If there were such a thing as the Hot Seat Bowl, it would be played this Saturday in Oxford, Miss. Georgia's Mark Richt needs an SEC win in the worst way, but the guy he's coaching against, Ole Miss' Houston Nutt, is right there with him.
Today's Take Two topic: Who needs this game the most -- Richt or Nutt?
Take 1: Edward Aschoff
Saturday’s game between Georgia and Ole Miss is a big one as far as the psyche of both teams. On one side, you have a Georgia team that expected to compete for an SEC championship, but has started 1-2 and has more questions on both sides of the ball than we expected. On the other, you have an Ole Miss team that was blasted by its athletics director for not having enough passion after a 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt over the weekend.
The Rebels aren’t clicking on offense and the offensive line has profoundly under-performed. Ole Miss needs this win, but Georgia needs it more. The Bulldogs enter this game as the favorites and they should be. There is more all-around talent on Georgia’s team and this is still a squad that can achieve its goal of reaching the SEC title game. Georgia is 9-5 all-time in Oxford, Miss., and has won eight straight over the Rebels. A loss to an Ole Miss team that was literally run out of Nashville, Tenn., would be a huge step back for Georgia.
If you thought Richt’s seat in Athens, Ga., was hot after the loss to South Carolina, it might actually ignite into flames if the Rebels come out on top Saturday. A loss puts the Bulldogs at 0-2 in conference play and makes their uphill battle even steeper. With the East as average as it is this season, Georgia isn’t out of the race by any means, but it still can’t afford to lose a game like this. Mentally, I’m not sure this team could take it, and it’s never easy to come back in the SEC race.
Take 2: Chris Low
All those people counting Nutt out might want to go back and check his track record when his back is pushed to the wall. Coming off that embarrassing 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt last week, Nutt might as well be pasted to that wall. It’s to the point now that just winning a game of this nature might not be enough for Nutt to survive. He needs to win several of them, and this team needs to show vast improvement if he’s still going to be coaching the Rebels next season. That starts Saturday when Georgia visits Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
I’m not sure who’s feeling the most heat right now in Oxford -- Nutt or his athletic director, Pete Boone? It’s never a good sign when your athletic director shows up at your weekly news conference and is the first one to speak. It’s an even worse sign when that same athletic director is so public in expressing his displeasure with the state of the program. It also makes you wonder if Boone’s seat is even hotter than Nutt’s. Either way, the Rebels need something good to happen, something they can grab onto and turn into some semblance of momentum.
When you lose seven SEC games in a row, sometimes you forget how to win. That BYU game to open the season is a prime example. The Rebels put themselves in a position to win, jumping out to a 13-0 lead, but couldn’t finish the game. This is one they need to finish, especially with it being back at home. A win wouldn’t cure all the ills in the Ole Miss program, but it would at least calm some of the unrest … and then it starts all over again the next week.