Top 25 Intel: No. 7 Ole Miss

An old quarterback and a rising star have found good chemistry in Oxford. 

Houston Nutt wasn't quite sure what he was getting himself into, in the beginning.

"They didn't have that spirit that you need, but when you don't win in conference for a ton of years, I don't know," said Nutt, searching for the words. "The mindset, it was worse than we thought. Confidence was bad. You need something good to happen."

It happened in Oxford, Miss., but Nutt could have been talking about another place as well.

In 1998, when Nutt took the helm at Arkansas, the Razorbacks were coming off back-to-back 4-7 seasons under Danny Ford. Nutt came in and led Arkansas to 9-3 and 8-4 records, respectively, in his first two seasons. Maybe he was too successful in Fayetteville, Ark. His personal goals and high expectations became the programs', and as good as he was, to some, it wasn't enough. He left Arkansas, and became the Rebels' head coach in 2007.

Last year, his first with Ole Miss, the team fell to 2-2 after a home defeat to Vanderbilt. Then the Rebels went into "The Swamp," and miraculously pulled out a 31-30 win over the No. 1 Florida Gators. It was both a revelation and vintage Nutt. He had turned their losers gait into a swagger once again.

The rest is recent history. And hopefully the trend.

To read the rest of Top 25 Intel, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider