Happy Tuesday, everybody, and welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Ole Miss Wake-Up Call — your daily sports page devoted to the Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss will practice three times this week and try to get some rest before honing in on the Arkansas Razorbacks next Saturday (Oct. 15). The 6 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN.
Open weekend plans
When I was a little boy, huge Ole Miss fan that I was, I would literally get heartsick every year when the Rebels had an open date. In my older, more mature, ESPN television contract years, I have come to enjoy the open date, as I’ve learned to fill the void with the huge slate of televised SEC football games, and it’s no different this weekend. Several upcoming Ole Miss opponents will play in really big games, and I plan to be glued to the tube for each and every one. You should, too. Here’s why:
Auburn at Mississippi State, 11 a.m., SEC Network
Ole Miss hosts Auburn on Oct. 29 and Mississippi State on Nov. 26. This matchup of struggling offenses will make you thankful for Hugh Freeze. Freeze may have his issues, but at least offense isn’t one of them. The Bulldogs’ game versus the Tigers features a pair of head coaches in Gus Malzahn and Dan Mullen who are rapidly losing the support of their fan bases. Malzahn called the dogs off temporarily with an 18-13 win over another pathetic offense in LSU, but the reprieve won’t last if Auburn can’t beat Mississippi State. There’s not a lot of scouting to be done in this game, but that’s not why you’ll watch. Ole Miss fans don’t have a lot of love (to put it nicely) for either team, and will have a hard time deciding which one they want to lose the most. And if there’s one truth we hold dear in the SEC, it’s that watching a team that you hate lose is fun! This game offers the rare win-win, as the misery of a loser you love to hate is guaranteed. Don’t you just love college football?
LSU at Florida, 11 a.m., ESPN
Ole Miss travels to Baton Rouge to take on a team coached by Ed Orgeron on Oct. 22. In late November 2007, Orgeron almost had his job as the Ole Miss head coach saved, as the Rebels led Mississippi State 14-0 in the fourth quarter. Because when you’re the head coach at Ole Miss, nothing spells job security better than “w-i-n-n-i-n-g t-h-e E-g-g B-o-w-l.” And then Orgeron decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from midfield and every Ole Miss fan in the country watched simultaneously dumbfounded and disgusted as Sylvester Croom’s Bulldogs roared back to a 17-14 victory to seal a winless conference record for the Rebels. A day later, Orgeron was fired. If you had told any Ole Miss fan on that day that nine years later Orgeron would be the head coach at USC and LSU before the end of 2016, that person would have called you a stark raving lunatic. That same person will be yelling, “Go Gators,” at his television at 11 a.m. Saturday. But don’t worry, I don’t own any jorts.
Tennessee at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m., CBS
Ole Miss travels to Texas A&M on Nov. 12 in a game that will likely be very meaningful in establishing the SEC’s bowl pecking order. The SEC Country Power Poll currently has Tennessee and Texas A&M rated ahead of Ole Miss, but I maintain that the polls are soon to be proven wrong. Neither A&M or the Vols has faced a really good opponent this season. One of these teams is fool’s gold. Maybe both. But one thing is certain, on of these undefeated’s will have a loss by 6:30 Saturday night.
Alabama at Arkansas, 6 p.m., ESPN
Ole Miss travels to Arkansas next (Oct. 15, 6 p.m., ESPN). There’s a saying coaches have about “not letting the same team beat you twice.” Alabama has developed a reputation over the years for beating teams up so badly that they are too worn down to emotionally and physically be ready for the next game. In 2015, Ole Miss upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa, then struggled to beat Vanderbilt the next week. Georgia got embarrassed by Alabama, then collapsed the next week after building a big lead to lose to Tennessee (or maybe that’s just what Georgia does when it plays Tennessee). Texas A&M put up a fight in losing to Alabama, then had nothing left in the tank in a 23-3 loss to Ole Miss the next week. Losing to Alabama twice is a phenomenon some Ole Miss fans will be hoping holds true for Arkansas. Plus, Rebels fans just want to see Arkansas get its comeuppance after last year’s nightmarish fourth-and-25. Then again, Ole Miss needs Alabama to lose twice to have any hope of making it to the SEC Championship Game …. so (holds nose) … Pig Sooie!
Georgia at South Carolina 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
This game has meaning to Georgia and South Carolina fans, but if that doesn’t include you, then I can’t think of a compelling reason to watch this other than, hey, it’s SEC football on a Saturday night. That’s usually good enough for me.
The best of Ole Miss on Twitter
— Dex McCain (@DexMcCain) October 3, 2016
Pretty impressive that Evan Engram leads the SEC in receiving yds as a TE. Vote E for the @biletnikoffawrd
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) October 3, 2016
All of these things are somewhat good here:
-Stringfellow being absurdhttps://t.co/Y1slMzBDVi
— Gray Hardison (@BellyoftheBeast) October 3, 2016
To the extent it’s possible, I’d like to give you a story or a short you can feel good about each day. For today, the story comes out of Arkansas. You’ve got to respect Arkansas coach Bret Bielema for being there for his players.
— SEC Country Arkansas (@SECCountryHogs) October 3, 2016
Around Ole Miss sports
- Men’s golf finished second at the Marquette Intercollegiate on Monday.
- Women’s basketball announced a new video coordinator.
- Cross country’s Sean Tobin earned an Athlete of the Week honor. The Irishman ran 5 miles in 23:31.9!
- Volleyball’s Kathryn Cather was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week.
Ole Miss today
- Women’s tennis is at the Riviera ITA All-American Championships in Palisades, Calif.
- Men’s tennis is at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.