Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rebel Ranting

There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth following the Ole Miss - Alabama game in Oxford on Saturday. Most of the sound and fury surrounds the overturning of an on-field call at the end of the game by the replay official. Alabama was leading 27-24 with two minutes left and Ole Miss had moved into Alabama territory. Following a sack that put the Rebels well out of field goal range, Ole Miss went for it on 4th down. Ole Miss quarterback Seth Adams lofted a pass down the left sideline, Rebel Shay Hodges and the defender played tug of war with the ball, and Hodges came up with it on the 4 yard line. Seven seconds remained on the game clock.

As Ole Miss lined up to go for the win, Alabama called timeout. Then, it was announced that the play was under review. After an interminable period of time, the officials announced that the replay official had ruled that the reciever had stepped out of bounds prior to the catch. Alabama took over on downs and their quarterback took a knee to end the game, amid the most fury I've seen unleashed on the Ole Miss campus since Meredith enrolled.

As much as I think that the replay official made the wrong call--all of the video angles were disputable about whether the defender touched the ball first and thereby allowing the reciever to legally reenter the field of play and catch the ball--I have two reasons to thank him for his decision. One, it reinforced my long held belief that Ole Miss remains hated by everyone else because the Rebels so dominated SEC football in the 50's and 60's and then waved the rebel flag in everyone's face in the process.

Two, there would have been four or five possible outcomes had Ole Miss been given the ball on the 4 yard line with 7 seconds left, only one of which would have been positive. We would have thrown an incomplete pass to go for the win. Coach Orgeron's clock management being what it is, it is doubtful we would have been able to save a second to try a tying field goal. But if we had tied the game with a field goal, our track record in overtime is miserable.

So, you see, by denying the Rebels the opportunity to try to win the game, the replay official saved us an even more crushing finish, and gave Rebel Nation a target on which to vent our frustration.

Gotta love college football.
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