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A More Measured Response, or "Let's See Other People"

I could write, and write, and write on this, but I'll keep it as brief as I know how (which, frankly, isn't worth much).

I'm sure certain folks experienced great Schadenfreude in yesterday's loss and my subsequent, justifiably furious reaction. You're welcome. I'm mostly over all of that now and have, to an extent, largely forgotten the feelings I felt after Jacksonville State's successful two-point conversion to seal the absolutely gut-wrenching victory over my Rebels. I'm still somewhat mopey and still keep wondering "why us, why is it always us," and ponder what could - or, rather, should - have been. But I've found some peace, I suppose.

There won't be a post-game report. There won't be any analysis. Nor is any of that stuff needed. Yesterday, a team which almost has no business being on our schedule, scored on their final six drives, five of which were touchdowns, one of which was a fourth-and-fifteen Hail Mary which was followed by a successful two point conversion. That is beyond bad luck. That is punishment from some ethereal force, some tormenting sports puppet-master who, fresh off of dicking around the New Orleans Saints for forty years, decided to spend a weekend in Oxford.




Shit. Who am I kidding? This isn't new to us. What happened yesterday was momentarily surprising, sure, but any seasoned Ole Miss fan could tell you that such ineptitude, trepidation, and all-around lack of whatever "it" is that winning programs have have all been hallmarks of Rebel athletics - football, basketball, baseball, and tennis - for decades. Assholes from Arkansas will proudly thump their wimpy chests and gloat about how they "told us so" or "warned" us (Oh, gee, thanks for the neighborly "warning," dipshits. Don't play your semantic games with me, damnit, I'm above that.), but we all knew this would happen all along. We all knew the other shoe would drop at some point at some time because, at Ole Miss, it always does.

So while coming to more reasonable terms with that does, to an extent, temper my initial call for Houston Nutt's firing, it does not completely eliminate it. This type of aberration does happen; FCS schools do beat FBS schools, but they're usually of the "Turner Gill's first game at Kansas ends in a 6-3 loss to some Dakota school" or "Lloyd Carr and Sylvester Croom got fired within a couple seasons of losing to Appalachian State and Maine, respectively." So, while not without precedent, bad things tend to follow for the FBS coaches who lose to FCS squads because such coaches just don't deserve to lead teams against high levels of competition.

So, unless some miracle SEC championship season is pulled out of Tyrone Nix's rectum (hint: that won't happen), this should be the sunset of Houston Nutt's tenure at Ole Miss. We needed him to lift us out of the horrible situation Ed Orgeron's coaching put us in and, with a 9-7 SEC record and a couple fine recruiting classes, he has done largely that. But I seriously doubt it gets much better than the past two seasons. Those seasons are, undeniably, providing us with great momentum, but I doubt we're on track to really reach our full potential as a program, whatever that may be.

Finally, on a more personal note, I'm going to take a step back for a while. I won't go into details, but my behavior after yesterday's loss really showed me that I invest far too much time, money, and emotion into the Ole Miss Rebels. I spend several hours every single day reading, writing, talking, and thinking about the Rebels. Those hours could, honestly, be far better spent. I could catch up on my reading or dedicate myself more to my fitness. I could hone in my cooking skills or, taking a slightly less masochistic approach, revisit my golf game. Whatever it is I decide to spend my time doing, I know that it will be largely better spent. To be blunt: I just want to spend my time with something that actually becomes more enjoyable with the amount of effort one puts into it. A wacky desire, I know.

I'm not deluding myself. I know that loyalist in me will see me return to my fervent Rebel fandom, but I can't say when and under what circumstances. Perhaps revisiting the Grove for the first time this season before our Rebels square off against Vanderbilt in two weeks will do the trick. Or perhaps the inevitable mind-boggling upset of some highly-ranked team will have me back on track. But right now, I'm tired. I'm going to keep watching football, if only for the pageantry, athleticism, and strategy - but I won't cheer too hard one way or another. I won't put as much of myself into it as I have over the past several seasons. I just can't make myself do that right now.

As an aside: old people in the stands who I rag on a lot for not being as "into it" as the rest of us, I get you now. I'll never again pass judgment on you and your perceived lack of dedication or involvement.

I am sure someone will help pick up the slack around here. I am sure that you will all keep fanshooting and posting. I am sure that my friends - Juco, IT, One Man - will all have something to contribute over the next little while, but not me. I won't, and haven't, even spend time reading comments threads because, despite the fact that there are few things I enjoy doing more than discussing our Rebels with all of you, I just cannot do that to myself; not now, and especially not after yesterday. I just can't keep cheering for a football team which has always lost to teams it shouldn't, a basketball team which cannot get past the damned NIT, or a baseball team which, despite top-10 rankings, cannot get past that sport's respective "sweet sixteen." No, for the foreseeable future, I'm going to dedicate my time, energy, money, emotions, and acumen towards something which, at the very least, gives as much back to me as I put into it - something like... beer.