Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Voyage Inside Nine Straight SEC Losses

On Saturday, Ole Miss plays Arkansas and, barring the emergence of a competent offense and defense or roughly seven Arkansas turnovers that all get returned for touchdowns, will probably lose.  It will mark the 10th straight SEC loss for the Rebels under Houston Nutt.  Last Saturday's loss to Alabama made Nutt the first Ole Miss coach in the history of the school to lose nine consecutive SEC games, a seemingly impossible feat when you remember that Ed Orgeron once coached at Ole Miss.

As jarring as nine straight conferences losses is, what's really unsettling is just how uncompetitive Nutt's teams have been during this streak.  In the last nine SEC games, Ole Miss has been outscored 346-165, which works out to be an average score of 38.4-18.3.  He's lost his last nine SEC games by an average of 20 points.  20!  And in those nine games, only two of the games have been lost by fewer than 10 points.  I repeat, Ole Miss has been within 10 points at the end of an SEC game in its last nine tries only twice, an eight-point loss to Mississippi State and a seven-point loss to LSU in 2010.

Digging deeper into the numbers, a few other gems of ineptitude to behold during this streak:

-Opponents have scored at least 51 points three times
-Opponents have scored at least 30 points seven times
-Ole Miss has scored 14 points or fewer five times
-Ole Miss has failed to score more than seven points twice
-Alabama has outscored Ole Miss 75-17
-Vanderbilt has outscored Ole Miss 58-21

No, that last one is not a typo.  VANDERBILT is averaging beating Ole Miss by 18.5 points a game during this time (29-10.5).  That's three possessions, assuming two-point conversions.  THREE.  TO VANDERBILT.  ASSUMING TWO-POINT CONVERSIONS, WHICH WE PROBABLY WOULDN'T MAKE.

And the streak has a real chance of reaching 14.  Road games at Auburn and Kentucky follow Arkansas, a home game with LSU is after Kentucky, and the season ends against Mississippi State in Starkville.  Of those, Kentucky and State are the only winnable games, but given the Ole Miss defense's complete lack of ability to stop any form, no matter how poor, of a read-option offense, I'm not sure you can consider the State game winnable.

Ed Orgeron was fired because he had no clue how to run a football team.  Houston Nutt has now surpassed the failures of Orgeron, producing even less competitive teams, and should meet the same fate as Orgeron at the end of the year, if not sooner.  So, in the last month and a half we have left with Nutt, remember these numbers, and those that will surely be added to the totals in the next few weeks, when he mentions back-to-back Cotton Bowl wins on his way out the door.  Yes, coach, we did have some good times together, but now, thanks to you, Ed Orgeron can one day look back on his head coaching career and say, well, at least I never made Ole Miss look that bad.

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