The open date for Ole Miss football couldn’t have come at a better time. The Rebels are coming off a tough loss and are nicked up, especially on defense.
If Ole Miss football fans are honest with themselves, five wins and three losses are about what most experts predicted. I expected losses to Alabama, LSU and Auburn with Texas Tech being a toss-up and Arkansas was a complete guess based on recent history over the last four years. Texas Tech proved to be a good win as the Red Raiders are 5-2 with road wins over Oklahoma State and TCU.
The Arkansas game showed us the Ole Miss players are still playing hard and have the will to win. What is giving most fans heartburn is how Ole Miss lost to Alabama, LSU and Auburn. Bad defense or not, Alabama is destroying everyone and I expect them to beat LSU by three touchdowns or more in two weeks.
Yes, They Are That Good
Ole Miss Rebels
Folks, the Crimson Tide are just that good and may be the best team in the history of college football. The LSU game was a downer, not because the Rebels lost, but the way they did with seventeen penalties and even starting the game off with a delay of game. How does that happen? Granted LSU was the better team and would have won anyway, but it could have been much closer without the mental mistakes.
After the emotional win versus Arkansas Rebel fans had hope for an upset win versus Auburn. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, the officials set the tone of the game right off the bat with a horrible targeting call against Auburn being reversed. That led to a blocked field goal and you could feel the wind in the Rebels sails blow away.
The no interference call against Auburn in the end zone with DaMarkus Lodge was the worst call of the day. It was a horrendous call and the official standing right there said the pass wasn’t catchable yet it hit the Auburn defender in the back. I knew then it was not to be for Ole Miss. I counted seven questionable calls in the first half, all of which went in favor of Auburn. Is there a conspiracy here? Ole Miss can’t go to a bowl and Auburn can.
Unfair But True
A loss to Ole Miss by the Tigers would hurt any chance of the Tigers getting to a bowl. You can make up your own mind about this but I’ve believe that Alabama and Auburn get protected by the SEC office. I’ve been saying for years that the office needs to be moved out of Birmingham but I doubt that will ever happen. Was Auburn the better team? Absolutely! But Ole Miss had a shot to win this game and the bad calls hurt any momentum to pull off the upset.
So what are we to do? Many fans want staff changes and they want them now. Historically, making changes in the middle of the season don’t work. Texas tried it in 2013 with the firing of Many Diaz and bringing back Greg Robinson the week before the game against Ole Miss. The Rebels destroyed Texas and their defense was clueless the entire game.
I believe Matt will make changes after the season. He must do so in order to keep his job long-term and not lose the fans. Getting on message boards and lashing out at Luke and Bjork does not help. In fact, it hurts. Recruits read these messages on social media so think before you post. It’s not always coaching folks. In 2017 Scott Frost had an undefeated team at Central Florida and was a hot commodity. He’s now coaching his Alma mater Nebraska and they have their worst team in history. Did he all of a sudden become a bad coach? Nope! Jimmy’s and Joe’s will beat X’s and O’s every time. It’s all about talent.
Matt Luke deserves to bring in his own talent and coaches before we rush to judgement. He took over an awful situation with the NCAA investigation and subsequent probation and quite frankly going 6-6 in 2017 and being 5-3 in 2018 is a miracle in itself. We should get the NCAA appeals committee verdict any day now and if the unofficial visits restrictions aren’t lifted, it will be very difficult for Luke to turn it around. It’s all about recruiting folks. It always has been and always will be. Let’s cheer on the Rebels the next four weeks and then worry about everything else.