Monday, August 31, 2009

High Hopes

Next weekend my Rebels will take the field to begin perhaps the most anticipated and expectation-filled football season since the too-long past national championship contending teams of two generations ago. Ole Miss is ranked as high as #8 in the national preseason polls--frighteningly high; gut-wrenchingly high; get-ready-to-have-your-heart-broken-once-again high. We haven't had a preseason ranking this high since Peyton's and Eli's daddy was at the helm in Oxford, and I wish for the world that we were entering the season un-ranked.

Faithfully following Ole Miss football this past half-century has not been a past-time for the faint of heart. The highs have been the highest and the lows have been the lowest. There have been amazing upset wins against eventual national championship game teams--Georgia in '76, Notre Dame in '77, Florida in '08 come to the Colonel's mind immediately. There have been incredibly disappointing losses against national championship contenders who escaped with extremely narrow wins. And, there have been losses to teams that should have been sure wins--in my first season on campus the fall of '74, South Carolina came to town for Rebel Homecoming and beat us 10 to 7. The Gamecocks went 1 and 10 that year.

There are many Rebel faithful predicting that this is the year we finally play in the SEC title game (we are the only SEC West team not to have--even Mississippi State has been to Atlanta). Some even believe it is possible that we will run the tables and play for the national championship. Well, anything is possible... The probabilities strain the handicapping abilities of even the most proficient odds-maker.

I am so looking forward to this season--and so dreading it.
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