Ole Miss football,
It’s good to have you back. For a little while there, it didn’t look like you were coming.
This season is going to be different. College football is a microcosm of the world in which we live and the ‘new normal’ is forcing us to change our approach to game day, as it has with things as simple as a handshake. We may not be able to regale one another with stories of jubilation and heartbreak in the Grove or link arms and rock out to Led Zeppelin, but that doesn’t change the emotion associated with Saturdays in the fall.
In a game where the only thing as fleeting as life is death— the flaws, the triumph, the agony, and the anxiety are the best parts.
The Rebels are no stranger to the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, and the 2020 season is the first step in returning to the former. A 10-game, conference-only schedule may not be the easiest reintroduction to the Southeastern Conference for Lane Kiffin and his staff, but if there was ever a forecast for chaos, this year has been (and will be) set for storms. Matt Corral has something to prove, the backfield has an abundance of riches, the defense is in a new system catered to athletes, and there is no point in holding back.
Let it all fly.
We will surely forget the insignificance of the result and invest with full hearts in Ole Miss football, and that’s okay. For those 60 minutes, a greater community will be centered around one individual cause and the worries of reality are to momentarily fade. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
When the pads are donned and the powder blue jerseys make their debut in front of a limited-capacity home crowd, we will remember to keep gratitude for the players willing to suit up and for the good folk behind the scenes who are working around the clock to keep them safe. Health is at the forefront.
With that said, football is being played, and it all starts with Florida. When the Rebels upset the Gators in 2002, Rex Grossman was quoted saying, “9 times out of 10, a team like Florida beats a team like Ole Miss.” When Eli Manning beat them again at the Swamp in the following year, he laughed, “I guess it’s 8 out of 10 now.”
Neither history nor the betting line favors the home team this weekend.
But who is to say this won’t be the one of 10?
This unfamiliar year has seen the demise of many storied events, but a tradition like ours isn’t going anywhere. We’ve been patient and we’re glad to have you back.
Are you ready?