Steven Godfrey, writing for SBNation.com, reported that Ole Miss has fired Houston Nutt. Neal McCready of the Ole Miss Rivals.com site is reporting the same thing, adding that Nutt will finish out the season. The school will have a press conference at 2 pm Central.
It's been an odd ride for Nutt in Oxford. His first season included an upset over the eventual national champs and a Cotton Bowl win. It would prove to be the high point in his tenure. His second season began with a preseason top ten ranking in both polls, but it ended the same way as the previous season: a 9-4 record with a Cotton Bowl win. That's a good season by recent Ole Miss standards to be sure, but it included a winnable loss against South Carolina, a bad loss to transitioning Auburn, and a nasty blowout loss in the Egg Bowl.
The 2010 season began disastrously with an overtime loss to I-AA Jacksonville State. It also included a loss to one of the worst Vanderbilt teams of the last decade. Nutt has only won a single SEC game across 2010-11, over a mediocre Kentucky team last year. A double digit loss to this year's much worse and potentially bowl-less Kentucky appears to have been the final straw. The team has lost 12 consecutive conference games.
Nutt's firing was one of those things you could see coming more and more clearly as the season went along. Eventually it became a matter of when, not if.
The real question is not necessarily who Nutt's successor will be, but who will be doing that hiring. A vocal contingent of Rebel fans are deeply dissatisfied with AD Pete Boone, who many are expecting to be gone soon as well. It would make no sense for Boone to make the hire if he's on his way out, but if Tennessee allowed Mike Hamilton to hire Bruce Pearl's successor, it's tough to say for sure what's coming.
As for the guy coming after Nutt, I expect to see names of mostly assistants who have any kind of ties to the SEC or the state. That would include former Mississippi State DC Manny Diaz (currently at Texas), former Mississippi State assistant Mark Hudspeth (now head coach at UL-L), and perennial rumor magnets Kirby Smart and Gus Malzahn. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Leach's name floated, but I still think he's not employable until his lawsuits against Texas Tech and ESPN are settled.
Godfrey now has sources saying that Boone is out too.