We continue with our weekly series that assesses my confidence, using a scale of one to five Cowboy Hat-Wearing Matt Lukes, in Ole Miss’ ability to win the remaining games on its schedule. For a refresher on how this works or if you want to remember a time before you left both Ole Miss home SEC games before the fourth quarter started, click here.
After a weekend in which eye discipline and red zone scoring were not an issue, Ole Miss returns to the field on Saturday at the new but equally gross Jefferson Pilot time of 11 a.m. CT. It marks the first of four November games that will determine whether the Rebels spend December getting prepared for the imaginary Independence Bowl in the yard of NCAA supermax prison or tearing out the last of the drywall from the Hugh Freeze era.
Though Ole Miss won’t play for bowl glory in Shreveport or Birmingham, they are eligible to spend the next month not being drop kicked down a well, like a certain former head coach who was outscored 140-26 in November before the heppin’ stopped. If you recall, that coach was also known to say something to the effect of “They remember in November.”
I bring that up because at his weekly press conference today, Matt Luke offered his version of that line:
There are only two outcomes in November 2018 that Ole Miss fans will remember for years to come. The first would be a 4-0 or 3-1 finish, which has the same chance of happening as a successful Wesley McGriff blitz on third and long. Folks.
No one who has never posted a conspiracy theory online believes in or expects a 4-0 finish. One could say the same about 3-1, but I suppose there’s always the chance plagues and vanishing into thin air could work in Ole Miss’ favor.
The second memorable outcome would be an 0-4 finish to the tune of another 140-26 bloodbath. That would be seared in people’s memories forever. I would even start a podcast that discusses nothing but that month (early working title: Luke Puke). I’m talking about the third or fourth episode is two hours about the third quarter of the Vanderbilt game. #CONTENT PEOPLE CRAVE.
Instead of a memorable November, how about a month that is entirely forgettable? Maybe Ole Miss goes 2-2 or 1-3, and several years from now I can vaguely remember the wins and losses but almost no details. No real highs, no soul-harvesting lows.
I don’t want a memorable November, because that means things likely went how they should’ve gone, with wailing and gnashing of teeth reduced to a minimum. After the first eight games, I NEED THAT IN MY LIFE.
Anyway, on to the confidence, as it were..
Again, even though evidence for remaining on this hill of belief in Ole Miss’ chance in this game is (ahem) LACKING, I live here now. Sure, my house on this hill is nothing more than a piece of plywood leaning against a tree, but I don’t have any neighbors turning me in to the homeowner’s association when my grass gets higher than three inches.
Let’s lay out some facts and review the case for this faith in Ole Miss. First, one does not just roll into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, a place where Ole Miss is 2-8 in its last 10 SEC games, and push the Rebels around in front of 48,000 fans who are expecting to leave before the game ends.
Second, you certainly can’t do it at 11 in the dang morning when the electricity is flowing through the crowd and daytime fireworks are exploding above them.
And finally, you’re in a world of hurt when facing TWO WEEKS worth of corrected eye discipline. Might as well punt on third down.
(What monster have I created within me.)
I went from hating myself for driving the hour and a half to this game, having Texas A&M people be nice to me, leaving at halftime, and being back home before the game ended to not going at all. To quote Ole Miss’ most famous postmaster, I believe man will not merely endure: he will prevail.
BONUS WEEK 10 RATING SYSTEM: One to five sunglass-removing, Sports Illustrated cover-donning Houston Nutts. The more of these you see, the more pestilence you should expect. AND HOO BOY THE PESTILENCE LEVEL IS HIGH.
As the rumors swirl — which, outside of flying, is the only way rumors can move — about changes to Matt Luke’s coaching staff at the end of the season, I am looking for a place to wager money that he raids David Cutcliffe’s Duke staff. But he won’t go after their top coaches, like the offensive and defensive coordinators.
Instead, Duke’s current wide receivers coach? Meet your new offensive coordinator, friends. The defensive quality control assistant? HE’S GOT A REVOLUTIONARY THEORY ON EYE DISCIPLINE.
Unrelated, this game will be a three and a half hour exercise in pulling teeth but Ole Miss likes to pull teeth.
Put the cup snake down for five carries and 56 yards against the Ole Miss defense.