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The Vaught Bracket: (3) Mike Bianco v. (6) Jonathan Nichols

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Maybe The Cup sells head coach Mike Bianco short. The department that he leads has defined this decade for Ole Miss athletics, providing us fans with more big-time entertainment and success than, arguably, any of his peers. And, yet, somehow, we have seeded him behind at least eight other Rebels, including one former rival coach who has only been in Oxford a fifth of the time that Bianco has.

Why? It's because of Janet Jackson - Mike has not been doing it for us lately. Let's remember what he has done, though: he's averaged over forty wins a season, he's won SEC titles, he's beaten State, he's beaten LSU, and in 2006 when the bayou bengals came calling for a coach, he told them where they could (red) stick it. In my book, telling the purple and gold "no" would have been enough by itself to get him in the discussion.

In exchange for his low seeding, the bracket demi-gods (who are they? I don't know!) have matched him up against a relatively weak six seed. Jonathan Nichols, one of three national award winners at Ole Miss in this decade, deserves to be in the discussion. The reason he won the Groza award was - in spite of his disastrous miss against LSU in 2003 - his field goals provided the difference in games against Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina, and Oklahoma State. Without Nichols' leg, we might well have spent that Christmas in Nashville or Shreveport. Nichols contributed both to the era of Eli being what it was and what it could have been.

So, yes, Nichols deserves to be in the conversation. But I openly advocate that you vote for Mike. Even you B-Dub.