Greetings fellow Rebels. I am first timer so I want to make my first posting one to remember (You never forget your first girl = pink is my favorite color).
First the obvious: As 50 year old, life time Rebel, I expect to see Rebels get hosed by the zebras against BAMA and AUB and UGA and LSU and the like. For that matter, I expect the DAWGS to get hosed by the SEC elite as well (Remember the LSU game a couple of years ago? The SEC is a big, big business and it needs its bell cows to lead the herd so to speak.
But getting reamed by the officials against BYU in our own stadium is as perplexing as the lack of a well timed holding call against JSU last year to send the upstart FCSers back to Jacksonville with a coulda/shoulda/woulda tale of woe. Specifically from my vantage point on the east side, north end, goal line seat (easiest access to Grove and Square and those amazing Chop Shop nachos), I saw three separate instances where a Rebel DL was about to annihilate the BYU QB only to get TACKLED by an OL. I dont mean grabbed and held, I mean tackled to the ground. No call on any of those three plays yet Matt Hall gets called for ticky tack holding that offsets big Rebel first down on the NIGHTMARE drive. Granted NUTT lived up to his name by calling pass play on 3rd and 27 (instead of obvious run draw play, punt and play defense) but he never should have been put in the position to wig out like that in the first place. To add insult to injury was the no call on the obvious PI against Brassell down the west side line on the final drive. All of which leads me to the rhetorical question: WHAT THE HELL DO WE HAVE TO DO TO GET A FAIR SHAKE FROM THE OFFICIALS? Trust me young uns- this has been going on for decades. I don't want to bore you with dozens of examples but I will simply offer the Top 5 that I have seen with my own two eyes:
LSU TIGER STADIUM- Tigers run 4 plays in 5 seconds finally winning game with no time left on clock.
AUB VHS STADIUM. TT return to Oxford. Long pass to Charles Stackhouse to AUB 5 yard line late in game. Stackhouse is getting pushing around by two AUB DBs but still makes catch. Zebras call offensive pass interference.
BAMA VHS STADIUM. Rebels down a point or two late in game. Romaro Miller throws pass to Rufus French. Rufus ought to catch it and put game away since he is behind DB but he drops the ball (it was raining and had actually hailed in the stadium that day). He clearly never had possession of the ball. Zebras call it catch and fumble. Fat Freddy Kitchens drives BAMA for winning score.
ARK VHS STADIUM. 7 OT game. Eli to Doug Zieglar for game tying 2 point conversion. Nutt had figured out that zebras would not call PI to end game. His LB rides Zieglar from 1 yard deep in EZ to 1 yard line. Zieg catches ball but gets tackled short of goal line and ARK wins.
BAMA VHS STADIUM. Bama DB rides OM WR out of bounds, OM WR comes back into field, catches great pass to 5 yard line. One zebra calls a catch, second zebra rules it out of bounds and you cant touch it first. Replays clearly show BAMA DB pushing OM WR out of bounds which means OM WR can touch it first. Final ruling is incomplete pass Rebels loss.
I could cite many, many more examples but wanted to keep it to the Top 5 that I have personally witnessed and hope that you will add your Top 5 as well. Some one could very legitimately add the holding call on Matt Hall and no PI on pass to Nick to their list.
Now, back to the question: What does OM have to do to get fair and balance officiating? Record BB KING LIVE AT OLE MISS less than two decades after race riots? CHECK. Erect statue to civil rights leader? CHECK. Remove Rebel Flag? CHECK. Remove Colonel Rebel mascot? CHECK. Chancellor hob nob with Hollywood stars? CHECK. Downplay party school image? CHECK. Host Presidential Campaign Debate? CHECK. Quit playing "Slow Dixie"? CHECK. Remove Colonel Rebel mascot in favor of Black Bear that has zilch to do with our traditions, our legacy, our history except remote connection to Oxford native and OM student (but not graduate) William Faulkner's story "The Bear" about the destruction of the American Amazon (Mississippi Delta flood forest) or was it really about the pending destruction/decay of the American dream as the frontier is conquered and the vagaries of civilization set in? CHECK. Regardless of varying interpretations of Faulkner's epic literature, the mascot process was not transparent, the choices were limited, alumni were given no voice and while the Bear costume is pretty cool, the whole concept has left many, many OM constituents (ie consumers) feeling like they bought a Yugo. Generally speaking, It is generally never a good idea to piss off your customers, even if they are a bit old fashioned in their views on certain things.
WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO TO GET FAIR AND BALANCED OFFICIATING, PARTICULARLY IN OUR OWN STADIUM? I will be interested to hear your thoughts on this so please post em up.
The corollary issue is this: Before the OM administration embarked on its 20 year plan to remove all vestiges of our game day traditions that could be traced to Southern heritage, they should have driven a hard bargain with the NCAA. In other words, they should have said," We are willing to transform our student body from majority Mississippi kids to majority out of state kids, remove the Rebel flag, give the Colonel Rebel mascot the boot, quit playing Slow Dixie and add an alternative, PC mascot but we want something in return- FAIR AND BALANCED OFFICIATING!!! And it would be nice to go to a bowl game with a 7-4 record in Eli Manning's junior year!!!
After 1000 words, I am at the real point of this diatribe. WAOM means that we dont manage well. We aren't smart enough to go the NCAA on the front end of the 20 year plan and drive the kind of deal I describe above. And more importantly for the here and now, we aren't smart enough to set up processes to save Houston Nutt from himself. Nearly $3MM per year has gotten us this:
Jevon Snead going pro after junior year due to his family's financial problems, leaving OM with 1 year eligibility remaining...As easy to fix as some alum hooking Jevan's father up with a nice $200k-$300K job out in TX...
Raymond Cotton leaving OM due to Manning passing academy snub by Nutt= Cotton leaving OM with 3 years eligibility remaining
Randall Mackey getting in minor scrap at downtown bar (WHO THE F HASNT?) and being suspended for BYU game instead of SIU game
Jamar Hornsby and Tig Barksdale debacles. Both guys are NFL caliber DBs that never played a down for pathetic, anemic DB of 2010. In the 1970s we called guys like them Super Bowl Champion Oakland Raiders. Memo to the World: This is football. It is a tough game, played by tough kids/young men/men. This is not ballet. This is not a monastery or seminary. Sometimes you got to put up with a little bit of mess to get these kids in school and on the field where they can win us football games. Hold your nose and get over it or go 4-8 and watch Mullen rub that same nose in his heaping plate of stinking BS.
Note that the Snead debacle was exacerbated by Kent Austin going to Cornell or same damn place. Meanwhile back at WAOM, Houston Nutt and his agent, Memphis lawyer Jimmy "Coaches Cartel" Sexton parlay "interested in KS job" into Nutt's comp pacakge move from $1.7MM to $2.7MM. Folks that one was real simple. When Sexton calls Boone for permission to talk to KS, you tell him sure, go talk to Jayhawks and be sure to take your suitcase and a few suits with you cause you are done at Ole Miss. Your next call is to your media folks to schedule press conference announcing Kent Austin as your head coach. But again WAOM and we are not proactive, we are reactive and we are getting schooled by Mark Keenum, Scott Strickland and Dan Mullen as a result. Those three guys are smarter- and hungrier- than Dan Jones, Pete Boone and Houston Nutt and they are kicking our ass. Incidentally, Dan Jones is solely and uniquely responsible for adding a 4th mission to UMC. The three long standing missions were clinical medicine, research and teaching. Jones added DIVERSITY, not as a goal or an objective but as a mission. Not coincidentally UMC is $68MM in the red and bleeding like a sieve.
Another example is how WAOM handled Tommy Tuberville situation. The guy gave us every chance in the world to keep him. He knew his senior laden team with Romario Miller, Deuce McAllister, etc. was gonna be really good but WAOM would not give him the money and the facilities so he jumped to AUB. Instead of thanking him profusely for resurrecting us from trash heap of D1 football (we had gotten 3rd harshest probation in NCAA history the year before hiring him), we castigated and attacked to the point that I don't see how he would ever come back (although stranger things have happened). Burning bridges is rarely wise yet WAOM makes a habit of it!
Nutt is a good man and a serviceable SEC football coach but he got run from ARK for a reason= He does some real stupid shit. $3MM per year guys are not allowed to do stupid shit. Not ever! When you make $3MM a year, you better make real good decisions all day long, every day.
So what to do?
A- Fire Nutt and hire Austin at end of 2011 season
B- Jones, Boone or both have to go to Nut and tell him that processes will be put in place to for better decision making- and that doesn't mean Pete Boone micro management- it means some sharp football guru out there somewhere who knows his football, knows about the Ghosts of VH-S so- like Tommy Tuberville- he has INSTINCTS for what to do and when to do it. I don't know who the guy is but whoever he is, I guarantee you that we wont pass on 3rd and 27 late in the game with a 6 point lead and we wont go for it on 4th and 10 from our 45 with 3:28 remaining and two timeouts left (Not to mention the obvious that kids were falling out with injuries all over the place so faking an injury for another timeout would have been easily done).
C- Continue with status quo Houston Nutt coaching = not figuring out that Dexter McCluster was your bell cow RB until too late to win SEC in 2008, losing to JSU after leading 31-10 at halftime, surrendering 13-0 4th quarter lead to BYU with your best QB on the sideline, watching many, many blue chip recruits leave the program and not beating MSU until either Mullen or Nutt leaves. Mullen will own WAOM like Ohio State has owned Michigan until one- or both- of them move on. Mullen adjusts play by play during a ballgame. It takes Nutt half a season or more to figure something out.
So there it is- 2000+ words later and my RCR cherry is popped. I do indeed feel better about myself- thanks for the vine. Now if it will just quit raining so I can go kill something (namely those winged delicacies, flying morsels of manna from heaven - mourning doves!).