As you all were watching the ESPN on ABC BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl Presented by Citi Hey Mom I'm a Minor Sponsor of a Bowl Game ... .com, you, the fan of Ole Miss, fell into one of two possible categories. Some swallowed their pride, held their nose and secretly or audibly hoped that Rick Sadbone and Clempson Pride would win the title and further perpetuate our conference superiority complex. These persons, likely, did the same for LSU in 2003 and 2007 and Florida in 2006 and 2008. For them, the sting of a conference defeat at the hands of some high-flying, rooty-tootin', leather-tassle thingies on their shoulder pads Big 12 school would be even more hurtful than the forthcoming "Lucky #13" t-shirts.
Others hate Alabama. Only in some alternate universe where the BCS were replaced by a four-team playoff that determined the fate of life on earth could these people conceive of even quietly wishing well the Tide. And then only if no one ever found out. And then only if they were playing LSU. Conference schmonference. Nick Saban's smile burns the wings off of kittens. How do kittens get wings? Nick Saban put them there as part of "The Process," so that he could one day burn them off with his smile.
Or maybe you're a Bama fan (I'm looking at you Queen Hooka Whatever), and you should seriously reevaluate your existence.
In any case, it all comes down to the basic question of life and economics - which outcome helps me the most?
On the one hand, Ole Miss athletics does not exist in a vacuum, and for us to really appreciate our wins and losses, we need this conference superiority. It's not just about going 14-0. Consider Boise State.
I will take the Rebels with all their heartaches over the frustration of undefeated seasons that merit nothing more than WAC Championships and back-handed well wishes from all those media types that say I should have a shot but haven't done anything to make it happen. Being a Boise State fan sucks more than enduring four losing seasons at Ole Miss, and, honestly, we have Alabama, Florida, and LSU to thank for that.
On the other hand, there soon shall stand a statute of Nick Saban at the West Entrance of Bryant-Denney Stadium. And it won't be life-sized, so that we can make fun of Slick Nick's diminutive physique. No, it will be grand and imposing and gaudy, and he will stare down at us with that sneer forever in a way he could never do in real life. It will be awful. And there will be t-shirts. Oh, god, the t-shirts.
"Mark (Ingram) my words. #14 in 2010." "A new decade of dominance." "Roses are red. Texas sure tried. Tempe get ready for the new Crimson Tide." "The Empire: Increasingly More Evil Since 2010."
People like me understood the insanity that's about to happen. We appreciated the enormity of the problem a championship in Tuscaloosa poses for Ole Miss fans. People you thought were your friends will suddenly become Alabama fans. We will soon begin to see that everything the Joker said about humanity in "The Dark Knight" will come true. Mississippi's best high school football talent will be further swayed promises of championships. Nick Saban has built two college football monsters on either side of the Magnolia State, and you "fans of the conference" cheered as he did it. Please take your allegiance to conference above all else to the Mountain West where it will be useful and appreciated.
There is, no doubt, some good that comes to Ole Miss from the national championship streak. And dynasties will die just as sure as seasons change. This Alabama nonsense too shall pass, but the strength it gives to the conference will trickle down in some measure to the Rebels. I will acknowledge it. But, I'll be damned if I'll cheer it on.