A lot of things happened in the college football world over the weekend and even with a cloud of uncertainty still looming over the season, things are looking up for Ole Miss.
For starters, Lane Monte Kiffin is still the head football coach at the University of Mississippi.
The nonsensical, laughable, foolish, preposterous, farcical, inane, asinine rumor that he was going to resign this past week was proved to be nonsensical, laughable, foolish, preposterous, farcical, inane and asinine. So long as Kiffin and his all-star staff are in Oxford, the positivity is profound and a certain fanbase from just west of Columbus, Miss. is infatuated with the idea of getting him out. Even through fable.
Rumor has it life at the school up north isn't all it's cracked up to be for Kiffin. Could we see a coaching change after year one??— Blake Scott (@bascott2010) July 31, 2020
Without wasting too much breath on such a brain-wormed ignoramus (who wrongly holds a fairly relevant voice), let’s think of what a coaching change after year one would mean:
- The season is played.
- The Rebels win the conference and Kiffin proves himself in the SEC.
- A power-five conference program with brand recognition as large as Ohio State, Oklahoma or Alabama, fires its coach after a completely bizarre and unprecedented season and entices Kiffin to leave the best division in the best conference in football.
The odds of college football happening, Ole Miss going undefeated and Alabama firing Nick Saban and hiring Kiffin as a result are less than Li’l Sebastian (RIP) winning the triple crown.
Kindly, miss me with that bullshit.
Now, if he leaves in 2, 3, 5, however many years down the road, great. Kiffin likely won’t stay in Mississippi forever. But for him to leave, means he won. Four years from now he may have accepted a second chance to coach at Southern California after winning ten games and a Sugar Bowl with a freshman Arch Manning at Ole Miss.
Doesn’t that sound great?
Not only is Kiffin still very much the head coach, he’s starting to blaze some dirt on the recruiting trail. The Rebels have had an undeniably slow start to the 2021 recruiting class, but everything is under control and the head honcho wants to remind everyone of such.
To spark further momentum, Kiffin, Deke Adams and Blake Gideon added a pair of defensive playmakers. Jibran Hawkins, a three-star end from Georgia, provides a much-needed boost to the athletes in the trenches, and four-star linebacker Dink Jackson is a long, speedy athlete at a position that has been neglected in recruiting over the past *infinity* years.
Recruiting class rankings are subjective and stupid, but the bump received from the two commitments speaks to their significance. Ole Miss began Friday with the No. 91 ranked class by 247Sports, and finished 12 spots higher at No. 79 by day’s end. Momentum.
To round out the weekend of big news came a mixed outlook on the 2020 season.
On the positive end of the spectrum, the Southeastern Conference mandated a 10-game, conference-only schedule on Thursday. It isn’t the ideal scenario, but considering the alternative, it’s the best scenario. In many ways, so long as one isn’t Georgia, the two added SEC East opponents are both winnable games and the delayed start helps the Rebels. Including the two credited wins over FCS opponents, reaching bowl eligibility is not out of the realm of possibility.
However, doubt continues to circle regarding the feasibility of even a conference-only season, and the PAC-12 has put very equitable kindling on that fire of hesitation.
The Players of the Pac-12 will opt-out of fall camp and game participation due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns unless the conference guarantees in writing to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons. #WeAreUnited https://t.co/KQ3oqdB5BL— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) August 2, 2020
A group of players from the Pacific 12 Conference voiced their concerns on Sunday and announced their intentions to opt-out of the 2020 season if their demands are not met. College football players are finally realizing how strong their voices project and leveraging them to force change. The NCAA is a monopoly over collegiate athletics and profits heavily off of the term ‘student-athlete’ and the amateur status that comes with it. If the list of demands aren’t met, there are no players. If there are no players, there is no money.
The list includes COVID-19 protections, including an option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team’s roster and the prohibition of COVID-19 agreements that waive any liability. In addition, the lists demands the end of racial injustice in college sports and society, name, image, and likeness rights & representation, and guaranteed medical expense coverage, among others.
The group of Pac-12 football players threatening to boycott sent out a press release with these listed demands: pic.twitter.com/XrCZlWhRot— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 2, 2020
Much of the list seems doable, though by creating this statement, the group of players have begun a negotiation with the NCAA and it is always important to leverage high to start. Selfishly, a fall with players opting out would be disappointing, but what this group is doing is a really great thing that deserves complete and unwavering support. Maybe it helps to move the needle and the NCAA will finally provide players their value and still have a semblance of a season.
As for the SEC, right in this moment, college football is being played this fall. Should that idea become reality and two teams take the field at an empty Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to play a ball game, Lane Kiffin is the head coach of a Rebel roster that is explosive enough to pull off an upset or two if the pistons fire in unison.
Things are looking up at Ole Miss after a busy weekend in college football and the vision is starting to come together. Wear a mask, stay six feet apart and cross your fingers that September 26th is feasible.