Ole Miss has won only once in this stadium, actually only once in the state of Alabama against the Crimson Tide. That was the memorable homecoming day here in 1988 when Coach Billy Brewer's squad beat Bill Curry's Tide 22-12.
The weather's been a balmy high 80s and a few clouds have rolled in. The wind has picked up some and it's cooled off quite a bit since sunset. The Pride of the South has taken its seats in the north end zone. The stadium's filling up.
The drive over was a mix of Ole Miss and Bama fans, with those leaving Scott Field at Mississippi State - both the victors from Auburn and the losers from MSU - traveling alongside us. As I mentioned to those in our van, "Columbus has become an SEC crossroads today."
Red and blues, maroons and oranges rolling down Highway 82 - some happy, some sad, from earlier today. Others with uncertain apprehension and anticipation of the game tonight.
So what will we find out tonight as the Rebels and the Crimson Tide play on ESPN 2?
The biggest questions for Ole Miss have to be, in no certain order:
Will Micheal Spurlock settle down and play within himself as his coaches have preached, even before the season opener, that he must for the Rebels to succeed with him at the controls?
Will the Rebel offense, no matter who is under center, be more productive than it was a week ago?
Will the Rebel defense, much improved last week over the first few games last season, continue to play well and step up even more?
Can the Rebels overcome their not so glorious past in these confines - being outscored 87-14 the past two trips over here and not really being in but a couple of games here over the years - save a 20-17 overtime loss in 1998 and 21-10 loss in 1994 along with the '88 affair. Other than that, they mostly haven't been close here the past couple of decades.
While it's dark outside now, on the field it's like daylight. It actually looks like the sun is shining. That's how bright the Bryant-Denny Stadium lights actually are, much brighter than the ones at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and it's obvious. Should be as you watch on TV as well.
So we'll see how it goes. On the third aniniversary of the day we call 9-11 and will remember always and should, hopefully the Rebels can write a new bit of history themselves in this long-running yet lopsided series and that this will be a night to remember.
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