Ole Miss fans saw this moment - and this post - coming a mile away. Below are five team profiles. Some of the teams won; some of them didn't. If you can pick who is who without looking at CBS Sports first, you're a smarter person than I.
209 total yards of offense; 1-11 on third downs; 2 turnovers
263 total yards of offense; 2-13 on third downs, 0 turnovers
207 yards total offense; 3-15 on third downs; 2 turnovers
248 yards total offense; 1-13 on third downs; 1 turnover
305 yards total offense; 8-16 on third downs; 4 turnovers
The only winner among the group is Profile 2, which, as you might have guessed, is LSU. The other teams are, in order, Miami, Cal, Ole Miss, and Penn State. I won't be making any observations about the media interpretations of these teams and their wins/losses because media interpretation plays positively no bearing on conference standings. One interesting note, however, is a debate about numbers themselves, which can be manipulated. Examine, for a moment, the difference between Profile 2 (LSU) and Penn State (Profile 5). Third down conversion rates are a statistic that numbers guys flock to - and Penn State's was actually good tonight.
And how different, honestly, are the statistics of LSU and Ole Miss - besides the fairly distinction that South Carolina is a demonstrably better football team than Mississippi State? How did LSU score 30 points on that statistical resume while Ole MIss scored only 10? Whatever the answers are to those questions, I think the conclusions drawn from the questions themselves should either totally destroy your faith in your objective ability to determine whether or not a team is good or it should make you feel much better, in comparison, about the state of the Rebels.
Another thing it ought to do is make us feel lucky. In the wake of the carnage that has been this football weekend, we - performing equally as poorly as Miami and California - came away with a respectable final score. Perhaps it's not luck; perhaps it is landshark. Here's one thing I feel confident about though: when I turn in my blogpoll ballot, it will be based on resumes and, consequently, will feature the Rebels pretty far down, if at all. But, when objectively compared to other teams that are supposed to be "good," I am ... uplifted.