking because you think you’re gonna blow them out, nervous energy drinking, relief drinking, and ACTUALLY IT WASN’T THAT CLOSE drinking.

October 4, 2014 - Ole Miss 23, Alabama 17

Legendary performances from everyone in Oxford that day. Handshakes all around.

October 25, 2014 - LSU 10, Ole Miss 7

Yet another 8 PM kickoff, and I remember being so worked up over Freeze trying to win the game 7-3, that after the inevitable 10-7 loss, I trudged to the gas station near my house, bought a six-pack, and walked around my neighborhood for the next hour or so tilting them back.

A very healthy and mature response!

September 19, 2015 - Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37

The first win in the graveyard of Ole Miss football since 1988 and back-to-back wins that launched hundreds of thousands of filled diapers. So yeah, things got AGGRESSIVE.

November 7, 2015 - Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 (OT)

Not only did we endure the 4th-and-25 experience*, we saw our chance for Atlanta evaporate. A real 2-for-1 special from the college football scriptwriters.

*When the desperation lateral hit the ground, there were 11 players in the area:

  • 5 Arkansas offensive linemen
  • 1 Arkansas quarterback
  • 1 Arkansas running back
  • 4 Ole Miss defensive players

That meant, based on the random bounce of an oblong ball, each player had a 9.1 percent chance of getting the ball. Of the seven Arkansas players, only one had the physical ability to gain 25 yards. Naturally, it bounced right to him.

January 1, 2016 - Ole Miss 48, Oklahoma State 20

New Orleans, New Year’s, and the Sugar Bowl for the first time in most of our lives. An ideal situation.

September 29, 2018 - LSU 45, Ole Miss 16

The official recognition it was a matter of time until Matt Luke was fired, but that firing was at least a year away, most likely two.

Trailing 28-3 with a few seconds before halftime, Luke’s offense had a fourth-and-goal from the LSU 1. He chose to kick a field goal to make it 28-6 at half.

One of the more depressing moments I can recall, knowing Ole Miss football was going nowhere until he was gone.

October 10, 2020 - Alabama 63, Ole Miss 48

The COVID year, Ole Miss is in a rebuilding mode, and hang on, now they’re landing haymakers against Alabama. The alcohol situation went from we’re fine to EMERGENCY STORE RUN in a flash.

October 16, 2021 - Ole Miss 31, Tennessee 26

Spritzing my drink with Tennessee fans’ rage tears.

November 13, 2021 - Ole Miss 29, Texas A&M 19

It was freezing (FREEZING), and an Ole Miss team missing multiple wide receivers hosted a top-15 Texas A&M team, led by a man holding at least 500 sheets of loose-leaf paper.

There were toasts for warmth and that Jimbo Fisher would reign for 1,000 years in College Station.