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COLUMN: Celebrating Ole Miss’ success

Let’s recap the past week or so for the Ole Miss Rebels.

Beating Alabama on their home turf last Saturday night, beating Alabama in back to back years for the first time ever, moving up 12 spots in The Associated Press Top 25 poll and being tied for third with TCU. To top all of it off, Ole Miss was featured on the cover of last week’s Sports Illustrated magazine.

For the second year in a row, the Ole Miss Rebels did the impossible by beating Alabama, 43-37, in front of a loud and boisterous crowd of 101,821 fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The last time we beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa was in October 1988, under head coach Billy Brewer. Shawn Sykes scored the winning touchdown, rambling 10 yards on that famous 42-trap play that so many fans remember. 

After defeating Vanderbilt 27-16 last night, the Rebels are 4-0 heading into a night game next Saturday against the Florida Gators at the Swamp in Gainesville. Everyone is looking ahead on the schedule to the LSU game, but we know there is a tough schedule to play between now and then. Every week the Rebels need to stay focused. I have been an Ole Miss fan for a long time and I have seen the disappointment of a crushing loss after a big win.

To even see Ole Miss ranked in the top five of The Associated Press Poll is surreal. I was watching a couple of the talk shows on ESPN this week, and several of the reporters voiced their opinion that Ole Miss is the best team in the nation at this time. Who would ever think we would see an AP Top 25 poll in which Ole Miss is ranked ahead of Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M?

Ole Miss is presently ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Football Power Index.

The team also received 11 first-place votes in Associated Press’ poll. Michigan State, who is ranked number two in the AP poll, only received seven first-place votes.

I have watched the replay of the Ole Miss-Alabama game three times now, and I am sure many true Ole Miss fans have done the same. To watch Alabama fans leave the stadium during the game because they were losing was a new experience for many. The Rebels now believe they can play with any SEC team and win.

Everyone who attended the game said the atmosphere was electric and the stadium was rocking. Eric Church, who I like as a country singer, was the guest picker. He visited the joyful Ole Miss locker room after the game to watch head coach Hugh Freeze do his victory dance. Fortunately, for us, he picked Alabama. Of course, Lee Corso donned the elephant headgear. However, in my opinion, no one will ever be a better guest picker than Katy Perry. 

For once the football seemed to bounce our way. What an unbelievable catch made by Quincey Adeboyejo that bounced off two defenders and the hands of Laquon Treadwell! People talk about the Alabama offense giving our defense five turnovers, but they earned all of them.

Congratulations to the Rebel coaches and players for making last week an amazing week. I bet every Ole Miss fan in Rebel Nation had a little extra bounce in their step.

Hotty Toddy! 

Tim Phillips is publisher of the EAGLE and can be reached at tim.phillips@oxfordeagle.com.