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 laugh at last week’s lunacy, click here.
Hello there, friends. We can now split our lives into the one we lived before Ole Miss gave up 629 total yards and 38 first-half points to Southern Illinois, and the life we’ll live after. Whatever good feelings you had following Ole Miss’ party in Houston can be snapped in half like a burner phone, cooked in the microwave at 80 percent for 30 seconds, and thrown into the deepest body of water in your vicinity (cc: Hugh Freeze and coaching staff, 2012-2016).
You could say that things right now are very much NOT GREAT. So buckle up, because we’ve thrown the steering wheel out of the car and cut the brake lines. This week’s Confidence Report scores an eight out of the 10 plagues.
I had several conversations over the weekend about how it’s entirely possible Ole Miss scores 30-ish points (respectfully, of course) and STILL GETS DOUBLED UP. If Nick Saban sensed any disrespect, both verbal and silent (and you know he did), I won’t be surprised if the visitor’s tally on the scoreboard breaks 70.
It’s so low the Cowboy-hat Wearing Matt Luke scale can’t measure it, so I had to bring in a back-up scale. Introducing the This is Fine Houston Nutt scale, where five This Is Fine Houston Nutts is the maximum confidence rating for an obliteration of the highest degree:
“When you turn on the tape, Bob, the thing that jumps out at you is that Kent State fields an offense. It’s not a particularly good offense, but it’s an offense, which gives them a chance against Ole Miss.”
The Tigers have a starting quarterback who’s thrown 44 passes in two games, completing 21 of those for a completion percentage of 47.7 percent? PUT THEM DOWN FOR 45 POINTS.
It’s almost like giving a career position assistant coach his first coordinating job was a bad idea. But he’s an elite recruiter, you shout, as you fall down a bottomless chasm.
I remain amazed at the crowd that either gets upset or has genuine concern when the Ole Miss offense scores quickly. STOP PRODUCING POINTS, PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE OPPOSING OFFENSE, AND GIVING US THE LEAD. OUR NOT GOOD DEFENSE NEEDS BREATHS BEFORE GIVING UP MORE POINTS.
If you really believe the defense’s performance is somehow tied to the offense’s pace, let’s go ahead and blow that thought up. Via Football Outsiders and Ben Baldwin, there is no evidence that suggests rest time for a defense helps improve its play. Granted, this is a study of NFL play-by-play data from 2009 to 2017, but this quote offers a nice summary:
...a defense that has already been on the field for 55 plays is no better at holding a lead in the fourth quarter than a defense that has been on the field for 65 plays. A defense that has been on the field for 32 minutes is no worse at holding a lead in the fourth quarter than one that has been on the field for 25 minutes, or even 20 minutes. A team that allowed its defense to rest for eight minutes should expect its defense to perform just as well as one that only rested for one minute.
Baldwin does note that the main way an offense can be a friend to the defense is through field position. Not gaining yards and first downs means the opposing team’s offense will get better field position, making it harder for a defense to not give up points.
SB Nation’s Bill Connelly also weighed in on this, pointing out that college football data from 2016 shows that the rate of successful and big plays late in games don’t lean in favor of offenses. But please, keep preparing that TED talk on how it’s necessary to have four-minute drives to make a bad defense better.
If the SEC office gave us the option to not playing the game and call it a 52-31 loss, SIGN ME UP. I am #madonline just thinking about having to watch this game.
Note: It should be five, but out of respect to the Tide, no one else can have five This Is Fine Houston Nutts.
Our defense guarantees the Gamecocks roll out of Oxford with somewhere between 300 and 307 yards of total offense. A COACH BOOM RECORD.
Because I live an hour and a half from College Station, I am bound by laws I don’t understand to go to this game. Will it be fun? No. Will Ole Miss win? No. Will some Texas A&M fan go out of their way to ask me if other A&M fans have been nice to me? OF COURSE THEY WILL. THEY’RE A LITTLE WEIRD BUT VERY NICE PEOPLE.
The good news is by the time the Texas A&M band hits its first note at halftime, I will be in my car, roaring back to Austin.
Given Ole Miss’ ability to poop the bed against Vanderbilt at any given moment, anything above a three was probably too high. Throw in what we saw from Ole Miss’s defense and Vanderbilt breaking the 40-point barrier against Nevada, and maybe three is too high.
I didn’t watch the Bulldogs’ throttling of Kansas State, but from the looks of the box score, I am certain State fans were up in the mentions of every #sprotswriter, telling them that the Dawgs are for real and the tweet about the game they’re attending is dumb. Speaking of that box score, here’s something concerning to Ole Miss.
I realize this should be a one, but I am stubborn and stupid.