At the beginning of Houston Nutt's press conference following Ole Miss' 29-24 loss to Arkansas, the Rebels' embattled coach was feeling bold enough to call out a reporter for his game prediction earlier in the week.
RebelGrove.com's Neal McCready had written that he thought Ole Miss was going to lose 49-10, not that bold of a prediction considering the Rebels' resume coming into the game — they'd already lost by double digits to Georgia and Vanderbilt, and were crushed last week by Alabama — and the fact that they were pitting the worst defense in the SEC against the league's No. 1 total offense. Apparently, covering the spread put Nutt in the mood to do a little crowing.
"They played harder than that 49-10, right, Neal?" Nutt said looking at the reporter. "One on my players told me. I don't read your stuff; they tell me what you say. One of my freshmen told me that Neal McCready wrote that we were going to get beat 49-10. It wasn't no 49-10.
"It was real effort and a real attitude out there by some guys out there against the No. 9 team in America. That's what I'm trying to do, to keep these guys in a real effort and attitude of don't ever give up and don't quit. Fight no matter what people say. No matter what they say because, see, they don't know. They're not the expert. They don't have to commit and go through what you go through."
Well, bully for the moral victory and congrats on not getting blown out. Instead, after racing out to a 17-0 lead in the first half, the Rebels only lost by five after giving up 29 consecutive points to Nutt's former team before tacking on a cosmetic touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, Nutt probably won't be able to make the same case to athletic director Pete Boone when he's going through his annual review, if he makes it that far. Ole Miss is 2-5, has endured a school-record 10 consecutive SEC losses since last year and is under siege by a faction of fans who want to clean house, beginning with Boone. But who knows? Maybe calling out a reporter for failing to forecast a 20-minute spurt before the commencement of the expected blowout will restore some of the Rebels' tarnished pride.