Generally, we are the "authors" of "content" around here - "here" being a blog and not a message board. Recognize, we do, that you've come here not to contribute, but to consume. Nevertheless, there is the sporadic occasion where, either for our benefit or for to exercise the thinkifiers of the masses, we ask you a question. Typically this is done on Tuesday, but Juco All-American forgot a lot of things yesterday.Today's question is . . .
What will it take for the Rebels to make Atlanta - not now, but ever?
This week's edition of "[WEEKDAY] Question" owes a tip of the hat to social media and our ability to interact so fluidly with our readers. This past weekend, Twitter user and Cup follower "davidrowe24" requested we pose this question to you all:
So I figured "why not?"
For starters, Dave, you nailed it with one and two in that good coaching and players are required to make it to the SEC Championship Game. Do I think that Nutt can get us there? Well, considering that he did at Arkansas, I would say yes - but whether or not I think he will is a completely different question entirely.
Good coaching is necessary. This much is a given. Winning an SEC division title takes effective leadership, not only over things like play calling and recruiting, but over the general management of the football program. But even without all of the above - or any of the above, depending on how you look at it - a division title is still possible with good athletes.
While we're talking about Houston Nutt, let's not forget that he's coached a team in the SEC Championship Game twice now. He's living proof that, with the right players in place, a lot of coaches and programs can win a conference division. Bring in some superstars, put them in a position to win, and let the chips fall where they may at that point.
But then there are the two pesky things which are the collective bane and blessing of every college football fan: luck and circumstance. Just about every conference division winner since the idea of conference divisions could point to a regular season game or two and say "well, if so-and-so hadn't missed that field goal" or "if who's-his-face doesn't fumble here" that they could have won or lost a game which would have changed the entire course of their season. The ball in this sport isn't so much a ball, but a pointy ovoid thingy. It's going to bounce, and it's going to do so pretty haphazardly. That, in itself, is a perfect look at how so much of this game's outcome relies on good fortune. at South Carolina last season or Mississippi State in 1998. How often are the three winningest programs in the Eastern division (Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida) going to go a collective 10-14, as they did last season? Better yet, how often are the three winningest programs in the Western division (Alabama, Auburn, and LSU) going to go a collective 7-17, as they did in 1998?
And then there's the fact that a conference division winner isn't a division winner on their own merit, but rather a winner based on how they stand amongst a group of five other football programs. Just look
Furthermore, when you look at Ole Miss' best season since the division format was released - the 2003 campaign where the Eli Manning-led Rebs were 7-1 in the SEC - you see that so much depends on how the rest of the conference plays (For the unitiated, the LSU Tigers, with a 7-1 record, went to Atlanta because they possessed the tiebreaker over the Rebels).
I truly think that, if Ole Miss is going ot make it to Atlanta in the near future, it is going to require some significant down years in the SEC West, because I sure as hell don't see us running the SEC table any time soon.
So, Dave, to tersely answer your question, you need good coaches, great players, and a hell of a lot of good circumstance.
That, or Nick Saban.