Ole Miss football has quickly become a villain in the world of college football, and fans should get used to it.
Any self-respecting Southerner worth their weight in salt enjoys, or at one time, enjoyed watching wrestling. It is part of our fabric. I spent many Monday nights parked in front of my television watching the men and women of the WWE fight it out.
I’ve always been a fan of the heel, the bad guy. I enjoyed the fact that even though the crowd consistently booed and cursed at him, he proudly walked down the aisle with a smile on his face. Instead of being upset that he wasn’t well liked, he relished in the fact that the crowd was more effected by his presence than he was by their disdain.
My favorite heels were not those who were innately evil. I liked those who were good but through some incident, misunderstanding or mistake becomes a bad guy. I liked the guy who gets hit in the head with a steel chair accidentally by his tag team partner, and now they have beef.
Ole Miss Rebel and Hugh Freeze have been under the NCAA microscope for three years. Last month the Notice of Allegations came to light. Though there were some things that were against NCAA rules, Ole Miss has been cooperative with the investigation.
The majority of the violations centered around Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil was suspended seven games last year as a preemptive attempt to lessen any future punishments.
Coach Freeze has stepped up and acknowledged the mistakes that were made. He has apologized publicly and assured the public that those things will be closely monitored from now on. But, some media and rival fan base refuse to accept Freeze and his apologies. They choose to mock his spirituality. They choose to ignore similar practices among their own school. They spend countless hours dreaming of our demise. So now I believe there is only one thing left to do. We must now embrace being a heel.
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Let’s stop apologizing. Let’s stop repeating ourselves. Let’s stop explaining. Let’s stop defending our actions. If they won’t accept our good-natured attempt to make amends, then let them boo us as we become the bad guys of the SEC.
I’m not endorsing cheating or dirty play. I don’t think late hits and intentionally injuring players have a place in football. But it’s okay to hit hard legally. It’s okay light up their quarterback, legally.
It’s okay for our running backs to run through linebackers and not around them. Let’s feed off their hate for us. Let’s stop asking forgiveness for not being satisfied staying fifth and sixth in the SEC West. Instead, let them know who we are.
I’m proud Coach Freeze and Athletic Director Ross Bjork have decided against watching Alabama and LSU dominate year after year. It amazes me that other teams are resigned to let the Crimson Tide roll every year while the rest of us eat the scraps. Yet they scream bloody murder if any new team challenges the heiarchy.
It’s like the football version of the Stockholm Syndrome. The rest of the West has gotten so used to being held captive by Nick Saban, that not only do they not try to escape, they will defend their captors.
No one dare loudly challenges why 5 stars continually come to Tuscaloosa to sit behind other 5 stars. Yet if the school, less than 150 miles away, continues to pull in elite talent, the SEC loses their minds. Oxford is continually named one of the most beautiful campuses in America, a selling point to any recruit in the country.
Fly War Eagle
So I say, “Let them be mad”. No more apologies. No more, “mistakes were made.” They don’t believe us. They don’t like us. Let’s just be okay with who we know we are. They weren’t cheering for us before, so why do we look for their approval now.
The first football game of the year is in Orlando, FL against Florida State on September 5th. It will be going on at the same time as WWE Raw. It would be the perfect time to show our new persona. If they want us to be the heel, let’s be the heel. How great would it be, if during the coin toss, music played over the loud-speaker and Tunsil comes out of the tunnel with his manager Jimmy Sexton in tow with a megaphone, in the style of Jimmy Hart?
All joking aside, we need to relish being the bad guy. I want to see more landsharks thrown this year. I want more aggressive play this year. I want us to beat SEC teams without any regard for their feelings . I want to beat Alabama and LSU by double digits. I want to hold Arkansas scoreless. I want to remind Vanderbilt that we own Nashville. I want to hang 50 on Mississippi State. I want to the league to cry foul all while we do it.
How sweet would it be to go to Atlanta and hold up the SEC Championship trophy, knowing that every team in the league will be at home throwing empty beer cans at the television while calling us cheaters? Who cares what they call us. WE know that we are not cheaters. WE know we are not bad guys.
I’m not a fan of the wrestler Roman Reigns. He is dry and has no connection with the crowd. But I do like his catchphrase. It should become the 2016 Ole Miss Rebel’s mantra. “I’m not a good guy. I’m not a bad guy. I’m THE guy.” Come on Rebels. Let’s be THE guy.