Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Officially Offensive

During a pre-season intra-squad scrimmage open to fans, an Ole Miss Rebel quarterback escaped the defensive pass rush and lofted a long pass downfield to a open receiver who leaped to catch the ball and fell into the end zone for a touchdown. Cheers turned to groans as fans noticed a yellow flag on the field signifying a penalty that would nullify the touchdown. As the groans faded to silence, a plaintive voice called from the stands, "C'mon refs! It ain't the Bama game!"

It was both prologue and portent.

The Colonel waits with great anticipation for the sure to come "tell all" book by some guilty-concioused or disgruntled former Southeastern Conference football official. When that book hits the shelves, the Colonel will race to the store for his own copy and thumb quickly to the chapter entitled "Ole Miss must never be allowed to beat Alabama."

Last Saturday's game at Bryant-Denny is case in point for the claim that more flagrantly false fouls are called against Alabama's opponents, in general, and Ole Miss, in particular, than in any other games in the league. The only thing worse in the SEC than the officiating in Alabama football games, in general, and the game in question, in particular, is Les Miles' clock management.

Alabama is tough enough to beat. Having to play against them and the officials is too much to ask. Alabama should have been penalized on every down for having 15 on the field.

Not that the Colonel believes that the outcome of the game would have been any different had a) the officials not flagged the Rebel defense for roughing the kicker (the offending defender was clearly blocked into the kicker) and the Tide had to settle for 3 instead of the 7 it easily got after the penalty, b) the officials not flagged the Rebel special teams for offsides during an onside kick (the flag didn't hit the turf until well after the play was whistled dead and it was clear that Ole Miss had the ball), and c) the officials not called a foul on a Rebel player who was not even on the field, and gave new life to a sputtering Bama drive. The Colonel's Rebels could have figured out how to give the ball game to the Tide without the officials' help, thank you very much.

It has been thus for at least the nearly four decades during which the Colonel has subjected himself to the agony of Ole Miss Rebel football.

There is a bright side of this situation on which to look. Soon, his alma mater will no longer be known as the Ole Miss Rebels and the Colonel can find another team for whom to root. It will need to be a team with an inoffensive mascot--the Colonel ain't going through that battle again.

Hmmm. How 'bout them Scalawag State Carpetbaggers!
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