Ole Miss football dates back more than 120 years, and in that time the program has experienced the highs of the Archie Manning years and last year’s Landshark defense, and the lows of Chucky Mullins’ injury and more recently the Ed Orgeron era.

But how well do you know the Rebels? Here are 20 facts pulled from the annals of Ole Miss football.

632 wins: The Rebels have played 120 season of football in the last 122 years, although many of the early seasons in the program’s history were comprised of seven games or fewer, which is why Ole Miss has averaged fewer than six wins per year throughout its history. Ole Miss boasts an all-time record of 632-501-35, which results in a win percentage of .541.

Better in bowls: Ole Miss has only played in 35 bowls all-time (for comparison’s sake, regional rival LSU has played in 46), but it actually has a better win percentage in bowl games than it does in regular season games. The Rebels have won 24 of 35 bowl games, which results in a win percentage of .686. That’s .145 points higher than their regular season win percentage. Last year the Rebels lost to TCU in the Peach Bowl, snapping a six-game bowl winning streak dating from the 2002 Independence Bowl to the 2013 Music City Bowl.

Founding SEC member: Ole Miss was one of the 13 founding members of the SEC, which split from the old Southwestern Conference in December of 1932. The Rebels are one of 10 founding members still affiliated with the conference along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.\

Three national titles, sort of: The NCAA didn’t always provide fans with an undisputed national champion; in fact, it went out of its way to not have a role in the selection of a subjective national champion, leaving that task to the many polls that reigned over college football for generations. Ole Miss claims three national titles in 1959, 1960 and 1962, posting a combined record of 20-1-1 in those three seasons including a 3-0 record in the Sugar Bowl. However, while a handful of polls ranked Ole Miss No. 1 to close the season, which is why it claims those titles, the two major wire services of the time — the Associated Press and the United Press — went with a different team at No. 1 all three years. Many think the Rebels’ 10-0 season in 1962 would have been acknowledged as a national championship season had it not been for the James Meredith controversy that took place at Ole Miss earlier that year (however, that’s just hearsay and there is no proof to back up that claim).

18 mph speed limit: Most think Ole Miss is located in Oxford, Miss., but the campus itself is actually located in University, Miss., which is embedded in Oxford. One thing that makes University, Miss., unique is that nearly every road in town (a.k.a. on campus) has the same speed limit: 18 miles per hour. Where does the number 18 come from? Why, Archie Manning’s old number, of course. And for roads that require an even slower speed limit (it is a college campus filled with pedestrians) the speed limit drops to 10 miles per hour, with the 10 representing Eli Manning’s number. So if you needed any more convincing of how much the Mannings mean to the state and the university, there’s your proof.

The number 38: This number was once worn by Chucky Mullins, a former Ole Miss football player who was paralyzed on the field from a collision in a game against Vanderbilt in 1989. Mullins later passed away due to complications from the injury. His number was retired, but it is still worn each year by one player who embodies Mullins’ spirit and courage. That player is chosen at the end of the Grove Bowl (Ole Miss’ spring game) each April. Last year the No. 38 was worn by linebacker Deterrian Shackelford, who recovered from two knee reconstructions to return and play a sixth year in 2014. There is also a bust of Mullins’ head sitting at the end of the players’  tunnel inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and each player rubs Mullins’ head and shares a special moment with the Ole Miss legend before taking the field on Saturdays.

The Golden Egg: Most know the rivalry between Ole Miss and in-state rival Mississippi State is better known as the Egg Bowl or The Battle for the Golden Egg, and some know that after squaring off 111 times (including the last 101 years in a row) the rivalry is now the 10th longest uninterrupted series in college football. But very few know why the two Mississippi schools battle for an egg of all things. In 1926, Ole Miss snapped a 13-year losing skid to then-Mississippi A&M, and fans stormed the field hoping to tear down the A&M goalposts. Obviously fans in Starkville did not take kindly to this, and brawling ensued. As a result, Ole Miss and Mississippi State now play for a trophy resembling a large golden football. But in those days, footballs were more bloated, much like a rugby ball, and the trophy’s resemblance to an egg resulted in the name The Golden Egg and thus the annual Egg Bowl.

The drought: Ole Miss hasn’t won an SEC title since 1963, resulting in a drought that has now spanned more than 50 years. To add clarity to how frustrating this drought has become, of the other nine schools that have joined Ole Miss in the SEC since 1963, seven have won at least a share of the conference crown (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee). The other two schools that have a longer SEC title drought than Ole Miss are Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Out of answers: If you’ve ever watched an Ole Miss game in any sport or ever met an Ole Miss fan or alum, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Hotty Toddy” if not the entire chant. It is as much a part of Ole Miss culture as the nickname Rebels. Yet no one actually knows where the phrase came from or what it means. People have theories, but there is no proof, no documented history of Hotty Toddy’s inception, just a series of legends and conspiracies that have been circulating throughout the Ole Miss community for generations. This only adds to the mystique of the phrase and the chant, as it remains one of Ole Miss and the SEC’s proudest traditions despite its lack of a backstory.

Points on points on points: In a showdown with Union College in 1904, the Rebels set a school record by scoring 114 points in a shutout victory. That’s a lot of points. You could score 16 touchdowns and still come up two points shy of that point total. And again, to add insult to injury, not only did Ole Miss score 114 points, but it didn’t allow any. There’s still no word on whether the Union players knew there was a game that day.

Take to the skies: Ole Miss was the first college football team to fly to a road game, taking a flight from Memphis to Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls in 1937.

Keep it in the family: In 1971, Ole Miss made Billy R. Kinard the first alumnus to serve as head coach of the Rebels football program. Unfortunately, Kinard didn’t even last three full seasons on the job. He led Ole Miss to a stellar 10-2 record in ’71, but regressed to 5-5 the following year. After beginning the 1973 season 1-2 he was relived by Johnny Vaught, who came out of retirement and led Ole Miss to a 5-4 record the rest of the season.

Ten Hall of Famers: Ole Miss has 10 former players and coaches representing the program in the College Football Hall of Fame. The school’s most recent inductee was Charlie Flowers in 1997. Ole Miss also claims one of the charter members of the College Football Hall of Fame in Frank “Bruiser” Kinard, who is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only other Rebel to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame is Gene Hickerson, who ironically was never inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Top picks: Most fans already know Eli Manning was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and that he has since won two Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants. However, while no other Rebel has ever been taken with the top overall pick, two others have been taken as high as third overall in their respective drafts: Parker Hall (1939) and Jim Dunaway (1963). Ole Miss has 19 first-round picks all-time including four since Manning went first overall. The highest selection of those four was linebacker Patrick Willis, who went 11th overall in 2007.

The end of Colonel Reb: Ole Miss has a bit of a checkered past when it comes to affiliation with confederate symbols and racism (James Meredith always comes to mind, sorry Ole Miss fans), and the university has done a lot to distance itself from those symbols and that reputation throughout the decades. In 2003, the school discontinued its mascot, Colonel Reb, and upon receiving very little support for a new mascot opted to go without one entirely, although an unofficial Colonel Reb still hangs out in the Grove on Saturdays in the fall. In 2010 the students and alumni settled on a black bear as the new mascot, referred to as the Rebel Bear.

Rebel bear


(Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

It should’ve been Ackbar: In the time between the discontinuation of Colonel Reb in 2003 and the introduction of the Rebel Bear in 2010, the one mascot that generated the most support from the Ole Miss community (especially the students) was Admiral Ackbar, a character from Star Wars. Unfortunately George Lucas was not thrilled with a character he owns doubling as the mascot of a large state university, and he put a stop to the madness, but there was a brief period where some really thought Admiral Ackbar would be the next Ole Miss mascot. If only…


(Photo courtesy of RebelScum.com)

Dominating the ‘Dores: Ole Miss first challenged Vanderbilt on the gridiron in 1942, and after the Rebels were unable to field a team in 1943 due to World War II, the rivalry resumed in 1944 and has been played each and every year since. In 1992, when the SEC split into its two-division format, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt became permanent cross-division rivals, continuing the series on an annual basis. Vandy won the first 18 meetings (!) of the series, but Ole Miss has won 49 of the last 71 showdowns to take a 49-38-2 lead in the all-time series.

Gimme some sugar: The Rebels have played in 36 bowl games all-time, none more frequently than the Sugar Bowl, which they have appeared in eight times. Ole Miss has played in the Cotton Bowl five times and the Independence Bowl five times.

Won the West once: In the 23 seasons since the SEC split into two divisions, Ole Miss has only won the SEC West one time. That was in 2003 with David Cutcliffe at the helm. The Rebels finished 9-3 during the regular season, including 7-1 in the SEC, but unfortunately they shared first place in the West with LSU Tigers, led by Nick Saban, which defeated Georgia to win the conference crown while Ole Miss watched at home.

Finally beat ‘Bama: Entering last season, Ole Miss had won only nine of 58 all-time meetings with Alabama, tying the Tide twice while falling short on 47 different occasions. However, last year Ole Miss snapped a 10-game losing skid to Alabama with a 23-17 win over the Tide inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It was the Rebels first win against Alabama since Eli Manning quarterbacked the team, and on that day the Rebels were able to host College GameDay in the Grove for the first time in school history.