Ole Miss was not ready for prime time 

September, 25, 2009

Lots of reaction came into the mailbag in the wake of No. 4 Ole Miss' losing at South Carolina on Thursday. Let's begin there.

From Paul in Orlando, Fla.: Ole Miss had no business being in the top five. They beat two garbage teams and yet that gets them in the top five?!? Houston Nutt was exposed as a lousy overrated coach and you all in the media got sucked in by it. Nice job forgetting your best player -- Dexter McCluster -- for three quarters and then coming out of a timeout on the game's critical play with 12 men on the field. Frauds!

No doubt, the Rebels showed they were not ready for prime time. They were incredibly sloppy Thursday night. South Carolina's offense was closer to being ready to play at game speed, whereas Ole Miss was just in a funk. And a lot of folks I know did see this coming -- they were wondering how a team that really hadn't been the heavyweight in a couple of generations would respond to top-dog status. Also, if you remember Nutt at Arkansas -- some people think he's better suited to be a spoiler than a top dog.

On Wednesday, I traded text messages with an Ole Miss staffer, who said the team had had only an "OK" week of practice. I asked whether he thought the burden of expectations might be getting to the team.

"I don't really know to be honest," he texted back.

To read the rest of Bruce's mailbag -- including comparisons between Mitch Mustain and Jeff Blake, and why Iowa fans apparently despise Bruce -- you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider