The Commodores (2-10 in 2002, 0-8 SEC), under second-year head coach Bobby Johnson, will open the season at Vanderbilt Stadium against Coach David Cutcliffe's Rebels. Ole Miss finished 2002 with a 7-6 record, which included a 3-5 SEC mark and a 27-23 win over Nebraska in the Mainstay Independence Bowl.
Ole Miss defeated Vanderbilt last year in Oxford, Miss., 45-38. That game was also televised by Jefferson-Pilot.
Quarterback Eli Manning, the SEC's second-leading passer in 2002, returns for his senior season with the Rebels, as do outstanding receiver Chris Collins and defensive lineman Jesse Mitchell. Vanderbilt counters with sophomore running back Kwane Doster, the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2002.
Other early-season televised games announced Wednesday by the SEC were Southern California at Auburn (Aug. 30, 5 p.m., CBS); Oklahoma at Alabama (Sept. 6, ESPN); and South Carolina at Georgia (Sept. 13, 2:30, CBS).