Ole Miss-LSU - the rivalry as I see it

Ole Miss-LSU has been a great football rivalry through the ages. Fans of both schools know it's an important game anytime these two get together in any sport. But football is where the rivalry has its greatest history.

Tiger Rag, the LSU scout.com site, recently had its two lists of all-time LSU football games divided into two categories - Ole Miss games and all other games. Interesting.

Some subscribers on our site had asked us to follow up with the same concept. I haven't talked to the other staff members, but here's my list of great Ole Miss-LSU football encounters and how I would rank them.

The Tiger Rag list has an expected Tiger flavor as far as victories are concerned. All 10 of their top games are LSU victories. They do give Rebel wins five of the six honorable mentions.

This is simply one person's opinion, with some emphasis placed on what that year's game meant in the big picture of that particular season or era. Yours may differ in appearance and in order. Lists like these are always open for discussion and debate.

With an admitted Ole Miss bias, here goes.

1. Ole Miss 21, LSU 0 on Jan. 1, 1960. Everybody who saw it says it should have been worse. Everybody alive back then still living today continues to wonder why LSU would agree to a rematch. This Rebel victory came in the Sugar Bowl and was only two months after the Tigers' 7-3 win on Halloween night in Baton Rouge, a loss which cost Ole Miss a consensus national championship at the end of that season. LSU decision-makers back then must never have heard of the old cliche' concerning payback. The Tigers certainly caught a large dose of it in old Tulane Stadium that day.

2. Ole Miss 36, LSU 21 on Oct. 18, 1997. Several reasons I rank this unusually-early-in-the-season Ole Miss-LSU contest this high. It was the week after LSU defeated No. 1 ranked Florida, a game Tiger Rag put at the top of their "other than Ole Miss" list of games. The Rebels brought the Tiger euphoria to a halt with the daylight victory in Death Valley. It rejuvenated an Ole Miss program coming off probation and propelled the Rebs into a bowl game for the first time in five seasons where they defeated Chad Pennington, Randy Moss and company of Marshall 34-31 in the Motor City Bowl. I don't know if I've ever seen a prouder, happier Rebel than Boyd Kitchen, the lineman from New Orleans, after that victory in Baton Rouge, one of those signature cigar wins of the Tuberville era.

3. Ole Miss 6, LSU 6 on Oct. 29, 1960. Roughly 10 months after the Sugar Bowl win which I ranked No. 1 on this list, the Rebels and Tigers were at it again, this time in Oxford. Yes, younger Rebel fans, there was a time when college football games tied at the end of 60 minutes remained that way. And sometimes a tie wasn't all that bad, especially if conference or national implications were on the line. It was the only game Ole Miss didn't win that season, and several polls named the Rebels national champions at the end of that campaign.

4. Ole Miss 26, LSU 23 on Nov. 1, 1969. This one was played in Jackson. Yes, younger Rebel fans, the Rebels used to play some home games each season in the capital city. Few were as important as this one turned out to be. Ole Miss had lost two SEC games by a point each earlier in the season (Kentucky, Alabama) after many polls picked them to be champions. If the Rebs don't beat LSU that day, they don't get to the Sugar Bowl. But they did all that, beating the Tigers, then Chattanooga, Tennessee, and State before getting past Arkansas 27-22 in the Sugar Bowl.

5. Ole Miss 20, LSU 18 on Nov. 1, 1947. The Rebels had lost three straight games to the Tigers. This was Coach Vaught's first season. The Rebels would go on to win their first SEC football title. The game was played in Baton Rouge and signaled to fans of both that a new era of this rivalry had dawned. Good for Ole Miss; not good for LSU. Vaught would finish his career with 15 wins against seven losses and three ties vs. the Bayou Bengals.

6. Ole Miss 37, LSU 31 on Oct. 31, 1998. Another Halloween thriller, this one was played in Oxford. Who among us that saw the game can forget Cory Peterson's double catch in the end zone to win it in overtime, when the ball hit his hands as he fell to the grass, popped up in the air and he caught it again. (As best I recall, didn't Ole Miss miss the extra point, and the defense stand tall on the Tigers' final series of OT to claim victory?) It was the last win of the Tuberville era, and the Rebs would lose three straight games the rest of that season - to Arkansas, Georgia, and State. But they bowled for the second straight season anyway, and the Cutcliffe era began with a 35-18 win over Texas Tech in the Independence Bowl.

7. Ole Miss 21, LSU 19 on Nov. 1, 1986. Ole Miss hadn't won in Baton Rouge since 1968; eight straight losses. That makes the victory in 1986 pretty significant, don't you agree? The Tigers missed a field goal late to preserve the Rebel victory. Ole Miss went on to play in the Independence Bowl and defeated Texas Tech 20-17. It was the Rebels' first bowl game in three years.

8. Ole Miss 27, LSU 24 on Oct. 29, 1983. This victory in Jackson was the first for Ole Miss over LSU since 1975; eight seasons. It was also the third of five straight wins that particular season to end with a winning record and to advance to the Independence Bowl. Ole Miss, in the first year of the Brewer era, lost to Air Force 9-3 on a stormy night in Shreveport.

9. Ole Miss 32, LSU 0 on Oct. 31, 1992. Yet another Halloween game between these two. This one was in Jackson under the lights. Russ Shows and company rolled on offense, and the Rebel defense had its way as well. I remember one LSU scribe in the press box mumbling that this was perhaps the low point of LSU football. Lowest point or not for LSU, it was all Rebels in this one. Ole Miss would go on to win nine games including a 13-0 win over Air Force on a bitter cold night in the Liberty Bowl.

10. Ole Miss 26, LSU 6 on Dec. 3, 1894. And why is this one worthy of a top 10 ranking? Because it was the first Ole Miss-LSU football game ever played. It was in Baton Rouge, so Ole Miss proved it could win down there. It was the start of what would become one of college football's greatest rivalries. That's all good enough for me and I'm sure for any Ole Miss fan.

Honorable Mention:

Ole Miss 35, LSU 24 in 2001 in Baton Rouge. Gotta throw an Eli victory in there. But there was no bowl game at the end of this season, or this one might have made the top 10 list.

Ole Miss 27, LSU 24 in 1968 in Baton Rouge. This was Eli's dad's first game against the Tigers. Archie and the Rebs would end up in the Liberty Bowl where they came back to beat Virginia Tech 34-17 after trailing the Hokies 17-0.

Ole Miss 42, LSU 23 in 1999 in Baton Rouge. That made it three straight Rebel wins in the series and kept bowl hopes alive as Ole Miss wound up in Shreveport again, this time beating Oklahoma 27-25 on Les Binkley's late field goal.

Ole Miss 15, LSU 7 in 1962 in Baton Rouge. A loss on this night and the only perfect season in UM football history (unbeaten, untied) would not have happened.

Ole Miss 19, LSU 10 in 1990 in Baton Rouge. This late-season victory kept hopes alive for the Rebels' first SEC title in football since 1963. Tennessee doused those hopes the next week with a 22-13 victory over UM. Still the Rebels bowled on New Year's Day in the Gator, a setback at the hands of Michigan.

LSU 17, Ole Miss 14 in 2003 in Oxford; LSU 7, Ole Miss 3 in 1959 in Baton Rouge; LSU 17, Ole Miss 16 in 1972 in Baton Rouge; LSU 23, Ole Miss 20 in 2006 in Baton Rouge in overtime. Yes, those were classic games too, and this column wouldn't have any credibility without them being listed. Since the story of those four has been written time and time again, that's all I'll do - list them.

So there you have it. Feel free to agree or disagree, add to or subtract from. But they were all games to remember and, in only a handful of cases, outcomes to forget.

They'll tee it up and kick it off again on Nov. 17 in Oxford. Don't miss it.

OM Spirit Top Stories