Southern Miss athletic director Jeremy McClain decided to shoot his shot as it were yesterday in regards to the Golden Eagles playing Ole Miss.
Southern Miss is benefiting massively on the financial front this season from playing Mississippi State and Alabama in football to the tune of more than $3 million. For an athletic budget of around $28 million, this is pretty much a windfall that will keep student athletes on the field in black and gold.
So it stands to reason McClain wants to pursue more big payouts with SEC schools or pretty much anyone who wants to play and pay them. He’s just doing his job, but his comment is interesting.
Southern Miss AD Jeremy McClain to the Clarion Ledger on playing Ole Miss in football:— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) September 9, 2019
“Should they be interested in a home/home, I think that would be a great opportunity. Obviously we wouldn't prefer to do a 2-for-1 with anybody but we would discuss those options with them.” pic.twitter.com/N4XHIEtCtz
Ole Miss should never go to Hattiesburg to play Southern Miss in football. A 2-for-1 or even a 3-for-1 just doesn’t justify itself any more.
And if you don’t know why, it’s clearly because Ole Miss is very scared to play Southern Miss — LOL, great reverse psychology, GoldenEaglesRulz69.
No, it has less to do with the prospect of losing than it does with the cutthroat world of college football. Let’s compare the controversial series with Memphis to the proposed Southern Miss series.
The Cup has been divided at times over the prospects of playing the University of Memphis, because there are a lot of alumni in Memphis who benefit from seeing the Rebels close by once in a while plus there’s a massive and fertile recruiting ground to put your team in front of, obviously need to win.
Additionally, Memphis has the bargaining chip of a basketball series which benefits Ole Miss in theory from a competitive non-conference standpoint. It’s a clear trade off for both schools.
Now, Southern Miss has none of those things. The trade off is a seven figure check from the Rebel program into the depleted coffers of Southern Miss, plus what would most likely be their best attended game of the season in a 36,000 seat stadium in south Mississippi. What Ole Miss gains from it, I guess, is some positive PR that they’re playing teams in state and keeping those dollars in Mississippi.
I get that, I totally do. It’s great to promote the state, but what it also does is keep a third FBS program in Mississippi financially viable. In a state with a declining population of less than three million people, we are already at a competitive disadvantage compared to neighboring LSU and Arkansas who don’t have a second in-state SEC school to compete with. You don’t see LSU traveling to Monroe or Lafayette to play in-state, and you sure don’t see Alabama going to Birmingham to play UAB.
There’s dozens of programs similar to Southern Miss who would potentially take less money and also not ask for a 2-for-1 in less than ideal stadiums. Now, does that make Ole Miss fans snooty, ascot wearing, assholes? Sure, if that’s our brand, let’s run with that.
So, it’s a no from us at the Cup. Let’s hope our administration doesn’t entertain this.