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An Open Letter to Pete Boone

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Dearest Mr. Boone,

I'm graduating. In 9 days I'll get a (useless) degree and begin my way along my slippery-slope laden journey to delusional and drunken old-manhood. I, just as thousands before me, will wear sweatervests, lurk the Spirit boards, and babble to all the younguns about how great the glory days of my undergrad years were.

Err.... Ok, maybe not that last part there.

Y'see Pete, it's kinda-sorta always been my dream to become the grouchy old man who, despite your most desperate pleas, won't give you you God-damned frisbee back ("I told you kids to keep away from my Azaleas!") and you've robbed me of a precious cornerstone of this dream.

Instead of grudgingly making younger kids listen to my stories about "Mannings" and "Sugar Bowls" I'll have to tell them tings like "Uh, well, Micheal Spurlock broke his hand that one time" and "I didn't even realize Wyoming had a football team." A crucial part of my future was supposed to rely heavily on my ability to remind everyone that Ole Miss was better when I was young and now they're all going to know that I'm full of shit.

When I was a senior in high school, I would make the drive up to Oxford every other Saturday in the fall and see things like this, this, and this. I was enamored. I was a loyal disciple in the Church of Manning, taking my Kool-aid Kommunion every holy Saturday.

Unfortunately, over my four undergraduate years, I never saw anything quite like that.

Ok, I'll give it to you, without a Manning, that is to be understood. However, shit like this, this, and this.... isn't. Over the last four years I have seen 14 football wins. That is only 3.5 wins a year and no, I'm going to round that one up. I have seen us lose to Memphis, Vandy (twice), State (twice), Kentucky, and Wyoming (twice). The closest thing to a blowout victory I saw was a 24-0 "trouncing" of LaTech and part of me wants to call that win a fluke. Pete, if all of this has yet to get the point accross, let me give you a brief rundown of what I saw over the last 4 years.

YEAR 1
Ahh, sweet naïveté. Eli was gone but that's ok; I was an optimist! I read (and subsequently learned not to trust) the Clarion Ledger and thought that Micheal Spurlock was just David Cutcliffe re-stocking the cupboard. All was well for an Ole Miss freshman. That is, until we lost to Memphis at home. From then on out it was a disaster losing to Wyoming and just barely squeaking by Vanderbilt in overtime.
You fired Cutcliffe and I was mildly critical at first. However, once I realized that his backup plan for Eli Manning was this asshole it became clear to me that, despite being a good QB producer, Cutcliffe just wasn't head coach material. So, who did you hire? A supposed recruiting guru from a big time program. Boy I was excited. "That was the piece missing from Cutcliffe: recruiting!" I shouted. The Coach O era was, in many of our minds, going to mark a period of new, unprecedented growth in the program. Year 2 was most certainly going to be MUCH more exciting than year 1!

YEAR 2

Vroom vroom, motherfucker!

YEAR 3
So the Coach O era was off to a slow start but we weren't worried. Afterall, you've gotta give a guy some time with which to work right? O showed that he was, in fact, the Recruitzilla by pulling in a nationally ranked recruiting class but also demonstrated that he wasn't quite the GetPlayersToQualifyzilla that we may have hoped for. Powe wasn't going to show up (again) and Schaeffer, the next Michael Vick according to Spirit board posters, wasn't so much on campus for the first few practices. We beat Memphis (yippee!) and State (hoorah!) but that's the only cause for celebration we got. The Grove was miserable that year and attendance began to sink significantly. Mumblings and grumblings around Oxford wanted to get rid of O until he pulled Jevan Snead away from Texas. The recruiting guru and his hypnotic use of yellow ".gif" stars had saved his ass and we were in for another year in the O Zone.

YEAR 4
Schaeffer lost the starting job before the Memphis game. Yep, that's right, the 5 star wunderkind turned out to be a stoner thug. We played the most absolutely disgusting football imaginable for a great majority of the season until the Egg Bowl. Horrid football meant that the only way our season could be salvaged would have been an Egg Bowl victory (and a likely cause to deny State a bowl bid). For the first three quarters we were keeping the game well within hand. "Hell yeah," we shouted. "Orgeron is coming around and really coaching this team to victory!"
Fifteen minutes later, the Bullpups walked into the locker room victors. The cowbells were ringing and the maroon banners were waving as State had secured itself its first bowl bid in a geological era.
The next morning, my hangover was interrupted with a text message: "THEY FIRED O!"
"Fuck," I thought. They obviously didn't have a plan when they fired Cutcliffe, so I naturally thought there was not going to be a plan this go around. I figured we would get some "tenet-of-college-football-GURU" once again and be just as awful as before.
Well Pete, you proved me wrong. You went out and hired the most legitimate SEC coach we've had since Tommy Tuberville. Houston Nutt, while a bit harebrained, isn't nearly the comic book character O was. Even despite his random bouts with the crazies, the sonofabitch beat a #1 ranked LSU team IN BATON ROUGE!
Yes, prospects do look good for the future of Ole Miss football and all of it comes just in time for me to graduate and leave Oxford...

So, in conclusion, Thank's Pete. As the Athletic Director it is your responsibility to maintain (err, establish?) a high level of entertaining athletics for all Ole Miss students, alumni, and fans to enjoy. While not necessarily "competitive," I cannot deny that all of the embarrassment and ridicule one feels and receives as an Ole Miss fan has reached an entertaining level. Yeah, I was upset and downright angry for awhile, but now it's almost like you've maintained a very well put together running gag. My four undergraduate years at Ole Miss are likely to be recognized as some of the worst four years in the program's history and for that I am forever grateful.

Yours sincerely,
The Ghost of Jay Cutler

P.S. - I'll see you in Hell.