Friday, December 2, 2022

Vassallo: Which Vanderbilt Team Will Show Up Saturday?

The Ole Miss Rebels vs the Vanderbilt Commodores at LP Field in Nashville on Sept. 6, 2014. ( file photo)

The Ole Miss – Vanderbilt series has been one of streaks that have far greater defined the current status of Rebel football more than Vandy’s through the years.

Having grown up in Nashville, I have seen this matchup more times than any other opponent except Memphis. This year I will see them both again. Ironically, my first time ever to see Ole Miss play in person (1964) was in Nashville. That year the game ended in a 7-7 tie. However, I was hooked for life when All American Allen Brown scored on a long pass from Jimmy Weatherly to catch Vandy in the second half.

Going into Saturday’s game where the Rebs are a solid four touchdown favorite, Vandy is 6-4 in the preceding ten games including three straight from 2010-2012. During this era of the rivalry, Ole Miss football was adrift until Freeze & Co. entered the scene and Franklin & Co. exited the Nashville scene. If this doesn’t tell us something about leadership, nothing will.

In the 13 games played prior to this set (1993-2004) Ole Miss was 12-1 with the only blemish being an OT loss in 1999. I aforementioned the 1964 tie included in the 1953-1973 streak, which saw Ole Miss never lose during this 21 year period! This was the Rebels’ Golden Era which was truly reflected by dominance over the Commodores. In fact, beginning in 1955, Ole Miss shut out Vanderbilt seven consecutive years until Vandy scored a touchdown in Oxford in 1963 while losing 27-7 to the eventual SEC Champions that season.

Going into this weekend’s contest Ole Miss is No. 1 in the SEC Power Rankings whereas Vanderbilt is 14th. The Commodores are still trying to determine who they are this season with only a 47-7 victory over Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tennessee) thus far. They did play well against Georgia at home two weeks ago losing 31-14 in the process. The Power Rankings are predicting a 48 point Ole Miss victory. Vegas has it at half this number so we’ll see who is correct come late Saturday night.

An Ole Miss victory Saturday would give the Rebs three straight wins and begin a new streak although very young in the process. Last year’s win in Nashville (41-3) was a mismatch from the get go, a game in which Vandy was never competitive. Hopefully, Saturday will be more of the same and is expected to be so.

A little bit of trivia to entertain our fans…..The first game between these two was in 1894. They have faced each other in Nashville; Oxford; Memphis; and Jackson. There was only one game in Jackson (1966, I was there) where the Rebs won 34-0. The first game in Oxford was in 1948. In Oxford games Ole Miss leads 22-6. And last but not least, Vanderbilt has been the Ole Miss Homecoming opponent more than any other team (18 times) with the Rebs holding a commanding 16-2 advantage.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at or call him at 985-852-7745.