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Beat Alabama - Part IV (Fresh Wounds)

The spin that everyone is missing in examining the Ole Miss-Alabama game is that the Rebels feel entitled.

Well, not everyone is missing it.

Moreso than Mississippi State or LSU, the Rebel playmakers - Oher, Hardy, McCluster - feel entitled to a win over #2 Alabama. They must want it, and they surely deserve it. The wound is still fresh.

Media outlets across the country have noted with the glee often accompanying an obscure statistic that the Rebels - "somehow," they must be saying to themselves - have been bested by three points in each of the previous three contests against the Tide. That statistic is, put lightly, less than obscure among we, the faithful.

Emotion, obviously, can only make the difference in a game where the teams are reasonably evenly matched. And, even then, a little luck is additionally required. One or both of these teams is a little lucky. Perhaps, it is the Crimson Tide, who appear to have the closest thing to an easy schedule in the SEC. Or, perhaps, it is the Ole Miss Rebels, who find themselves perched near respectability despite myriad blunders.

The Rebels will no doubt call it "just another tough SEC game" in the papers. No need to fan Alabama's flames. Nevertheless, the man who strives, who sweats, who claws only to land just short once, and then again, and then, illegitimately, even a third time will, naturally, be motivated in a way that the repeated victor by the razor thin margin can never grasp.

It's the way the Tide must have felt when Tuberville raised the index finger on his second hand and the way Florida must be stewing over the infamous Jacksonville celebration of 2007. But, then again, the Tide no doubt felt the same way when Tommy raised that fifth finger, and that didn't stop the Plainsmen. Similarly the Gators must have wanted to taste a little blood in the remainder of their 2007 cocktail, but never drew it. So, emotion will not be the determining factor for the intelligent wagerer.

Nevertheless, it brings no small measure of entertainment (at least from now until Saturday) to engage in a time-honored tradition, passed down through SEC generations - hating Alabama.