The Rebels take on No. 1 LSU on Saturday night at 6 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. ESPN will televise the 100th match-up in the storied SEC rivalry.
It's not the game, however that has the full attention of many Ole Miss fans. Some would say that players are included in that number following an embarrassing 27-7 homecoming loss to Louisiana Tech last week.
"No disrespect, Louisiana Tech is very good this year, but you've got to be able to win that game," outgoing coach Houston Nutt said.
The Louisiana Tech loss was followed by the suspension of three players Tuesday for undisclosed team rules violations. Starting quarterback Randall Mackey, starting running back Jeff Scott and backup receiver Korvic Neat will not play against LSU.
The search for Nutt's replacement will be a quiet one in terms of the release of official information. That much was made clear in the school's Nov. 11 news release to announce the members of the committee in which the next-to-last sentence said, "Updates will be provided when possible, but it's likely future official statements will be issued only after a coach has been selected."
Committee co-chair Archie Manning held true to that strategy earlier this week when speaking to the Memphis Commercial Appeal after an appearance before the local Touchdown Club.
Manning gave a light-hearted response to the suggestion from a number of Ole Miss fans that his son, Peyton Manning, retire from the NFL and coach the Rebels.
Manning spoke of the challenge before the committee but did not speak in specifics of its work.
"I know a lot of people in football, you get names of possible coaches and you take them down," Manning said. "We'll turn the names we have over to the search firm and they'll have more names.
"Everybody talks about having a short list. We've got a long list. We're going to try and move as quickly as possible to find a good fit for Ole Miss."
Former head coaches
While Manning did not have much to say, successful former coaches known for their wide-open approach to offense have said more in various reports.
Mike Leach, who was 84-43 at Texas Tech, has expressed interest, as well as Rich Rodriguez, whose success at West Virginia earned him the Michigan job where he was 15-22 in three seasons.
"I haven't heard from anybody, but I'm not too hard to find," Leach told the Commercial-Appeal. "It's a great job. I'm sure the administration has a certain individual it is looking for, and I'm sure they'll find the right guy."
If Ole Miss fans are encouraged by Leach's praise for the program, he apparently likes Tulane as well.
"That's an exciting job for anybody," said Leach, to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "The administration knows their goals and what they are looking for. If I'm a part of it, great. If I'm not, hopefully, they will find it."
Rodriguez developed a friendship with Manning in the late 1990s while serving as offensive coordinator at Tulane under Tommy Bowden. He was passed over for the Tulane job when Bowden left and joined Bowden at Clemson.
"Ole Miss seems to me like it's always been a special place," Rodriguez told the Commercial-Appeal. "I don't know what Ole Miss' issues are right now, but I hear a lot of great things about the university and the area. I'd certainly be interested in talking to Ole Miss.
"I think I have 10 to 15 years left in coaching and I'm hungrier than I've ever been. We didn't get a chance to see it through at Michigan for various reasons."
Others to watch
While a number of fans have expressed interest in a candidate with proven offensive skills and success, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will likely get strong consideration as well.
Other names to watch are Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn - who has been mentioned prominently in connection with the North Carolina job - Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze and Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora.
The currently employed candidates have had less to say, and that will likely remain true while there are games to be played.
However, sources have indicated interest on the part of Freeze and Fedora.
Malzahn has responded only to say he's focused on Auburn's final two games.