Ole Miss up next

The team is struggling to win and the head coach is struggling to keep his job. <P> Tennessee? Nope. Ole Miss, the Vols' opponent Saturday in Oxford.

Like UT (11-13 overall, 4-7 SEC), the Rebels (12-13 overall, 3-9 SEC) are battling to avoid a losing season. Like UT, Ole Miss has lost six of its last seven games. And, like UT boss Buzz Peterson, Ole Miss skipper Rod Barnes is fighting to remain employed.

That should make for an interesting clash when the Vols and Rebels tip it up Saturday at 5 p.m. (EST) in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports.

Although the Rebs are not very good, they've played some of the SEC's top teams closer than Tennessee has. They lost by three (53-50) to a Kentucky team that beat Tennessee by 22 (84-62). They lost by eight (66-58) to an Alabama team that beat Tennessee by 18 (72-54). In short, the Rebels will be all Tennessee can handle.

''Ole Miss really gets into you (defensively),'' Peterson said. ''They make it tough on you to run your offense. They made Alabama and Kentucky fight right down to the wire to win. They're very tough at home. They really defend and scrap, so our guys have to put their helmets on and be ready for a physical ball game.''

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