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 people considered an Ole Miss defense surrendering 38 points and 502 total yards as its best performance of the year, click here.
Each week as I voluntarily light my free time on fire by watching this team, I find myself wondering what skills* I could’ve developed had I not spent hours upon hours staring blankly at the 2018 Ole Miss Rebels, and how in the holy hell did we get to this point.
*I’m certain I could’ve been writing this in Italian by Week 5.
What things came to pass that caused apathy, not anger, to wash over me? And the distinction is important because anger means I would be shrieking on the line and in real life for this to be fixed, while apathy means I don’t believe it can’t be fixed by anyone who is currently in a leadership position at Ole Miss. So until there’s change, why should I care?
As with most everything in life, our arrival to this garbage time is not the fault of one thing, person, or decision, but a savory blend of neglect, incompetence, and institutional rot. By the way, if you hate yourself and are going to the State game, including Grove activities, those would be good names for any elixirs you concoct to get through that evening.
The start of the march to Ole Miss’ current status begins with Hugh Freeze. One may argue it all began with the idiocy on Twitter dot com, making an enemy of a racist NCAA investigator, or did I mention Twitter? Oh yeah, then there was the whole thing about massages and not telling someone to tell someone to tell another person to tell the bag men to get their shit together.
All of those items played a role in Freeze’s and Ole Miss’ collapse, but what ushered in the end for him was his inability to recruit defensive players. Had he been able to maintain an average defense in 2016, with signs it would’ve been the same in 2017 and beyond, he’s probably still the head coach (OH THE MORAL GYMNASTICS WE MISSED OUT ON).
Of all the dumb things he did, wrecking the defense is the one that still affects Ole Miss, which is why I am amazed by the “I’D TAKE FREEZE BACK IN A SECOND” crowd. Hey, fam, his star-chasing, Twitter-responding ass is the primary reason Ole Miss has given up 257 points in six (SIX) conference games (42.8 points/game). But sure, he’d totally change his personality, hire qualified assistants, and log off if given that one last chance.
Once Freeze was fired, Matt Luke became the interim head coach, which was fine, given the timing of an Ole Miss compliance blogger’s discovery of Freeze’s massage parlor phone calls. The mistake was leaving the door open to the possibility that Luke could become the non-interim head coach.
It was obvious Ole Miss needed a hard reset, which meant no survivors from the Freeze era, especially knowing a rebuild was necessary. Even though a mistake was made in giving Luke a chance at the full-time gig, that could’ve been overcome by not naming him the new head coach.
Instead, for various reasons, which included a career academic chancellor playing athletic director and good ol’ boys who love people who love Ole Miss, Matt Luke got the job and the stale air remained. No new dawn, fresh start, or people who weren’t there to help Hugh Freeze be trash.
No sir, we’re gonna keep most of the same coaches and hope a career offensive line coach can get more out of them than Hugh Freeze. PRAY TELL, WHY WEREN’T PEOPLE EXCITED?
Even though I don’t think Luke should be the head coach at Ole Miss, I do believe he is a genuine, hard-working person who really does care about his players, as proven by how they keep playing hard and don’t quit. From the beginning, despite my indignant attitude towards the most Ole Miss of Ole Miss hires, I hoped it would work out for him, but I’ve seen nothing that suggests it will.
In all likelihood, we’re looking at another two years of 2018, which will probably be worse than this season, followed by at least another two years of rebuild before the good parts of Ole Miss football get your heart rate above 60 beats a minute. Of course, that assumes the people in charge have any idea how to do what they were hired to do.
I hope I’m wrong, but if you’re wondering how the apathy took over, there it is, friends. The confidence report is officially dead for the foreseeable future.
The Commodores need to win out in order to go bowling. Ole Miss can spoil such hopes and, no, sorry never mind it’s 37-13 in the third quarter.
Prayers sent to the Des Moines, Iowa man who thought this game might provide an enjoyable Thanksgiving night break from the family.
I, for one, cannot be more excited about the 2026 season when David Cutcliffe’s son is named head coach via the recommendation of a committee composed of Eli Manning, Doug Buckles, Corey Peterson, Archie Manning, Cooper Manning, Peyton Manning, Olivia Manning, and the Manning grandchildren. IT WILL BE GRAND, WE KNOW.