The announced attendance was just north of sixty thousand, but if you can prove there were any more than two-thirds that number actually in the stands at Vaught-Hemingway Saturday to watch Ole Miss take on New Mexico State, the Colonel will give you a free swing at his scowl and jowl-shrouded jaw and give you fifteen minutes to drum up a good crowd to watch you take your best shot.
The Florida Gators chomped down hard on the Colonel's Rebels' special season hopes last week and their teeth did more deflating than the ball-boy in the Patriot's locker room. On the way to Gainesville last week, Rebel Nation was feeling the rare high of a top five ranking and liking their chances to represent the SEC West in the title game. Late Saturday night, a week ago, those dreams crawled mauled from the Swamp and limped back to Oxford like the remains of Pickett's division retreating from Cemetery Ridge.
But, holy apocalypse, Batman, the world didn't end. The season's not over. The Rebels are still 5 and 1. A trip to Atlanta is still possible...
...might be to play in the Peach Bowl, but, the good news is TCU will likely not get left out of the final four this year and take out their frustrations on us, again.
Rebel Nation is quite possibly the most cynically fickle collection of fair-weather fans in the history of collegiate sport. Our football team is playing some of the best ball that has been seen here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere since Johnny Vaught won four National Championships, and we can't be bothered to show up and cheer for 'em on a glorious fall day with which God specifically blessed Oxford.
Yeah..., we were pouty-face disappointed our boys didn't defend their there-to-fore undefeated season against Florida any better than the French army defended Paris in the summer of 1940. And, yeah..., it was a truly terrible New Mexico State team that made the trip from several thousand square miles of kitty litter to several thousand square miles of kudzu to be the Homecoming hors d' oerves.
But, true fans SHOW UP. And, true fans STAY.
Okay, the Colonel will admit that he left the Tennessee-Martin game early. But, the Colonel is old and it was 157 and 1/2 degrees in the stands. He was sweating like an old, bald Marco Rubio, and grandson #2 had a belly ache that might have had something to do with rapid ingestion of four pounds of cotton candy while sitting in a sauna.
The Colonel will have you know, however, that he and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda stayed to the end of game yesterday -- even if it was about as exciting as a Spring Game.
The Colonel takes that back. Seeing Archie Manning catch a football thrown up to his sky box from the student section was pretty exciting. Students caught a ball that the PAT net didn't and the most noise all game came from the game of "keep the ball away from security." Archie threw the ball back to the students -- wonder who it was that was last person to catch a pass from a Manning in the Vaught...
Speaking of Archie... Rebel Nation loves to recount the glories of his tenure under center, and how fans faithfully filled the stands to watch his exploits. We fail to remember, however, that Mr. Manning's Rebels only won seven games his senior season.
Of course, playing with a broken arm might have contributed to the loss column significantly, but you get my point.
Or, maybe you don't. The Colonel knows there are at least a few readers of his barely literate swill that are rabid Bama Bandwagon Boors, or equally rabid and just as pitiable bandwagon LSU fans, and are so used to win-filled seasons (even if you won't admit that is the only reason you are a Bama or LSU fan) that you can't conceive of not going to a game if you had season tickets.
At any rate, loyalty ranks right up there with integrity in the Colonel's character estimation.
See you in the Vaught, Rebel Nation.