Paschall's Picks: The Nutt farewell is under way

Paschall's Picks: The Nutt farewell is under way

November 10th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - Columns

In this Sept. 3, 2011, file photo, Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt watches a first half play against BYU on the stadium video screen during an NCAA college football game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. BYU won 14-13. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

LAST WEEK

Winners: 21

Missed Bama kicks: 4

Pasquali is 201-49 overall (80.4 percent) this season.

OTHER PICKS

Ole Miss 22, La. Tech 17

Houston 59, Tulane 22

Clemson 38, Wake Forest 19

N.C. State 16, Boston Coll. 14

Virginia 35, Duke 21

Florida State 30, Miami 28

Notre Dame 37, Maryland 13

MTSU 23, UL-Monroe 20

Boise State 41, TCU 16

Wisconsin 45, Minnesota 18

Texas 28, Missouri 23

Nebraska 31, Penn State 12

Ohio State 13, Purdue 10

Okla. State 52, Texas Tech 31

USC 27, Washington 25

Kansas St. 26, Texas A&M 24

Michigan 24, Illinois 17

Outgoing Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt has a 24-23 record with the Rebels and two Cotton Bowl victories. He just went about it the wrong way.

Nutt arrived in Oxford after four straight losing seasons for the Rebels -- one under David Cutcliffe and three under Ed Orgeron -- and quickly upset Florida in the Swamp and LSU in Baton Rouge on the way to a 9-4 season that culminated with an upset of Texas Tech in Dallas. He went 9-4 again in 2009 before bottoming out at 4-8 last year and 2-7 this season.

"If you would have reversed it and maybe gone the two bad seasons first and then end up with two Cotton Bowls, we wouldn't be having this conversation," Nutt said Wednesday. "The thing that Ed Orgeron did was leave me two very good classes that didn't win but had very good athletes, and then two classes that were not so good."

Monday's announcement that Nutt, who has 99 wins as an SEC coach but has been stuck there for five weeks, will step down at the end of this month leaves him with three games remaining. Louisiana Tech visits Saturday, and Nutt will try to avoid Tennessee's emotional train wreck in 2008, when the Vols and outgoing coach Phillip Fulmer lost 13-7 at home to Wyoming.

"When there are uncertainties and questions of who the next coach is, naturally your mind can be distracted," Nutt said, "but that's one of the reasons I wanted to finish it -- so we could stay really focused."

Asked about his future beyond this month, Nutt said, "If there is an opportunity where a university thinks I might be a fit or could help, I would love to look into it."

Pasquali's Pix:

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets won by 14 points over Clemson, which beat the Hokies by 20. Jackets 24, Hokies 20.

Florida at South Carolina: The Gamecocks never have defeated Florida in consecutive seasons, nor have they ever finished 6-2 in the SEC. Gators 19, Gamecocks 16.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt: James Franklin's Commodores lead the SEC in offensive gains of 30 or more yards. Commodores 28, Wildcats 19.

Auburn at Georgia: The Tigers once owned Sanford Stadium, winning 10 of 12 times there from 1983 to 2005, but they haven't won in Athens since. Bulldogs 31, Tigers 22.

Tennessee at Arkansas: Two years ago, the Volunteers rushed for 2,043 yards. This season, they've amassed 781. Razorbacks 40, Vols 10.

Western Kentucky at LSU: This one won't provide much intrigue after LSU's starting quarterback is revealed. Tigers 55, Hilltoppers 7.

Alabama at Mississippi State: The most unimpressive stat regarding Nick Saban at Alabama has been unearthed -- he is 10-7 in November. Crimson Tide 34, Bulldogs 13.

Oregon at Stanford: An LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS title game isn't out of the question, nor is an LSU-Oregon rematch. Cardinal 28, Ducks 21.