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November 30, 2008

Ole Miss waits for bowl invite

Neal McCready
Rivals.com College Football
Senior Writer
Oxford, Miss. - Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt met with his team Sunday night, not knowing when or where it will play football again this season.

The Ole Miss coach, however, didn't seem to care where the 22nd-ranked Rebels would be playing as much as he was proud of the fact that not only is his first Ole Miss team going bowling but also it appears destined to do so after the New Year.

Ole Miss, which wrapped up its regular season Friday with a 45-0 pasting of Mississippi State, is 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the Southeastern Conference and winners of five straight games. The Rebels appear headed to either the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Dallas or the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

"You always want to finish the way we finished," Nutt said. "We've always been good in November and that's key. There's nothing like winning in the end, because your stock rises. I've been to the Capital One [Bowl]. There's no way you can't have a good time in Orlando, because of Disney World, MGM, Universal Studios, the weather. It's just awesome. Those people do an excellent job.

"I've never been to the Outback. I've been to the Cotton Bowl three times. The work that Rick Baker and their staff do is unbelievable. They are so thorough, so detailed, so committed to the players, to their families, from the luncheon to the banquet to all the activities, it's just a very good place."

Regardless of the destination, the Rebels will get back to work later this week. Nutt said the team will run and lift only starting Wednesday with the first bowl practices set for Saturday and Sunday, depending on the arrival time of official visitors.

"The following week is finals, so there's not much we can do," Nutt said. "We'll leave the weight room open and try to keep our conditioning real good right now. The first thing I'll bring up in tonight's meeting is that when I first got here last year there were 33 people who couldn't have gone to a bowl last year. That's understandable, because when you lose your coach it's easy to let go of the rope and nobody's really watching. Hopefully, it will be much different this year as we find out and wait anxiously where we will go."

Neal McCready, a senior writer for RebelGrove.com, has more than 12 years of experience covering college and professional sports. An award winning reporter, McCready was twice named Alabama's columnist of the year while working at the Mobile-Press Register. He joined RebelGrove.com in March 2008.
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