Friday, September 30, 2011

Week Five Power Poll And Picks

Carefully ranked by three voters, former Jefferson Pilot color analyst Dave Rowe, former Ole Miss (and everyone else's) defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn, and the SEC replay official that's gonna screw your team, this poll marks those in the SEC who spent the last week living the good life of victory, non-suspension, and blind luck or superior talent.

1. Stephen Garcia
Dave Rowe: "You know one play Steve Spurrier will never run with Stephen Garcia? The quarterback sneak. It's the worst play in football!"

2. John Brantley
Joe Lee Dunn: "Reminds me of a quarterback that used to play at Mississippi State. Todd Jordan. That is not a compliment."

3. Steve Spurrier
Dave Rowe: "The Ball Coach really has his offense flying now!"

4. Will Muschamp
Replay official: "Has he murdered someone on the sideline yet? I'd like to review the video in the trial."

5. A.J. McCarron
Dave Rowe: "Nick Saban has found what he's been looking for all season. A real play-maker!"

6. Jarrett Lee
Joe Lee Dunn: "Seriously. Give me seven linebackers, three safeties, and a big ol' defensive tackle and I can stop this shit right in its tracks."

7. Les Miles
Joe Lee Dunn: "Ever try to figure out why a five-year old is distracted by shiny objects? Can't be done."

8. Alshon Jeffery
Dave Rowe: "What a big man! Lucky for him he has such a talented quarterback in Stephen Garcia to get him the ball!"

9. Connor Shaw
Joe Lee Dunn: "We had a quarterback like him when I was at Ole Miss. Tom Luke. Also not a compliment."

10. Mark Richt
Dave Rowe: "Georgia fans are so lucky to have a coach of Mark Richt's caliber leading their program!"

Using whatever lines he can find, even those sites where degenerates are able to freely gamble on prop bets in the Pro Bowl, Gray tries to beat the spread.
Season: 18-17-1 (.513)

Texas A&M at Arkansas (+3) (at that big thing near the Dallas airport)
Texas A&M's collapse against Oklahoma State gave me even further assurance Mike Sherman is going to be one of my favorite coaches to make fun of when the Aggies join the SEC next season. Leading 20-3 at the end of the second quarter, Sherman's team left the third quarter trailing 24-20, and possessed the aggressiveness and mental fortitude of a turtle surrounded by children.

Much like Oklahoma State in the second half, Arkansas should be able to move the ball with ease on the Aggies, and only needs to get something out of its defense, which apparently will be the storyline of every Arkansas game under Bobby Petrino. I'll have three points and the Hogs.

Mississippi State at Georgia (-6.5)
Good news for State fans, you're not playing an SEC West team not named Ole Miss, so your chances of winning jump exponentially. Bad news for State fans is that Chris Relf no longer resembles a confident quarterback, and as Dan Mullen proved at the end of regulation in the Louisiana Tech game, he too has no confidence in Relf to lead any drive requiring passes of over five yards.

Meanwhile, Georgia is brimming with the kind of confidence that comes from not being able to put away a horrid Ole Miss team. This kind of battle reeks of Jefferson Pilot, yet Dave and the boys decided to go with LSU/Kentucky. POOR CHOICE. Thankfully though, the good people at Georgia decided to make this an 11 AM (CDT) kickoff just because. So, while not on JP, it will certainly have the feel of a JP game. Well done, University of Georgia. UGA to cover.

Kentucky at LSU (-30.5)
After being certain Kentucky could keep it within 20 against Florida, I watched the first 15 minutes of the game and realized what a fool I was. Kentucky/Ole Miss is going to be one of the greatest bad games of our time. If Starship's "We Built This City" was a college football game, it would be the Kentucky/Ole Miss game. LSU to cover.

Buffalo at Tennessee (-28.5)
Praise little tiny baby Jesus we have no 16-team playoff in college football. It would certainly damage the value of the regular season and deprive us of games like this. Vols to cover.

Auburn at South Carolina (-10)
South Carolina is 4-0 with an offense that has one working part and everything else duct-taped in place. However, they are 4-0 and have a Ted Roof defense coming to town on Saturday. With that thought in mind, I doubt Spurrier has even slept this week. Florida Atlantic, of the Sun Belt family tree, in its first two games had a combined 185 yards of total offense. Against Auburn, they had 307. That's 62% of their yearly total.

Overlooked in all of Ted Roof's mess, is that the Auburn offense, led by Chris Todd 2.0, is currently 40th in scoring and 78th in total offense. That's not good when your defense is 92nd in scoring and 110th in total defense. I'll take some South Carolina to cover.

Alabama (-4) at Florida
Okay, for real this time, everyone knows Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are Florida's offense. While Tennessee and Kentucky lacked the speed and skill on defense to contain them, we know Alabama does not. They have no player on defense as fast as those two, but they have many players who can get to them before they hit the nitrous button. This, of course, means that John Brantley will need to carry a significant portion of the Florida offense. A dark and unpleasant thought for Florida fans.

Alabama will have the same offensive gameplan it's had since Saban got his defense to his preferred level of destruction, and batter Florida into the ground, scoring a touchdown or two, with a peppering of field goals. Alabama to cover.

Ole Miss (+3.5) at Fresno State
Word on the street and every newspaper and media outlet that covers Ole Miss says Randall Mackey will draw the start against the Bulldogs. I don't think this improves things or makes them worse, which is the problem with the Ole Miss offense. The offense is entrenched in a steadily horrible place. Until the offensive line learns how to not not block anyone, anyone reading this sentence could be back there running around and produced the same results.

The only thing I know of Fresno is that David Carr's little brother is their starting quarterback. If this were an NFL game, I'd be elated at such good fortune. But, alas, it is a college game and he will excel. Fresno to cover.

*You will NOT double your paycheck


Peter Venkman
Season: 29-9 (.763)

Texas A&M at Arkansas
Texas A&M. I can't wait to make trips to College Station. Really. I hear it's beautiful this time of year. Seriously.

Mississippi State at Georgia
Georgia. Long story short - I know a Korean boy who does some assembly line work for Nike, and Georgia's next Pro Combat uniforms will be covered in actual dog fur. A lustrous coat.

Kentucky at LSU
LSU. I feel like Les Miles probably reeks of Drakar Noir. Can somebody get confirmation on this?

Buffalo at Tennessee
Tennessee. I'm still seething over my beloved Pats' loss to the Bills last week. Mark my words, TB12 will make good use of his UGG boots when he curbs Buffalo in Foxboro later this season. Oh, and I like the Vols in this one.

Auburn at South Carolina
South Carolina. It's been brought to my attention that Steve Spurrier doesn't drink alcohol anymore. When reached for comment, Stephen Garcia said he would drink enough for the both of them. And every other member of the Gamecock's staff.

Alabama at Florida
Alabama. Cameron Poe and I are flying in for this one- podcast to follow...

Ole Miss at Fresno State
Fresno. I love Boone's picture in the Forward Rebel's ad. He looks like he just took the lectern at an AA meeting.

Mr. Blue
Season: 22-15 (.594)

Blue left the following note on Venkman's pillow:
"Effective immediately, I will be engaging in a hunger strike in honor of my college neutered brothers. No meat will cross my lips until all black labs are allowed to keep their testicles in their scrotums. PS- I left several warm turds in your UGG boots."
- Blue

For his courage, we'll give Mr. Blue the following picks:
South Carolina
Fresno State


Cameron Poe
Season: 31-6 (.837)

Texas A&M at Arkansas
I could give two shits about Texas A&M, Missouri, VA Tech or any other school mentioned in expansion. I don't see how any of them make the SEC better. The league may get a little more TV money, but the loss of old rivalries will make the SEC much less interesting. (42-31 Arkansas)

MSU at Georgia
Last week I stated that Mississippi State was an average team. I'm tempted to drop them to mediocre, but I'll reserve judgment until after this game against a thoroughly average Georgia team. (24-20 UGA)

Kentucky at LSU
Hey Kentucky fans, basketball is almost here! (38-3 LSU)

Buffalo at Tennessee
I don't know anything about the Buffalo Bulls, but I know that the Bills' QB played at Harvard. (42-10 Tennessee)

Auburn at South Carolina
I'm really shocked that Spurrier still allows Garcia to throw the ball. I guess the Ole Ball Coach is a glutton for punishment. If Carolina can't throw the ball against this crappy defense, Spurrier's head may explode. (35-24 USC)

Alabama at Florida
I've got my jorts packed for the trip to the Swamp. This game is kicking off at 8:00 pm, so I'm positive that this will be the most drunk people that I have ever been around at one time. My goal for this trip is to not end up in the Alachua County Jail. (20-17 Bama)

Ole Miss at Fresno State
For my Ole Miss friends, I hope this is the last game that Houston Nutt ever coaches. (35-21 Fresno)

Chris Low
Season: 31-6 (.837)

Fresno State
South Carolina
Texas A&M

Sun Belt Edition
Gray 22-4
Venkman 20-6
Poe 22-4

Arkansas State at Western Kentucky
Gray: Arkansas State. How many résumés has Hugh Freeze sent Pete Boone? 10? 45?
Venkman: Western Kentucky.
Poe: Arkansas State.

North Texas at Tulsa
Gray: Tulsa.
Venkman: North Texas.
Poe: Tulsa.

Florida Atlantic at Louisiana-Lafayette
Gray: Lafayette
Venkman: Lafayette
Poe: Lafayette

Duke at Florida International
Gray: FIU. I have no idea why, but this game feels like a David Cutcliffe disaster.
Venkman: Duke.
Poe: FIU.

Memphis at Middle Tennessee
Gray: MTSU. Recruiting bagmen are bagmen for a reason. They do nothing else well.
Venkman: MTSU.
Poe: MTSU.

UAB at Troy
Gray: Troy. This is like the Hudson's Salvage Center version of the Alabama/Auburn game.
Venkman: Troy.
Poe: Troy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On This Forward Rebels Business

To the uninformed, which I highly advise that you remain in your category and not fill your brain with the waste of time that's headed your way, Forward Rebels is a group of anonymous Ole Miss fans (or so we assume) dedicated to making Ole Miss better at athletics or something something something.  Recently, they've made news by taking out two full-page ads in various newspapers (which assures very few people saw them at all!), most notably The Commercial Appeal in Memphis and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, criticizing the Ole Miss administration and calling for the firing of athletic director Pete Boone.

Here's the second of the two ads:

On a side note, what's up with the giant gaps between the fifth and six and seventh sentences?  Are we to believe the sixth sentence is so important and well-crafted it needs to be set apart from the other sentences?  Perhaps it would be if everything was not already in bullet point fashion.  How about creating two paragraphs with the sixth sentence set between them?  Then you have two blocks with negative space pointing you toward this crucial sixth sentence with THAT in all-caps.

Also, that logo sucks.

Anyway, back to wherever this was going, since the ads have come out, I, along with every other person for which Ole Miss has an email address, have received letters in email form from the M-Club and the Ole Miss Alumni Association (no idea what the difference is) in which the ads taken out by the Forward Rebels group were described as "malicious", "harmful", and other words that express indignation (note:  "harrumph" was not listed).  Then, today, Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones decided it was time to issue a response that was not a response according to Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones.

In his letter to the Ole Miss Family (not directly related to the Auburn Family), Jones said:
"Many are aware of anonymous, malicious and public attacks on athletics director Pete Boone. The Ole Miss family may not be aware, however, that as a part of this orchestrated campaign, I have received threats, promising that if I do not remove Pete Boone, "It is going to get real ugly," and threatening to expand the attacks to other athletics employees.

Friends, supporters and the media have asked how I will react to this anonymous and vicious pressure. The short answer is that I will not react."
"I will not react."  Except by writing a letter that is a total reaction and draws attention to a soap opera-like problem that is entirely contained within the Ole Miss community, which of course will be picked up by almost every major media outlet and put our problems on display for the entire country.  But other than that, THERE IS NO REACTION.  THE NEST WILL NOT BE STIRRED FURTHER.

Great Odin's raven, WHY IS PR SO HARD FOR PEOPLE?  If you're not going to respond, DON'T RESPOND.  Don't write anything, don't say anything.  If asked about the ads, say, "I have seen the ads, I support Ole Miss athletics, and will evaluate all aspects of each athletic team at the end of their respective seasons.  I am happy we have fans who care so much about Ole Miss, and would love to have discussion with them to better understand their position."

Is that total bullshit?  OF COURSE.  But it sounds good and doesn't create a public shitstorm.  Cliches and nothingness are your best friends in this situation.  OH HOW I HATE PR PEOPLE.

As for the war between Forward Rebels and the administration, I understand the Forward Rebels' position.  They're as pissed off as most Ole Miss fans should be and want to make sure something is done about our failures.  Taking this fight into the public arena is what I don't understand, unless they were rebuffed by Dan Jones or whoever he might pass them off to, then those in the administration deserve what's coming their way.  But, assuming that didn't happen, what good does it do to let the rest of the country know we do not like our athletic director?  I can promise you, they give not a rat's ass about what goes on at Ole Miss, unless it concerns us doing something stupid at which they can laugh.

If Forward Rebels wanted people to not get angry at them, they should have stuck to Ole Miss publications, emails, or set something up on a game day.  Instead, they've drug Ole Miss into an ugly public in-fighting scene and caused most to dismiss their efforts.  Now all people want is for them to go away so we don't have to read every week in regional and national publications about the chaos going on at Ole Miss.

Though I criticized Dan Jones about two paragraphs ago, the point he did make, which is a good one, is that no one at Ole Miss is going to be publicly pushed into decisions by an unknown outside group.  This isn't Arkansas or Auburn looking for a new coach.  Now, private pushing, well, that depends on how much money you've got and how well you know how to shut the hell up.  But anonymous groups, who have apparently chosen not to go the way of direct contact and instead selected the public domain as the battleground, will have zero say in anything, which is how it should be.

The Sports Gods and Les Miles Have a Conversation

While he was enjoying a late night walk and snack of Tiger Stadium grass, the sports gods decided to have a word with Les Miles.

(Stolen from here)


Coach Miles: Whoa! That was a close one. Almost got me with that bolt. Tough luck for that groundskeeper though. I was literally standing in that same spot 10 seconds ago.


Coach Miles: So what's up, guys?


Coach Miles: Wow! Thanks, guys. This is news of a tremendously outstanding uplifting variety of note.


Coach Miles: What's that?


Coach Miles: Might I ask why?


Coach Miles: I see. That is certainly an understandable concern that would be an issue if not addressed with zeal and speed necessary to prevent its concernability.


Coach Miles: Sure do.


Coach Miles: Uh, no. Not at all. (holds up hands) Nothing crossed here. (crosses toes)


Coach Miles: Okay, sure thing. Good luck with that.


Coach Miles: I thought you said you'd be here for the Florida game.


Coach Miles: Later, fellas.

Les Miles Plans to Get in the Way of Les Miles

On Wednesday, former LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson was reinstated to the football team after his felony bar parking lot fightin' and kickin' charges were dropped to a misdemeanor. Without Jefferson, a two-year starter, Les Miles has turned LSU into the number one team in the country (without any other team losing) led by the quarterback Jefferson replaced in 2008.

They've looked so dominant through the first four weeks that the only two things that appear to have the power to derail them from a trip to the national championship game are Alabama and this man:

As is usually the case with LSU, Les Miles gives them the best chance to win with his insanity-laced decisions, non-existent clock management that somehow always works out for their success, and his ability to keep the talent pool at LSU deeper than 99% of the rest of country, but, minus the talent pool attribute, he also gives them the best chance to lose with his decision-making and clock management.

Observe the latest round of decision-making:
"I told (Jefferson) today that (Lee) will be our starter going forward,” Miles said during his radio show.

Later with the media, Miles said “Right now Jarrett Lee is our starting quarterback and what we would want to do is obviously add to that skill set.”
Meaning, that despite starting 4-0, with two dominant wins over top 20 teams, and propelling themselves to the number one spot in college football, Les Miles is going to play Jordan Jefferson. A quarterback, who before the bowl game against Texas A&M (Welcome, Aggies! NOW GO TO HELL.) last season, had four touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 12 games, leading the way for an offense that fought with Vanderbilt for right to be called the worst in the conference (and naturally, LSU won 11 games with it).

Les Miles has long been playing with house money, but this is a direct flaunting of society's conventions. Jarrett Lee has overcome his demons of throwing the ball to the other team for touchdowns to become a serviceable asset of an offense that only needs to take advantage of the field position given to it by its defense and special teams. And now Miles want to tinker with this inexplicable fortune?

THIS RUN HAS TO END SOMETIME, RIGHT?  No one can walk around with double middle fingers constantly moving in a 360-degree rotation, right?  At some point, the ass has to have a giant bite taken out of it, right?  Sports gods, why do you choose to lounge around on your asses all day while this stuff goes on directly in your sight?

/shakes fist at sky
/Houston Nutt returns to coach Ole Miss in 2012

Oh, well played, sports gods.  I've learned my lesson now, and that lesson is SPORTS ARE HORRIBLE AND STEADILY DRAIN THE MARROW OF LIFE FROM MY SOUL.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Things More Stable Than The Big 12

Tuesday, the athletic directors of remaining nine Big 12 schools met to have Texas and Oklahoma reassure them that they had no plans to set fire to the building or steal anymore of their money.  Then, after taking up a collection for the Longhorns and Sooners as a goodwill thank you offering ($273!), they all told the media they were committed to the idea of stability and preservation of the Big 12.

Just how many or few teams will compose the Big 12 as it moves forward?  No one, not even Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard, knows:
"There's a lot of possibilities. It could be nine, it could be 10, it could be 12, it could be 16, pick a number," Pollard said.
Okay, sure.  79.  -24.  π.   Zero.  Infinity.  ABSOLUTE ZERO.  They're all in play.  However, what's somewhat worrisome for the future of the Big 12 is that the first person quoted is the athletic director from IOWA STATE.  When reassurances and commitments to fixing problems need to be made, most companies don't turn to the guy running the mailroom to publicly deliver that message.  He may know his role quite well and do a good job, but his authority extends only to the degree in which it is given to him by those actually in charge of the show.

So if the mailroom guy is fielding questions, one can only assume the rest of the interoffice structure no longer functions and it's only a matter of time until a game of survival of the fittest breaks out.  And what makes that so exciting is that the game could be triggered by just about anything.  Not holding a door open, a dumb forwarded email, a refusal to validate parking.  PICK A CAUSE.

With all of that raging instability, and in order to show you just how unstable everything is, let's look at other things that are currently more stable than the Big 12.

Les Miles

Refrigerator-moving business in the Florida Panhandle


Housing market in southern Arkansas

Gus Johnson during the NCAA Tournament

Gus Johnson calling a Hail Mary

Boat/Sandbar parties

Nick Saban after a 3rd and 14 is converted against his defense

Your stomach after four plates of meat and no salad bar at Fogo de Chao

The mind of W. Axl Rose

/prays the US tour is still going on by the time it gets near me

Mama grizzly bear after she determines her cubs have been bothered

Pete Boone and Houston Nutt's job security

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SEC Orientation for Texas A&M

Congratulations, Texas A&M fans.  You are now part of the best conference in all of college football, and the latest member of the toughest division in college football.  Though no one has been able to, in a non-bullshit fashion, explain why your addition helps the rest of the SEC without vague references to TV markets and Texas recruits, who don't seem to win significant games for you or Texas, you are to be congratulated on getting richer and better without really doing a single thing.  That kind of planning and execution can only be conceived and brought to fruition in America.

Since you're new around here, I've taken the time to put together a few rules, stereotypes, and nonsensical hatred with which to familiarize yourself before beginning conference play in 2012.  These can get a little tricky given that there's no rhyme or reason to many of them, but just follow along as best you can and do what the American education system teaches everyone to do:  memorize everything, don't learn anything.

Basic Rules
1. Go to the Ole Miss/A&M game in Oxford. Oxford is one of the best college towns you will ever visit, and you'll probably win the game.

2. Don't try to find out how many football national championships Alabama has won. Wildly inconsistent sourcing will only make your head hurt. Just know that they've won more than you and their fans think they've won way more than that.

3. Bear Bryant really is dead, despite what your Alabama road trip experience will tell you.

4. You lost a recruit to another SEC school? CHEAT HARDER.

5. As a member of the SEC West, you are required to schedule either UAB, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, or at least one I-AA team each season. That Music City/Other Mediocre Exhibition Bowl slot isn't going to fill itself.

6. LSU will beat you in a way that makes you question whether they've signed a pact with the Dark Prince (note: NOT your former coach Jackie Sherrill, but the Biblical one), God hates your school, or both.

7. Auburn will beat you in a way that makes you question whether they've signed a pact with the Dark Prince (note: NOT your former coach Jackie Sherrill, but the Biblical one), God hates your school, or both.

8. You know how much you care about basketball? That's how much Kentucky and Vanderbilt care about football. Yes, Ole Miss cares about football, but everything they do indicates they don't.

9. We'll all need our dry cleaning picked up for the next year. Light starch is always appreciated.

10. The rest of the rules we make up as we go along. What, and you thought we had it together over here? FRESH MEAT.

Types of Fans
Because broad, sweeping stereotypes are so much easier to package neatly into quick points, I'll use those to outline the two types of fans you will encounter at every school.

1. They own at least two recruiting national championship t-shirts (yes, these exist), somehow will work a long "a" sound into yelling "Roll Tide," will viciously taunt you about taking the Bear from you even though they weren't alive  then, can't find Tuscaloosa on a map (even if they are in Tuscaloosa), and at some point in their lives have come to blows with an immediate family member or close friend over the merits of 3rd and 4 running play in the fourth quarter against North Texas while leading 51-3.

2. Outside of three to four hours on a Saturday, a functioning, contributing member of society. But, when their blood gets up during the game, they will want to take your blood. And as long as Nick Saban is coaching, they probably will.

1. Those who wear plastic hog hats.

2. Those who take 20 minutes of your time directing your attention to their exhibits A through ZZZZZZZZZZZ as to why Houston Nutt is the worst coach in the history of college football and I don't care if we just won 10 games and are a rising program I want to talk about the atrocity that is Houston Nutt.

1. People who are "All In."

2. Energy vampires.

1. Jort, Croc, and sleeveless t-shirt wearers.

2. Old people.

1. Ole Miss fans with an ever GREATER sense of entitlement

2. Ole Miss fans who demand even less out of their school

1. Passing the time until basketball starts.

2. Already in Rupp Arena waiting for midnight madness to start.

1. Those who start Saturday boozing at or before 7 AM.

2. Those who start Saturday boozing at or before 9 AM (also known as "lazy elitists").

Mississippi State
1. "How did what we just accomplished compare to that of the Mississippi Ole Pi$$ Webel Black Bears?"

2. Tortured, good-natured souls who have endured more total misery than their in-state rivals, but have witnessed less consistent bed-shitting and one more trip to Atlanta.

Ole Miss
1. Those who own this print:

And subscribe to it with all their heart.

2. People who genuinely want to see Ole Miss not give a shit about the party and fix what's been plaguing the school for 40 years. They'll sooner climb Mount Everest than uproot the GOB network.

South Carolina
1. Will attend every game no matter if Lou Holtz is coaching his way to an 0-11 record or Brad Scott is doing something dumb.

2. No one else.

1. Those who hate Charles Woodson more than they like Peyton Manning.

2. Those who own Indianapolis Colts merchandise.

1. "Northwestern, Duke, and Virginia admissions are a bunch of assholes."

2. "I wanna go to the game, but I only want to stay for like 20 minutes."

And that covers most of what you need to know for now.  The rest you'll learn as you go.  My advice for the first year is to make minimal eye contact, don't stand out, but don't fall behind, and for the love of all things good and decent, don't lose to Ohio State.

Monday, September 26, 2011

From The Weekend That Was


Georgia 27, Ole Miss 13
I'm done complaining and engaging in all forms of wailing and gnashing of teeth over this Ole Miss team. Well, at least until the next time something makes me really mad, which will almost certainly happen in the first 10 minutes of every game. So, like Ole Miss, NOTHING HAS OR WILL CHANGE.

But for now, the final analysis of the Ole Miss team is pretty simple. No quarterback, no offensive line (burn in a fire, Phil Steele), no coach, and average defense. I mentioned this on Twitter on Saturday (if you're not on the Twitters or are, you have the opportunity to be exposed to even MORE of my disappointment and fist-shaking at the sky by clicking on the "follow me" link on the right), but when we're looking for our new coach, if we don't hire a Mike Leach/Dana Holgorsen Air Raid-ish believer, and go with a Skip Holtz type, I quit.

Saturday night, with a significant talent gap and playing one of the best, if not THE best defense in the country, Holgoren's West Virginia offense put up 533 yards of total offense against LSU, with Geno Smith throwing for 463 yards. Special teams disasters and turnovers kept West Virginia from keeping it close until the end, but they moved the ball at will after the first quarter.

By comparison, the Ole Miss offense has 591 TOTAL yards through three D-I football games. I never want to see another pro-style offense which relies on having better players than everyone else to be successful, because, as I said before, we will never have those players on a consistent basis. Dammit, I'm ready for this coaching search to get started. IT'S ALL I HAVE RIGHT NOW.

Also, Georgia, you stink.

Alabama 38, Arkansas 14
In the modern era of D-I college football, as in when black players were finally allowed to make the game a million times more fun to watch, has a team ever been held to negative yards of total offense? If not, there's a good chance it will happen on October 15th in Oxford, Mississippi when Alabama comes to town.

If they were able to manhandle Bobby Petrino's offense, which is an actual functioning offense, first degree felony abuse/assault/battery is headed the Rebels' way.

Auburn 30, Florida Atlantic 14
A round of congratulations to Ted Roof for allowing fewer than a quarter of a million yards to an opposing offense. FAU, one of the few teams in the country with a worse offense than Ole Miss, only managed to grind out 307 yards and 14 points, which were 306 yards and 13.9 points above their respective averages.

Florida 48, Kentucky 10
On Friday I wrote that Kentucky had to know that their only chance of winning was limiting Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, forcing John Brantley to throw. How'd that work out? 405 yards rushing for Florida, with 262 from Rainey and Demps. So I'd say not well. The bloodbath of ineffectiveness between Ole Miss and Kentucky on November 5th will be a tale of horror passed down through generations until the end of time.

Mississippi State 26, Louisiana Tech 20
Rest a little easier, Bulldog fans, for your team is the second football team in which Tech has taken to overtime this season. Now, you may get worried again because that first team was Central Arkansas.

Chris Relf seems to have responded really well to being pulled on the biggest drive of the game against LSU. If standing on a beach, his ability to throw the ball into the ocean is in question at this point. However, the lifeguard stand and beach furniture storage box could still be in play due to the fact the ball could go anywhere when it leaves his hand.

I understand the whole team being flat in a game like this, but to only score 13 offensive points (in regulation) against a bad defense like Louisiana Tech's is a troubling sign. Not to mention, State was a few "that's why they're Louisiana Tech" plays away from being 1-3 after eight months of contending in the SEC West talk.

South Carolina 21, Vanderbilt 3
How about everyone go ahead and sign an agreement to never say anything about Vanderbilt being a new kind of Vanderbilt. That would save me time in saying, "I NEVER TIRE OF BEING RIGHT," and it would save everyone else time in retracting praise for Vanderbilt and their coach at the time of incorrect praise. 77 yards of total offense against a defense that was shredded by East Carolina and Georgia is an excellent reminder that, assuming a win over Kentucky happens, Vanderbilt will go 2-6 in the SEC.

But the real excitement to come out of this game is the collapse of Stephen Garcia, who has looked awful for most of the season. With his four interceptions in this game, he's taken the lead in the competition for the Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure. And thanks to Connor Shaw being just as bad or worse, Spurrier will be forced to keep playing him, which will result in more headset-throwing montages ESPN showed us at various points in the game.

/weeps hot tears of joy

LSU 47, West Virginia 21
See above for my man-crush on all things Dana Holgorsen, but only LSU loses their starting quarterback a week before the season starts and gets BETTER. WAY BETTER. Jarrett Lee has stopped throwing interceptions and now specializes in not doing dumb things and making a smattering of really good throws. Had Reuben Randle not dropped a touchdown pass that would have made it 34-7, Lee would have thrown four TDs and put a special exclamation point on a curb-stomping.

Of course, it helps to have good running backs, receivers, and offensive line, but Lee has elevated himself to whatever level is above game manager. Let's call it game supervisor. Or game assistant to the vice president. If LSU and Alabama hold their courses, the November 5th game will be the exact opposite of the Ole Miss/Kentucky game on that day.

Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches

Jeff Demps, Florida
10 carries, 157 yards, 2 TDs

Given to the player who caused his team’s fans the highest degree of wailing and gnashing of teeth due to blown assignments and generally piss poor play

Stephen Garcia, South Carolina
16-30, 228 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs

Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him

Les Miles
The man is an unstoppable force, perhaps even a Nightrain?

(In honor of Guns going back on tour. Even without Slash and most of the rest, I'm gonna do my best to be there.)

2011 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the regular season

1. Stephen Garcia 7
2. Morgan Newton 6
2. Zack Stoudt  6
4. Barrett Trotter 3
4. Chris Relf 3
4. Tyler Wilson 3
4. Aaron Murray 3
4. Larry Smith 3
9. John Brantley 2
9. A.J. McCarron 2
9. Tyler Bray 2

Week: 2-5
Season: 18-17-1 (.513)


Peter Venkman
Week: 6-1
Season: 29-9 (.763)

Mr. Blue
Week: 3-4
Season: 22-15 (.594)


Cameron Poe
Week: 7-0
Season: 31-6 (.837)

Chris Low
Week: 7-0
Season: 31-6 (.837)

Gray: 22-4
Venkman: 20-6
Poe: 22-4

Texas A&M at Arkansas
Ugh. Now I have to pay attention to another team? You'll find me in the camp that thinks the addition of A&M is unnecessary and only benefits Texas A&M. I'm not sure I understand the logic of messing with the best set up in college football.

/informed this means we may not have to lose to Alabama every year

Welcome aboard, Aggies!

Florida at Alabama
A Saturday night with Uncle Verne? YES PLEASE.

Ole Miss at Fresno State
If he loses, it could be Houston Nutt's last game at Ole Miss. COACHING SEARCH PLEASE.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Week Four Power Poll And Picks

Carefully ranked by three voters, former Jefferson Pilot color analyst Dave Rowe, former Ole Miss (and everyone else's) defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn, and the SEC replay official that's gonna screw your team, this poll marks those in the SEC who spent the last week living the good life of victory, non-suspension, and blind luck or superior talent.

1. James Franklin
Dave Rowe: "Oh, wow! Vanderbilt! Undefeated! You gotta like what he's done with this team. Really playing hard and looking good on offense. I expect them to put up some points today!"

/Vandy fails to get first down until the third quarter

2. Stephen Garcia
Joe Lee Dunn: "I can't figure this boy out. Big, fairly athletic, strong arm, yet he doesn't know where the ball is going. I don't know. Probably should blitz."

3. John Brantley
Joe Lee Dunn: "Brantley reminds me of Russ Shows, minus the dedication to run head-first into a defensive lineman."

4. Steve Spurrier
Dave Rowe: "Don't sleep on the Commodores, Ball Coach!"

5. Bobby Petrino
Replay official: "Seriously. What an asshole."

6. Chris Rainey
Dave Rowe: "A text message? I don't understand. It's like letter that goes through your phone? Oh, boy! What'll they think of next!"

7. Jarrett Lee
Joe Lee Dunn: "He's thrown how many interceptions? And you're telling me there's not a job for me somewhere in D-I football?"

8. Les Miles
Replay official: "I have it on good authority that Les only considers challenging plays when the clock is on an even number in months that have 31 days and odd numbers in months with 30 days."

9. A.J. McCarron
Dave Rowe: "Hey, he's still alive! Nice job, A.J.!"

10. Tyler Wilson
Joe Lee Dunn: "Oh, right. Sorry, not much on him. Working on getting my application to Memphis before the weekend."

Using whatever lines he can find, even those sites where degenerates are able to freely gamble on prop bets in the Pro Bowl, Gray tries to beat the spread.
Season: 16-12-1 (.569)

Georgia (-9.5) at Ole Miss
My JP game history is a little foggy, mostly because the human brain does a remarkable job of shoving trauma into a deep, dark cave never to been seen again until triggered by the smallest of events, but I cannot recall a JP game in which so much was on the line. Not in terms of division titles or bowl births, but, rather, in a perfectly fitting JP fashion, the survival of a pair of coaches.

Lose to Ole Miss, a team that just got waxed by Vanderbilt, and Mark Richt is either fired on Sunday or a dead man walking for another two months. Get blown out by Georgia, and the same applies to Houston Nutt. A respectable loss probably earns Nutt time until the next thrashing, and an improbable win gives Nutt one bright spot in what is sure to a miserable year, ultimately resulting in his firing.

Looking at this game, I'm reminder of 2006 when an Ed Orgeron team was fresh off a 27-3 drilling at the hands of mighty Wake Forest in Oxford. Georgia came to Oxford the following week, favored by three scores, and walked away with an UGLY UGLY UGLY 14-9 win.

Incidentally, that was the drunkest Ole Miss crowd in the school's history. A horrible football team, an 8 PM kickoff, and no hope. It was also that same night in which someone defecated in the Grove, was seen doing so by Ole Miss' PR-type person, Jeff Alford, who announced to the state's largest newspaper what he had seen, and was printed for all the world to read. WELL DONE, JEFFREY.

Anyway, the point I should have made three paragraphs ago is that even though Ole Miss is a bad team, they're not totally cooked yet, meaning I think they still have some pride. And in the testosterone-fueled world of violent sports, pride can motivate you to keep from getting embarrassed for a second straight week. Combined with Georgia's problems (poor offensive line, head coach pressure, soft run defense, and general bed-shitting tendencies), it makes for an ideal time to take the points with an SEC team at home. Ole Miss won't win, but the points are too good to pass up.

Arkansas at Alabama (-12)
Arkansas goes from three straight games where it was possible to score 75 points if everything clicked as Bobby Petrino saw it clicking, to a game in which 7.5 points would be a respectable number. Mostly because I don't know how they'd get that .5 points.

However, the Alabama offense in its one legitimate game scored 23 points on a team that needed a late touchdown to beat Temple. It's possible they could be saving the two percent of non-conservative plays they have for this game, or they're just relying on the defense to make sure three field goals and a touchdown is enough to get the job done, and perhaps even be called a little excessive.

Alabama should dominate with their defense, but it will be an ugly dominate. Ugly enough that 12 points is enough for me to take.

Florida Atlantic at Auburn (-33.5)
I'm pretty sure I once babbled mildly incoherently in this space about Auburn dominating bad teams even in the Chris Todd era. Then they went out and nearly lost to Utah State. The lesson to be learned here is that I do not learn lessons, and take Auburn to cover.

Florida (-20) at Kentucky
VEGAS, ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO FORCE ME TO TAKE ANOTHER UNDERDOG? I hate this so much. The Wildcats are challenging Ole Miss for offensive worthlessness, but on the other side, surely they understand that limiting Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps puts the ball in the hands of John Brantley, which is a huge win for themselves. But can they do it? I DON'T KNOW.

Based on a rule I just made up, I'm taking Kentucky and the points because no SEC team should be a 20-point dog at home unless they are Vanderbilt or coached by Ed Orgeron.

Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State (-20.5)
State to cover.

Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-16)
Just to stick to my guns that Vanderbilt is terrible, I'll take South Carolina to cover. There's nothing like the kind of stubbornness that takes you down with the ship.

LSU (-6) at West Virginia
It's too bad a fine-tuned Dana Holgorsen offense doesn't get to go up against this LSU defense. It would have been, as they say, an extreme conflict of interest making for awesome television. No idea if they actually say that, but you get the point. Another year or two at West Virginia, and I think Holgorsen has a chance to put a dent in this defense.

Alas, we are stuck with the matchup at hand. I like LSU to cover, but I think this is the game we finally get a Jarrett Lee pick six due to West Virginia's aggressive and unconventional (3-3-5) style of defense. AND IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME. It's been far too long since we've seen that friend.

Also, read this if you want to learn legitimate things about this game.  And it should help erase any doubts an Ole Miss fan will have about hiring a Leach/Air Raid disciple.

*You will not double your paycheck.


Peter Venkman
Season: 23-8 (.742)

Georgia at Ole Miss
Georgia. Last Saturday, my father, who is pushing 60 years of age and attended an SEC school, called me from Nashville to tell me that this Ole Miss squad is hands down the worst SEC team he has ever seen in person. I’ve never been one of those cool cats who skips the game to party in the Grove, but if ever there was a year to do it, it’s this one.

Arkansas at Alabama
Alabama. Did anyone else notice that North Texas resembled the Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos from Necessary Roughness? I half-expected Scott Bakula to enter the game and throw bombs to Sinbad.  Love that kelly green.

FAU at Auburn
Auburn. This is one of three remaining wins on the Tigers’ schedule (Ole Miss, Samford). Ted Roof is clearly one of the top defensive coordinators in the Alabama Independent School Association.

Florida at Kentucky
Florida. I just found my post-game bar outfit for Gainesville next week:

LA Tech at Mississippi State

Vandy at South Carolina
South Carolina.

West Virgina. No, that’s not a typo. Like a woman scorned, look for WVU to take out all of her “no conference thinks we’re good enough” angst against Les Miles and company. Also look for Jarrett Lee to backslide from the hallowed grounds of “game manager” to “who the hell gave this tubby sack of shit a scholarship to an SEC school?”

Mr. Blue
Season: 19-11 (.633)
This week we're graced with thoughts from the mind Mr. Blue.

Georgia at Ole Miss
Ole Miss. “What the hell? He shells out Ol’ Roy for the first eight years of my life, now it’s free meat on Hump-day.”

Arkansas at Alabama
Arkansas. (Censored; Ed: Who knew that Mr. Blue, a fan of letting the world see his red rocket, had such sexy time thoughts.)

FAU at Auburn
FAU. “Meat…meat…meat…Meat…Meat…MEAT…BRAAAAAAHHHHMMMM!”

Florida at Kentucky
Florida. “Hey, vanilla face! Get the low-sodium turkey for crying out loud. Elderly black men stroke out on this salty shit!”

LA Tech at Mississippi State
MSU. “How did it come to this? From 2003-2005 I’m pimp-walking around right field at Rebel baseball games, breakin’ hearts and sniffin’ butts, now the highlight of my week is a quarter-sized piece of meat on an index card.”

Vandy at South Carolina
Vandy. “Sometimes, late at night, I remember a flimsy structure, over on South 16th. Oxford Place, I think it was. There was a bearded man in a hat…they called him Torrent. He had such gentle hands…”

LSU. “If he goes blind, I hope he’d keep me on as his seeing eye dog. I wonder how fast I could get him in oncoming traffic?”


Cameron Poe
Season: 24-6 (.800)

Georgia at Ole Miss
Last time Georgia came to Oxford someone took a dump in the Grove. This time I hope someone pulls a Todd Packer and takes a dump in Houston Nutt's office. I've seen many putrid Rebel performances, but last week's game may be the worst. It's a testament to how bad Ole Miss football has become when it's not surprising that they lose to Vandy.

The thing that did surprise me, however, was the total lack of effort put forth by the team It is clear that this team has quit on Nutt. Teams that quit on their coach early in the season don't come back. (See e.g. Bama 2000, Bama 2006, Auburn 2008) Georgia will roll and Houston Nutt will take one step closer to the unemployment line. (35-10 UGA)

Arkansas at Alabama
I've been about to vomit all week because of this game. Bobby Petrino offenses scare the hell out of me. I don't think Bobby has thought about anything other than this game since the season began. The Alabama defense will see all sorts of crazy shit to start the game. I hope that the defense can withstand the storm because I don't think Chest Tattoo Boy will put a ton of points on the board.

I'm going to go with the Tide because this game is in T-town, but it will be close well into the 4th quarter. If Alabama wins, I will wear this shirt at next week's game in Gainesville. (20-17 Bama)

FAU at Auburn
Auburn loses one game and the AD is sending a don't panic letter to the Auburn "family." They must really think that the ship is about to hit the iceberg. (45-21 Auburn)

Florida at Kentucky
Kentucky lost to Louisville. Kentucky must suck real bad. Florida has a good defense and a below average offense. A below average offense will be enough. (38-7 Gators)

Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State
Dan Mullen did a good job of convincing his players, State fans, and stupid members of the media that State was a legitimate contender for the Western Division title. He failed to back up that big talk in losing his first two SEC games, which brought his record against SEC west opponents to 2-10. Mississippi State is just an AVERAGE football team.

At State, average is reason to celebrate and have big pep rallies with Fred Smoot, but let's stop this nonsense about Dan Mullen turning State into an SEC power. You would think Dan would shut the hell up after two straight losses, but Dan is still spouting off about taking State to Atlanta one day. Dan, one day I'm going to be President of the United States. (31-17 State)

Vandy at South Carolina
I give the new guy at Vandy credit because winning any games at Vandy is difficult. I'm not buying, however, the idea that he is turning that program around. The team I watched on Saturday looked a lot like the Steve Martin era Vandy teams. They were just playing a much shittier version of Ole Miss. They will not upset Carolina in this game.

I think Spurrier hates his quarterbacks so much that he is trying to see if he can win a game by giving it to Marcus Lattimore on every offensive play. Lattimore carried the ball 37 times last week against Navy. I predict 62 carries and 340 yards for Mr. Lattimore this week. (28-17 Carolina)

LSU at West Virginia
Dana Holgorsen's hair and offense are must see TV when West Virginia is up against the typical Big East foe. Unfortunately, Dana does not have enough players to consistently move the ball against the LSU defense. This game will be a lot like the LSU/State game. It won't be a blowout on the scoreboard, but it won't ever feel like West Virginia has a chance to win the game. (24-14 LSU)

Chris Low
Season: 24-6 (.800)

South Carolina
Mississippi State

WAC Edition

New Mexico State at San Jose State
Gray: I saw San Jose State play UCLA two weekends ago and they were, what's the word I'm looking for...WORSE THAN UCLA, if possible. But, at the end of the day, they're not New Mexico State. SJSU.
Venkman: I will be voting straight libertarian anarchist this week. All home WAC teams, please. SJSU.
Poe:  New Mexico State.  Does Hal Mumme still coach the Aggies?

Fresno State at Idaho
Gray: Fresno, in preparation for our loss to them next weekend.
Venkman: Fresno.
Poe:  Fresno.

Nevada at Texas Tech
Gray: Texas Tech. Tommy Tuberville back in Oxford? I would not put up a fight that no one would pay attention to anyway.
Venkman: Texas Tech.
Poe:  Texas Tech.

Colorado State at Utah State
Gray: Utah State.
Venkman: Utah State.
Poe: Utah State.  I liked their work against Auburn.

UC Davis at Hawaii
Gray: Hawaii. Former Hawaii coach and current SMU coach June Jones in Oxford? No issue here.
Venkman: Hawaii.
Poe:  Hawaii.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Missourah Sends The SEC A Gift Basket

If Michael Scott taught us anything, it's that morons are always in charge and gift baskets are the way business works (also:  don't trust your GPS).  Taking that line of thought, Missourah (if they're ever going to join the SEC, then we get to call them Missourah; way more fun to say) made sure the SEC knew that the Tigers were very interested in doing permanent business with the SEC by sending commissioner Mike Slive a lovely basket of gifts on Wednesday (and yes, it did reek of "PLEASE DON'T FORGET US").

Though it appears expansion talk and action has settled down for the moment, much like Houston Nutt's firing, the termination date of the Big 12 is a question of when, not if.  However, as usual, no one knows the entire story, so things could shift in the next 20 minutes or 20 years.  But, based on Tigers' coach Gary Pinkel's comments, I'd lean in the direction of 20 minutes.
"'s also really sad that this league … there's no other league in the nation that's dealing with this kind of stuff. It's (Texas A&M) the third member we've lost in two years. Obviously we've got problems in our league and we don't fix them. So, it's embarrassing. And it's sad because it has such great potential."
While the hour of destruction in not known, we do know the offerings delivered by the Tigers to the commissioner's office in Birmingham.  Peering through the cellophane,  the Tigers may be in need of hearing, "We'll be in touch (we promise!) soon."

Old people, and there are plenty of them in the South, eat this place up with the same vigor they reserve for $5.99 early bird specials, which are abundant in Branson.

2007 Kansas City Royals
Not the poster seen here, but the actual team. After going 69-93 that season, most of the players are out of work and in need of a job to give their lives some structure and discipline, and the SEC office always needs interns.

Todd Haley
The Tigers know Ole Miss will soon be in need of a new coach, and what better replacement than an overmatched ex-NFL coach.

Anti-Kansas shirts
Trying to capitalize on the SEC fans who have driven to Colorado to go skiing and had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing all of I-70 in Kansas, these shirts offer SEC fans and Missourah fans the chance to bond over a common enemy. Granted, SEC fans will never hate Kansas with the unbridled passion as those in the Show-Me State, but HOLY SHIT DOES I-70 SUCK.

Copies of the Oregon Trail computer game
If you recall, the game starts in Independence, Missouri before you head out into the unknown of the old American frontier. And yes, they should have stopped making computer games after this one. I beat this game once at school when I was in the fifth grade and I consider it my greatest achievement in life until I finally beat the control room board in Goldeneye for Nintendo 64 (it took me almost six months to beat that stupid board).

(click for the ability to see what the hell this is)

Non-Fascist alcohol laws
-No statewide open container law or prohibition on drinking in public
-No alcohol-related blue laws
-No precise locations for selling liquor by the package, which allows drug stores and gas stations to sell any kind of liquor)
-Missouri law expressly prohibits any jurisdiction from going dry

If you've ever lived in Oxford, take a few moments to wipe away the tears.

/bear hugs Missourah
/hands it a beer
/given ticket for open container and drinking in public

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ole Miss Offense Gets Even More Vanilla

After Saturday's 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt and offensive coordinator David Lee agreed that the offensive playbook needed to be simplified.  So the two set out to reduce the level of exoticism in the playbook of the 115th-ranked Ole Miss offense (that's total offense; scoring offense is 95th).  After hours of scheming, editing, and getting the damn copier to collate properly, here's what offensive players received at the beginning of the week:

Click for the ability to read this.


Hansel Explains Non-Expansion

"So I'm in the LA Coliseum, watching USC and Oklahoma play, and suddenly, this other team runs out on the field. They're wearing all this orange and black, and the whole thing is very confusing. 'Cause like, what are they doing here? There's already a game going on.

Then, a team wearing nothing but black comes running in behind a black horse with a rider on it making a gun with his hand. And I'm like, what is going on here? Not everyone can play, right? So just when I think it could get any more scary, Texas shows up. Yeah, Texas! How'd they even get there? Who told them the game was going on?

So, now, I'm like, totally spinning. Who's that, what's that over there, what's gonna happen next. I mean, it's really starting to freak me out. So I start screaming. Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh. I'll never forget the terror. When all of a sudden, I realize, 'Holy shit, Hansel, haven't you been smoking Peyote since August, and couldn't some of this be in your head?'

And it was. I was totally fine. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech have never even been in the Pac-12."

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Time for Ole Miss to Pull the Plug on 40 Years of Failure

When Archie Manning's final season at Ole Miss ended in 1970, the glory years of Ole Miss football breathed its last breath.  The program had been on its way down from the dominance of the 1950s and early 60s, but with Manning and the old coach, John Vaught, there had remained hope that another run like the one a decade before could be made.  The Manning and Vaught combination never did win a conference championship (or obscure national championship), but their series of winning seasons extended Ole Miss' appearance on the stage of college football legitimacy.

Since that time, Ole Miss has drifted in and out of minor relevance.  A pair of 10-win seasons ('71 and '03), 14 bowl games (Cotton Bowl as the most prominent game; Houston Nutt would like to take this time to remind you of the BACK-TO-BACK Cotton Bowl wins he coached), and more Independence Bowls (five) than should ever be allowed in five lifetimes are the greatest accomplishments by the Rebels in the last 40 years.  And when you examine the records during those years, the details are even more underwhelming.

Beginning in 1971 and through the 2010 season, Ole Miss' overall record is 231-225-4 (.506; 17 winning seasons out of 40).  The SEC record in that time is a putrid 112-175-1 (.390; I easily could have missed a game or two, but you get the point), which includes just 10 above .500 SEC seasons in 40 seasons.  After the 1992 season, the next season Ole Miss had a winning conference record was 2003, and since 2003, the Rebels have had one winning record in conference play (2008).  Even the horrid days of the late 70s and early 80s didn't see a stretch as worthless as that (thanks to bowl expansion and increased conference tie-ins, the Rebels did go to more bowls in recent years despite .500 or worse conference records; also, in the record listed above, I did not count forfeit wins; if we lost on the field, I counted it as a loss).

Currently, we find ourselves in the midst of yet another run of futility, losing, and embarrassment.  The latest of which was a 30-7 thrashing of thrashings at the hands of unmighty Vanderbilt, marking the end of the Houston Nutt era at Ole Miss.  As of this writing, he hasn't been fired, but it's a matter of when, not if that decision is made.  And so, for the fourth time since 1998, we will be undergoing a coaching search.

I don't have the slightest idea who is on our radar as the next man to take over the program.  You can throw out just about any name right now and at least part of it will stick, as things tend to do during these searches.  I have a few favorites in mind, but it's not my ass that will be on the line when the decision is made (though, you could argue that if Pete Boone survives the Nutt firing, neither will his since he's also lived through the Orgeron debacle; also, for the record, which I know you diligently keep, my top three are Gus Malzahn, Kevin Sumlin at Houston, and Art Briles at Baylor).

However, what I do know is that Ole Miss cannot afford to hire someone who believes in a conventional style, most notably on offense.  For the last 40 years, we've tried to do things the way everyone else does them.  Recruit the best players we can get, then play a similar style of football.  We've tried to do this against a lineup of Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia, all schools with more of everything than we have.  It shouldn't come as a shock that this approach has failed for 40 years.

Granted, as I mentioned above, there have been some successes over those years, but nothing of the sustained variety (I would call the Cutcliffe years sustained mediocrity).  And the majority of those successes came during a period in which the window for opportunity for success in the SEC for everyone, no matter pecking order status, was still open (and we had one of the five best quarterbacks to ever play in the SEC).  If you recall, the mid-to-late 90s were dominated by Florida.  No one else, save for the '99 Alabama team and Tennessee, could remotely threaten the Gators for conference supremacy. 

In the SEC West, it was virtually anyone's game.  Nick Saban had not arrived at LSU, Alabama was coming off probation, and Tommy Tuberville had not built Auburn into a monster.  If you went 5-3, you had a pretty good shot at making it to Atlanta.  And anyone could crawl through that window, as evidenced by a Wayne Madkin-led Mississippi State team going to Atlanta in 1998.  But then, the arms race began in 2000 when Nick Saban showed up in Baton Rouge and that's when the window began to close.

As we know, Saban turned LSU into what they are, Tuberville matched him nearly step for step, and Alabama, while not nearly as successful, only needed a quality coach to challenge those schools, which they eventually got in Saban.  From then on, it became clear that unless your school had excellent recruiting (meaning: top ten) and pumped million of dollars into the football program, you weren't winning consistently in the SEC, particularly the SEC West.

Ole Miss cannot match those schools in recruiting or in money raised and spent.  In 2006, we had our best recruiting class ever, finishing 15th in published rankings.  That was good for FOURTH in our own division, and sixth in the SEC.  Since 2006, we have not had a recruiting class match that success, nor will we anytime soon.  Even if we kept up that level of recruiting, it means we're still bringing in the fourth best collection of talent in the SEC West.

In order to offset the recruiting deficiencies we will always have, we have to change our approach, particularly on offense.  The conventional way, which has 40 years of data saying it does not work for us, has to go.  Ole Miss needs someone who believes in an aggressive and non-traditional offensive philosophy.  We're never going to have the players to allow us to overpower other teams on offense and rely on a defense to shut teams down, like an Alabama or LSU.  And any effort to continue to play this way is pure insanity.

What we have now is an opportunity to change Ole Miss football.  We can break free of the mold in which we've buried ourselves for the last 40 years and try something new.  It's the same type of strategy change employed by Texas Tech, Navy, Oklahoma State, and other smaller schools attempting to cut down the gap between themselves and the bigger schools.  And for the most part, they've made themselves competitive year after year.  There are no guarantees it will work at Ole Miss and in a place like the SEC, but we already know what doesn't work:  the last 40 years of Ole Miss football.

From The Weekend That Was

Note:  While writing this, I dropped four Tyler Bray passes that I should have intercepted.


LSU 19, Mississippi State 6
10:08 to go in the game, LSU leads 16-6, State, while not dead in the water, but certainly treading in it, pulls its starting quarterback in favor of a backup who has done nothing in his career to make anyone think he's going to lead a successful scoring drive.  Look, I know, and have mentioned at least 2,384 times, that Chris Relf can't throw vertically with any degree of accuracy, and at that point in the game vertical throwing was required.  But you don't pull arguably your best offensive player off the field for the most important possession of the game, essentially saying to a dominant defense, "Hey, guys, WE'RE GOING TO THROW NOW" (unless your name is Houston Nutt).

Tyler Russell's plays from the two drives before the garbage time drive (excluding one punt):
-Vick Ballard rush for five yard loss
-Incomplete pass
-Incomplete pass

And that was the game.  Odds are Chris Relf doesn't get it done either, but going back to last week against Auburn, he got the ball back down 14 with eight and a half minutes left and almost pulled it off.  Now, LSU's defense is a kabillioninfinity times better than Ted Roof's atrocity, but not giving Relf a chance makes as much sense as letting Tyson Lee have the option to keep the ball on a fourth and goal from the one.

Clemson 38, Auburn 24

Part of my sales pitch to Malzahn would be that, in three years, when he's ready to leave Ole Miss for more money and a higher profile job, the Auburn job will probably be open because Chizik, without a Malzahn, is Ed Orgeron without an accent.  So, if he really enjoys being at Auburn, take a two or three-year vacation, see another part of the world, then come back.

Vanderbilt 30, Ole Miss 7
I'll have more to say about Ole Miss later, but, for now, if Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones gives a shit at all about Ole Miss, he tells Pete Boone to fire Houston Nutt immediately, then offers Boone the chance to resign or be fired.  Then, he sets out to find an athletic director who has no ties to Ole Miss, but has run an athletic department or has been the number two at a big athletic department.  That person is charged with finding the next coach at Ole Miss.  Not Dan Jones or any other member of the GOB network, but the new AD.  He can use one of those coach search firms if he sees fit, but the decision is his.  Its success or failure rests solely on him.

As for this game, try to remember that Vanderbilt still stinks.  There will be plenty of hype about the 3-0 Commodores, but trust me, they stink.  So, yes, Ole Miss really is that bad.  I don't know if we will score a touchdown in conference play that is not in garbage time.  And if any member of our offensive line successfully pass blocks, they should be given the damn Rimington Trophy.

Georgia 59, Coastal Carolina 0
How bad is Ole Miss?  The initial line in Vegas for the Georgia game had the Bulldogs favored by 6.5 points.  Within a few hours, it jumped to 11.

Florida 33, Tennessee 23
If Florida's defensive backs were not playing defense with iron skillets as hands, it would be Tyler Bray who would be leading the conference in interceptions and not Zack Stoudt.  I counted seven passes that hit Florida defenders in the hands.  Had the ball not made a clanging noise when it hit them, Tennessee could have been looking at a four-touchdown loss.

Bray has a strong arm and can throw passes into a tight window, but his decision-making process is going to bite Tennessee in the ass and IT WILL BE GLORIOUS.  Also, John Brantley has officially achieved "I hope he doesn't screw this up" status for Florida fans and coaches.

South Carolina 24, Navy 21
Things with Steven Garcia are going so well that Spurrier had to give the ball, in the third game of the season, to Marcus Lattimore 37 times in order to win.  Luckily for South Carolina, the meat of the schedule doesn't start until the middle of October, but great Odin's raven, Lattimore is going to be a 65-year old running back when he's 22.  And a note to all the other SEC teams, don't schedule a triple option team ever.  Sucks to be you, Georgia.

Louisville 24, Kentucky 17
I thought about watching the second half of this, but instead drank a bottle of Liquid Drano.  Incidentally, that will be my drink of choice when Kentucky and Ole Miss play on November 5th.

Arkansas 38, Troy 28
Troy's quarterback attempted 63 passes, which equaled the number of sarcastic "die in your sleep" smirks that Bobby Petrino gave his players.

Alabama 41, North Texas 0
Rough week for the Sun Belt.  Aw, hell, who are we kidding.  Tough existence for the Sun Belt.

Given to the player who dominated with or without the help of his teammates and coaches

Chris Rainey, Florida
21 carries, 108 yards
2 catches, 104 yards, TD

Given to the player who caused his team’s fans the highest degree of wailing and gnashing of teeth due to blown assignments and generally piss poor play

Houston Nutt for Zack Stoudt's 13-26, 139 yards, 1 TD, 5 INTs

Given to the coach who dominated whatever task was in front of him

Les Miles
Took Jarrett Lee on the road and dominated, which has probably never been done before. At least not on this planet. Not sure about Les' home planet.

2011 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the regular season

1. Zack Stoudt 5
2. Morgan Newton 4
3. Stephen Garcia 3
4. Chris Relf 2
4. Barrett Trotter 2
4. Larry Smith 2
4. Aaron Murray 2
4. Tyler Bray 2
4. John Brantley 2
4. Tyler Wilson 2
4. A.J. McCarron 2

Week: 4-4
Season: 16-12-1 (.569)


Week: 7-1
Season: 23-8 (.742)

Week: 5-2
Season: 19-11 (.633)


Week: 5-3
Season: 24-6 (.800)

Week: 5-3
Season: 24-6 (.800)

Gray 18-3
Venkman 16-5
Poe 19-2

Arkansas at Alabama
Is Bobby Petrino already upset with someone?  Is Tyler Wilson practicing picking himself off the ground?  Will Nick Saban turn this game into a hammer fight? 

LSU at West Virginia
Now that West Virginia sells beer in its stadium, prepare for sales records to be shattered and never surpassed after this weekend.  And a note to West Virginia stadium officials:  Don't be like the Cotton Bowl a few years back and underestimate the drive for alcohol from rabid SEC fans.  I forget if it was the '04 or '08 Cotton Bowl, but the Ole Miss side of the stadium was completely out of beer by the end of the first quarter.  Whatever you think is enough, triple that order.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kansas Burns Down Missouri Town For The Second Time

In 1861, the town of Osceola, Missouri was attacked, looted, burned, and terrorized by a group of men known as "jayhawkers" from Kansas who were part of group that went around and attacked, looted, burned, and terrorized anything in Missouri. After all the murder and destruction ended, only about 200 residents remained of what was once a town of 2,500.

On Tuesday, people in the government of Osceola passed a resolution asking Kansas University to stop "the celebration of this murderous gang of terrorists by an institution of ‘higher education’ in such a brazen and malicious manner."

All that fancy highbrow political talk means that this is how they interpreted the events of 1861:

Click to enormosize.

Kansas University, in non-fancy political highbrow talk, responded by lighting the torches one more time:
“A Jayhawk is a blue bird with a red head and a big yellow beak that wears boots," Kansas News Service Director Jill Jess told the Columbia Daily Tribune. "It would be hard to confuse it with anyone with terrorist intent, though we admit we have been terrorizing the Tigers on the basketball court for some time. Tigers have been known to kill people. Bears, too.”
Give that woman all the tenure she wants.

Week Three Power Poll and Picks

Carefully ranked by three voters, former Jefferson Pilot color analyst Dave Rowe, former Ole Miss (and everyone else's) defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn, and the SEC replay official that's gonna screw your team, this poll marks those in the SEC who spent the last week living the good life of victory, non-suspension, and blind luck or superior talent.

1. Ted Roof
Joe Lee Dunn: "I tell ya, the boy doesn't appear to have a lick of aggression in his body, but his strategy of waiting for the other team to screw up seems to be working."

2. Joker Phillips
Dave Rowe: "Gutty win by Joker and the Wildcats. Central Michigan really (static noise covers rest of comment)

3. Houston Nutt
Replay official: "Can't wait for Houston to wildly challenge a play that's not even close. It'll cost him the game and the shred of good favor he has left at Ole Miss."

4. David Lee
Dave Rowe: "David Lee is one of the most innovative minds in all of football! And he hates the quarterback sneak, which is the worst play in football!"

5. Tyrone Nix
Joe Lee Dunn: "Now here's someone with some aggression. My kind of guy. Full house, casino blitzes in obvious blitzing downs. No other way to live."

6. Barrett Trotter
Joe Lee Dunn: "If I could just have one crack at him, oh, man. They'd be picking him out of the grass. Someone would probably score, but they'd be picking up the pieces of him after."

7. Tyler Bray
Dave Rowe: "WOW!!!!"

8. James Franklin
Replay official: "You really think we're going to let Vandy get some momentum? Enjoy your stay here, Mr. Franklin."

9. Stephen Garcia
Joe Lee Dunn: "If you can't understand how or why a quarterback operates, you're dealing with doubt, which is very dangerous. So, when in doubt, blitz everyone."

10. Steve Spurrier
Dave Rowe: "A fake punt from his own 32? The Ball Coach isn't afraid of anything! Except maybe the back nine at Augusta!"

Using whatever lines he can find, even those sites where degenerates are able to freely gamble on prop bets in the Pro Bowl, Gray tries to beat the spread.
Season: 12-8-1 (.595)

Auburn (+3.5) at Clemson
The one-year anniversary of the first proclaimed God-thing win. After Clemson led 17-3 at halftime, Auburn woke up and ripped off 21 straight points. Clemson added a fourth quarter touchdown to force overtime, where they promptly missed an open receiver in the end zone and the field goal try that soon followed. Auburn did not miss their field goal.

Chizik told ESPN's sideline reporter that tonight was "a God-thing." Then he did this:

Ric Flair approved of that WHOOOOOO!!!

As for this game, let's see...

/checks to see if Dabo Swinney is still coaching Clemson
/checks again to make sure he really is

I'll take Auburn and the points.

Ole Miss (-2) at Vanderbilt
Here is the most damning sentence ever written about Tyrone Nix and Houston Nutt:

"Larry Smith has shown that the one SEC team he can beat is Ole Miss."

I'm not sure Larry Smith would even be a good high school quarterback right now, but against Ole Miss he turns into skinny, black Tebow with a worse arm. And it's not because he elevates his game, no, it's because we are terrible.

Ole Miss has no identity on offense, an offensive line that admits it can't block a 3-4 scheme or defenses that stunt, and, as predicted, is playing two quarterbacks because its coaches can't make up their minds. GLAD WE'RE WORKING THIS STUFF OUT AS WE GO.

Let me tell you how this is going to go. Vandy is going to run read-option plays over and over again until they hit a few big plays, which they will. It's amazing that one type of play is going to run Tyrone Nix out of coordinating defenses for the rest of his career, but it will. Ole Miss will spend two and a half quarters farting around, running this play and that one, oooh, and that one over there, with no particular direction in mind, just running plays. A rally will get started late in the third quarter, but ultimately fall short because we have no clue what the hell we are doing.

Vanderbilt and the two points, please.

Coastal Carolina at Georgia (-28.5)

I'll be amazed if Coastal Carolina shows up with everyone wearing the same uniform. Georgia to cover.

Tennessee at Florida (-9.5)
Neither team has played anyone yet (Cincinnati does not count; they won four games last year), so who knows what the hell is going to happen here. I know I don't. Vegas seems high on the Gators, who, given the history of their team, are also probably high right now, but as long as my eyes don't deceive me, I notice that John Brantley is still playing quarterback for Florida.

While people who have subjected themselves to watching FAU and UAB play Florida say that Brantley looks much improved, would you trust him to cover a game by 10? Tyler Bray, of the gunslinger variety, has played exceptionally well thus far, but against far inferior competition. But, notice the word "gunslinger" and, coupled with everyone on God's green earth anointing him the next great SEC quarterback, thus convincing him his shit doesn't stink, can you trust him not to throw three or four passes to the other team trying to fit a pass in a window the size of a quarter?


I've convinced myself to take Florida under the notion that I think Tennessee's defense to be a little soft and slow, which is a bad combination going against Florida's speedy rushers. That, and I do not trust Tyler Bray, mostly because we've never met, partially because of his jazz stars back tattoo, and a tiny bit because he's got a four interception game in him somewhere.

Navy at South Carolina (-17)
South Carolina is 2-0 and, except for Marcus Lattimore and a few big plays, has not looked good.  Stephen Garcia looks completely out of sorts (more than usual) and its defense is hemorrhaging points.  However,  the defense catches a break this week, with a one-dimensional offense in Navy.  It's a disciplined and successful offense, but South Carolina will possess athletic superiority across the board.  I expect them to give a few big plays because that's what South Carolina does, but I don't think we're going to see Navy throw up 30+ points.

So that puts the burden of the cover on the Gamecock offense.  Navy has played Delaware and Western Kentucky so far, so they haven't experienced this year the power and speed they'll see on Saturday.  And two of their cornerbacks put together probably aren't as big as Alshon Jeffery.  Against my better judgment, I'm casting my lot with an what I think will be an improved South Carolina offense and taking them to cover.

Louisville at Kentucky (-6.5)
Most amazing fact about this game:  Someone is going to win.  Maybe.  And based on a betting strategy I just made up, which says, always take the points in a game involving two bad teams, I'm taking Louisville.

Troy at Arkansas (-23.5)
I like Arkansas' chances of making it through the first three games outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 155-17.  Arkansas and the cover.

North Texas at Alabama (-45.5)
Oh, if only this were true.  AND MAYBE IT IS. 
Alabama to cover.

*You will NOT double your paycheck.


Peter Venkman
Season: 16-7 (.696)

South Carolina

Mr. Blue
Season: 14-9 (.609)

Stared down both slices, slowly walked over to Clemson’s beef, gave one last look to Auburn before destroying Clemson.

No one, man or beast, has ever taken down this much meat in the name of Vanderbilt University.

Blue actually farted on his way over to the Bulldog meat.

Ate Florida, leaned back and licked his red rocket, then made no attempt to eat Volunteer beef.

Left the kitchen, rolled his bed up like a taco, made love to aforementioned taco-bed, then polished off Navy.

Glanced at both meats, then walked into my closet and went to sleep


Ate Bama, then part of North Texas before dropping half of North Texas in his water bowl.


Cameron Poe
Season: 20-3 (.870)

Auburn at Clemson
This year's game will be even more gut wrenching for the Upstate Tigers. Clemson will lose this game when the holder fumbles the snap on a last-second 22-yard game-winning field goal try. (35-34 Auburn)

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
This game is too miserable to think about. The "JP Game of the Week Memorial Trophy" heads back to Oxford this year. (14-13 OM)

Coastal Carolina at Georgia
Both of these teams play like Cats. (45-0 UGA)

Tennessee at Florida
I hope Dooley rocks the orange pants in the Swamp. I don't think the pants will help on the scoreboard, though. (21-17 Gators)

Navy at South Carolina
I have absolutely nothing to say about this game. (35-10 Cocks)

Louisville at Kentucky
Two of the worst BCS conference teams battle to be the best team in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. What's the deal with a Commonwealth? It's sounds communist to me. I'm glad I live in a state. As for the game, I feel sorry for anyone who has to watch that pile of shit. (20-14 UK)

Troy at Arkansas
Arkansas has enjoyed a poo poo platter of opponents during the first 3 weeks of the season. (56-14 hogs)

North Texas v. Alabama
I feel a little better about the quarterback position after last week's game. Chest tattoo boy looked cool, calm, and collected in a what was a very hostile environment. I am back on board after jumping off of the wagon during the Kent State game. Did you hear me, AJ? I'm buying in to you even though you have a chest tattoo, so don't be an asshole and play like shit this week. (42-7 Bama)

Chris Low
Season: 20-3 (.870)

South Carolina
Ole Miss

C-USA Edition
Gray 12-1
Venkman 12-1
Poe 13-0

Tulane at UAB
Gray: UAB. Can we gamble on the number of Tulane fans to make the trip? Surely it'll be no more than 30, right? I expect UAB will triple that number.
Venkman: UAB. If Legion Field collapsed during a game with no one in attendance, would it still make a sound?
Poe: UAB

UCF at Florida International
Gray: FIU. I saw a highlight of one FIU player who looked faster than everyone else. Granted, they were playing Louisville and everyone is faster than that, but color me impressed.
Venkman: Pretty sure I thought these two were the same school for the first 25 years of my life.
Poe: FIU

Marshall at Ohio
Gray: Ohio. While I love McConaughey, I don't want him coaching my football team. Leading me on a treasure hunt in the Sahara for a Confederate ironclad? Absolutely. But football team, no.
Venkman: Marshall. I’d run through a brick wall for Matthew Mcconaughey, and so would you.
Poe: Ohio

Austin Peay at Memphis
Gray: Austin Peay. I just believe in the perfect season for Memphis.
Venkman: Memphis. I’ve looked into this, and it may be more cost-effective to encase the Liberty Bowl in a massive pyramid and call it The Tomb of Doom Part Deux.
Poe: Austin Peay

Houston at LA Tech
Gray: Houston. Someone tell Kevin Sumlin to send his resume to Oxford, please.
Venkman: Houston. Phi Slamma Jamma baby!
Poe: Houston

SE Louisiana at Southern Miss.
Gray: USM. My favorite part about Hattiesburg is using the bypass to go around most of Hattiesburg.
Venkman: USM
Poe: USM

UTEP at New Mexico St.
Gray: UTEP. Never give up, Pappy Price.
Venkman: New Mexico State
Poe: UTEP. Did you know that this a rivalry game? I sure as hell did not. This is the "Sonic Battle of Interstate-10." I bet the trophy is a piece of asphalt.

Northwestern State at SMU
Gray: SMU. I think it's about time the AD at Northwestern State called the Shrimp Boat Captain and asked him to come home.
Venkman: SMU. If you think Craig James is a tool now, watch Pony Excess.
Poe: SMU

Oklahoma State at Tulsa
Gray: Oklahoma State
Venkman: Oklahoma State
Poe: Oklahoma State