SIZZLING STARTSMark Richt had a 76-19 record in his first 95 games with the Bulldogs, winning SEC titles in 2002 and '05 and finishing No. 2 nationally in '07.After leading Arkansas to a 75-48 mark from 1998 to 2007, Houston Nutt won 11 of his first 15 games at Ole Miss, including '08 upsets of Florida and LSU.TURNING POINTSFive games into the 2008 season, the No. 3 Bulldogs were humbled 41-30 at home by No. 8 Alabama, which led 31-0 at halftime.Ole Miss had a slew of hype entering the '09 season but stumbled in the third game, as the No. 4 Rebels lost 16-10 at South Carolina.EVER SINCEGeorgia is 21-17 overall since the '08 loss to the Crimson Tide, with nine of those losses by double digits, and 12-12 in league games.The Rebels are 12-14 since the '09 setback in Columbia, S.C., and are coming off Saturday's 30-7 whipping at the hands of Vanderbilt.
Billy Brewer headed the Ole Miss football program from 1983 to '93 and didn't make near the money that today's Southeastern Conference coaches earn, but he isn't about to trade places.
"I sure am glad I coached when I did," Brewer said Monday. "With what's out there now, if you stumble one time, you'll get eaten alive. This Internet and media stuff leave coaches walking a fine line, and it's just mind-boggling with these fan bases, because they're misinformed and just don't know.
"Mark Richt is a guy who has been as successful at Georgia as anybody other than Vince Dooley, but nobody is ever safe."
Count Brewer, whose son coaches receivers for the Rebels, among those not wanting to frame Saturday's game between Georgia and Ole Miss in Oxford as the "Hot Seat Bowl."
Rebels coach Houston Nutt compiled an 18-8 record and consecutive Cotton Bowl victories during the 2008 and '09 seasons but is 5-10 since. Richt, meanwhile, is 97-36 overall but 7-9 since the start of last year, with three of those conquests coming at the expense of Louisiana-Lafayette, Idaho State and Coastal Carolina.
Richt has been fielding questions about his job security ever since last New Year's Eve, when the Bulldogs culminated a 6-7 season with a Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida. Yet Nutt likely has the SEC's most precarious position following last week's 30-7 loss at Vanderbilt.
Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone met with Nutt on Sunday morning and sent a letter to season-ticket holders Sunday night, in which he stated, "Saturday's performance and our running two-season SEC record are unacceptable." Boone wrote that solutions for improvement must be made and that he supported Nutt, who went 75-48 in 10 seasons at Arkansas before switching SEC West locales, in making the necessary corrections.
The beating in Nashville was the worst administered by the Commodores against an SEC foe in 40 years, so does Nutt move forward believing he's coaching for his job each week?
"This is my 14th year, and it's like that every day," Nutt said at Monday's news conference, which was preceded by an address from Boone. "There have been 30-something changes [in the SEC] since 1998, so it's no different. Anyone who was disappointed Saturday can multiply that by 99 for me. It all starts with me.
"I've been here once before, and I understand what it takes."
Nutt took Arkansas to six straight bowl games before going 5-6 and 4-7 during the 2004-05 seasons, but he rebounded by winning 10 games and the SEC West title in 2006. He is 0-4 lifetime against Richt, each of those meetings while with the Razorbacks.
Several Georgia players stopped posting on Twitter after receiving ugly messages following a 35-21 loss to Boise State in Atlanta that opened this season, but Richt is appreciative of the support he and his players have received the past two weeks at Sanford Stadium.
"We had a tremendous crowd at the South Carolina game," Richt said, "and those who were left in the stands when we walked off the field, which was still quite a few because it came down to the wire, did a lot of cheering and gave an ovation for our players. I've had nothing but good feelings about what's been going on with our fan base and our students."
Nutt expects a supportive crowd this week but admitted "It's time for us to give them something to cheer about." He also expressed surprise, albeit mild, that Richt is viewed as being in trouble as well.
"If you look at his record and how good he's done, it should never be a question, but that's not the world we're in," Nutt said. "The bottom line is 'Did you win your last game?' And we didn't.
"That's the water that you're in, and the water is going to be hot."
Odds and ends
The Bulldogs began preparations for the Rebels on Monday with a one-hour workout. ... Georgia's Oct. 1 home game against Mississippi State was picked up Monday by Fox Sports Net and will kick off at noon.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.