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Post Ole Miss hits the reset button

Friday September 25, 2009

One of the small pleasures of the football season is watching the typically unpredictable nature of every season turn the conventional wisdom on its head. The power polls, bombastic predictions, Heisman candidates, and what-if scenarios get blown up and regenerated every week. The lesson every time is to let the season play out, but what’s the fun in that? It was especially enjoyable to watch Tommy Tuberville get taught that lesson. In October of 2006 Tuberville, with Auburn undefeated and ranked #2, got caught up in worrying about the BCS and promptly got blown out by Arkansas. Georgia would do their part to keep Auburn out of the BCS a few weeks later. Damn, that was fun.

On to this year. We’ve already seen BCS-buster and Oklahoma slayer BYU go from favorite to forgotten. Now it’s Ole Miss’s turn. The ink was barely dry on this Glenn Guilbeau article in the Shreveport Times talking about the high rankings enjoyed by the SEC and the SEC West in particular when Ole Miss laid their egg in Columbia last night. I guess the SEC West *had* three teams ranked in the top 10.

It was always unrealistic to expect the SEC West to finish with three teams in the Top 10 (hindsight is great!) when they all play each other. No matter how good LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama are, there are three losses to be had when those teams play the round-robin divisional schedule. Even that ignores LSU’s games with Florida and Georgia and, as it turns out, Ole Miss’s game at South Carolina. Throw in a resurgent Auburn team, and the difficulty of remaining unblemished and highly ranked is that much tougher. The polls might exalt the SEC and the SEC West right now, but the reality of the conference schedule has yet to hit.

About Ole Miss…they’re getting killed this morning, and it’s for good reason. They just didn’t play well and made some strange coaching decisions. That said, a lot of the reaction is predictably overboard. They still have the pieces to be a quality team and the schedule to finish with a record that gets them back to a New Year’s Day bowl. It’ll show a lot about them whether they realize they still have a lot to play for and are able to regroup. The best thing about the loss is that it comes against an SEC East team, so they’ll still be able to determine their own fate in the SEC West.

That said, I have to pile on left tackle Bradley Sowell’s comments.

“I’m glad it’s gone,” Rebels left tackle Bradley Sowell said of the high-intensity spotlight, “so we can just get back to basics and win ballgames.”

I don’t think you’ll hear that from an LSU or Alabama player if they lose. Unfortunately I did hear a lot of that sentiment from Georgia players and fans in the aftermath of the 2008 season. That’s just not a winning attitude.

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