The Colonel's Ole Miss Football Rebels host the Alabama Crimson Tide this coming Saturday. It's a game we Rebels have had circled on our calendars, literally, for a year and, figuratively, for many years.
Hope springs eternal here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere and in the red, blue, and gray hearts of Rebel Nation. Our football team looks to be one of the best we have fielded in two generations -- which says something about the abysmal state of Ole Miss Football since Johnny Vaught retired long enough that we could put his name on the stadium.
The last time Ole Miss claimed an SEC championship was the 100th anniversary of the University Grays last charge at Gettysburg.
The Colonel doesn't mean to blaspheme, but even Saint Archie never won an SEC title.
Eli didn't either. Although we claim a tie for the Western Division in 2003, the tie was with LSU who beat us to go to the Championship Game.
But, as we all hoped, Ole Miss is 4 and 0 so far this season -- and that for the first time since 1970. And, all of Rebel Nation hoped that Alabama would be 4 and 0 coming into this week, as well.
That's where the figurative calendar date circling comes in.
Having Alabama and Ole Miss both 4 and 0, and both ranked high in the polls, virtually guaranteed that College Gameday would finally come to the Grove -- and correct a college football tailgating slight that has chafed Rebel Nation for a generation.
The Colonel, however, is probably the ONLY member of Rebel Nation who is NOT happy that Gameday's babbling bobbleheads will be set up in the Grove this Saturday morning.
Tailgating in the Grove has sacred, genteel roots. To see the rabble of both fanbases roused in a sign-waving frenzy for the cameras will no doubt make for good television. But, it will also no doubt be a jarring juxtaposition for the Colonel's sensibilities used to a more refined (if a Marine may use that word) atmosphere in the Grove.
Oh, and if one mouth-breathing, sheet-wearer shows up waving Beauregard's battle flag, you can be sure the camera's scandal-seeking eye will find and fix it as the symbol of the University.
By noon on Saturday, the camera crews and bobbleheads will be feasting on southern delectables and the rest of us will be able to catch our breaths long enough to cheer our Rebels as they walk through the Grove on their way to war. Shortly thereafter, we'll make our way into the Vaught, lock it, and scream as one primordial organism for our young warriors.
The outcome of the game is everything, and yet matters little in the grand scheme of big-money college football.
If the Rebel's pull off an upset of the Tide, we'll storm the field in celebration -- then reset our internal Rebel clocks to reality.
The rest of the SEC Western Division -- five more teams, who at one point or another this season will spend multiple weeks in the top 25 of the rankings -- await on the schedule.
If the Tide loses this Saturday, they will win-out and win the National Championship.
See Notre Dame 1977 and Florida 2008 for just two examples of the Ole Miss Upset Phenomenon.
After all, we are Ole Miss...