Here at the Cup, we have a strange way of showing how much we love Greg Hardy. A strange way for a strange boy. But we are not the only ones that love Master Hardy (though, I contend, we that know his artsy side, his hip hop flava, his private school roots, his icy stare, and his persnickety taste in foot-wear, yes, we are those that love him best).
Though tempered by the emergence of Steve Spurrier's All-SEC selection at quarterback, Greg Hardy exists as an enthusiastic meme favorite of the media. First team All-SEC, again. Likely to take second all-time in SEC career sacks and, plausibly, to move into the Top 5 in NCAA career sacks. All this for a guy who saw, really, limited time last season. The hype is deserved.
But, there's a wrinkle ...
See, the thing about hype, especially for a player on a recently and/or historically bad team, is that folks start equating the hype of the player and the team, or, at least, correlating the hype - that is to say, if, for some reason, hyped player cannot perform well, then the team will not perform well.
Greg Hardy is, obviously, a phenomenal athlete. But, in the event that he is hobbled (as he was, remember, when he made the cover of Sports Illustrated against Florida and when we lost, barely, at Alabama) or completely out of the game (as he was, remember, until Vanderbilt) or unable to register great numbers because he becomes the focus of an offensive line (as he was, remember, in the Cotton Bowl), this prediction is submitted for your consideration: Ole Miss ought still be the favorite in every game it plays.
Here comes the misinterpretation now: Red Cup Rebellion Proclaims Hardy Not Needed.
No such thing has been said. Read above where it has been said, "Greg Hardy is, obviously, a phenomenal athlete." However, would the 2008 record for the Rebels have been drastically different without the contributions of Hardy? I am not sure they would have. The argument can be made that Hardy was huge when it mattered most; he was not the cover man for SI simply because he was the only player they knew about. And his outstanding performance in the Egg Bowl rallied confidence for the defensive line.
However, I contend that the jumping ship that may well occur in the unfortunate event that Greg Hardy does produce the video game numbers of which he is capable would be unwise.