This Saturday the Ole Miss Rebels will have their biggest challenge of the year. The Alabama Crimson Tide comes into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium ranked number one and looking for revenge.
Two years ago when Senquez Golson intercepted a potential touchdown pass from Blake Sims, the Rebels exorcised a huge demon. The Ole Miss Rebels defeated the powerful and mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. The victory was viewed as an announcement to the world that Rebel football was to be taken seriously.
The Tide faithful were up in arms about the defeat to the lowly Rebels. They spent the week lamenting on The Paul Finebaum Show how Coach Nick Saban should be ashamed of himself. How could the mighty Crimson Tide lose to that team over in Oxford?
Then after a couple of days of licking their wounds, they convinced themselves that it was just dumb luck and would not happen again. However, one year later it occurred for the second time in a row. But this time, Alabama lost at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. I must admit, there was a sense of pride to watch the Crimson Tide fans pile out of the stadium before the game was over.
You would think beating them twice in a row would garner respect. At the very least you would think they would acknowledge that the Rebels are a formidable opponent. However, that was not the case. They made excuses for the loss.
Ole Miss caused five Tide turnovers during the game. The Alabama fans called them lucky. Ole Miss dominated for the entire game. But media said it was because Alabama wasn’t the same Alabama that they used to be. Now this is the Alabama team that had the eventual Heisman trophy winner, Derrick Henry on the team. This is the same Alabama that went on to win the National Championship. Yet, somehow when Ole Miss beats them they were not themselves.
I know the Crimson Tide fans like to flaunt their rings to remind everyone just how dominant they have been. Trust me, they have been very spectacular. But for the past two years the Rebels have been a thorn in their side. You can tell it has been very irritating. We have become that pest they just can’t shake.
We may never get the respect from the Alabama fan base but we seem to have the attention of the coaching staff and players. There were reports that the Alabama weight room has pictures of Ole Miss players on the machines.
But there is still a feeling that no one really thinks the Rebels are capable of winning this game on September 17th. If you listen to the television sports commentators they will tell you that we will not have a chance. This is what they said in 2014. They said the same thing in 2015. Yet here we are with a two game winning streak.
What will it take to gain their respect? Will it take another victory? Maybe if we have a blow out win, the rest of the country will believe. In my humble opinion, they silently already respect us. We are no longer an easy road win. Ole Miss is no longer the team you schedule for homecoming. They can’t treat us like a bye week.
Now they must bring their best game to beat us. Alabama has to focus and execute perfectly to beat us. Before, there used to be a gap in talent. The Crimson Tide never lost a recruit. Especially to the likes of Ole Miss. Now all of a sudden, they are losing recruiting battles. So much so, they are even crying that Ole Miss is cheating. Imagine that. Alabama accusing us of cheating. My, my, my, have the tides turned.
I can’t promise that the Rebels will win Saturday. Alabama is truly a great team. But I know the Rebels have the ability and the personnel to be victorious. I’m also sure the Alabama Crimson Tide know that we have the ability to win as well. That’s called respect.