FOOTBALL: An Orlando postcard

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s been an uneventful travel day, the best kind.

I wonder how John McCain’s travel day is going. We just landed and heard the debate is on. If McCain had not been able to make it we at the Journal were ready to offer our sports editor, John Pitts, to debate Obama. Pitts would do better anyway.

I got to Memphis International early, which is my custom. I am a firm believer in going through security early. It is often less crowded, and usually they people around you are not panicking.

Went to bed last night with Oregon State up 14-0, and I crossed my fingers. I always feel better when USC gets its first loss. Another one would be nice.

USC is the national darling, and therefore has the image of a dynasty. If my memory serves me correctly, and often it does not, I believe the Trojans have just one outright national championship during this dynasty. The polls were split with LSU and USC in 2003, and USC won it the next year in 2004.

I guess that means that all of USC’s success was due to Ed Orgeron. Ed coached in that 2004 national championship game after being named head coach at Ole Miss.

I’d kind of like to see Ohio State back in the national championship mix. It might be neat to watch a third SEC team dominate the Buckeyes with speed … Georgia perhaps? We’ll see how the Bulldogs’ matchup with Alabama goes this weekend. Georgia has some tough road trips.

With two losses, I think the Rebels are a longshot for the national championship. I am not predicting victory tomorrow in the Swamp, though some folks on the blog are.

I think the Rebels have a chance to keep it close, perhaps closer than my 32-17 score. For Ole Miss, this is still a game where a moral victory makes people take notice. To play efficient and clean, then have a shot at the end but not capture the win would be no less devastating to the players and coaches than the Wake Forest loss, probably more.

More from around the region and beyond would join the chorus of “Look how Ole Miss has improved,” and they would be correct.

For years, the popular opinion of Bobby Johnson’s Vanderbilt teams was that they had more talent and were better coached than in the past. They just weren’t winning. It remains to be seen how the Commodores will close 2008, but they’ve gotten off to the start that Ole Miss needed.

A moral victory or an immoral defeat this weekend leaves the Rebels in basically a must-win situation against South Carolina next week in order to keep bowl hopes intact. Lose tomorrow and against the Gamecocks, and Ole Miss is 2-4 with Alabama, Auburn and LSU still on the schedule.

That’s a challenge even for teams who have learned how to win, and Ole Miss is still trying to get there.

For now, Mickey says hello. We’ll drive down to Gainesville tomorrow.

— PA

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12 Responses to “FOOTBALL: An Orlando postcard”

  1. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    PA, I believe if you are in Orlando you meant to say drive up to Gainesville. My friend you go South and you are going to miss the game. My wife rearranges N. S. E. and W and up and down, she gets me all confused. Have a wonderful trip and pull out a win for us tomorrows. Jimmy

  2. VA Reb Says:

    PA, looking forward to reading your analysis of the game. It’s on ESPN game plan so I’m going to shell out the bucks and watch my upset special come true!! Have a good trip and go Rebs!. Larry

  3. farley662 Says:

    JB, you are missing something serious here today buddy. Political activists everywhere! It’s split about 50/50 between supporters.

  4. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Farley, I hope that don’t get into another 1962 thing. I had a good friend that got killed there 1962 by just wanting to go out a watch.

  5. m4rebs Says:

    Surely there won’t be a killing this time. I think it’s a little less tense than admitting the first african-american to the University. That, and I truly believe Oxford is light years ahead of 1962. If we could shake the 1962 stigma, we may be able to recruit. Everyone knows recruiting doesn’t take a hit from the female attractiveness factor.

  6. bigdraws Says:

    Matt, yalls recruiting suffers from the same thing ours does. The being in MS factor.

  7. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    I went to the Ole Miss – Miss State football game in 1962. Draws, guess who won? A young soph by the name of Jim Weatherly.

  8. djrebel Says:

    Thanks JB. That’s what travel day does for me. Gets me all turned around.

    — PA

  9. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    That 1962 Egg Bowl game was an enjoyable one for me. We Just returned from an AF three year tour of duty in the UK. Mississippi weather great compared to the English weather. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. The tickets were $5.00 each and on the Miss State side. Glynn Griffin, the all-american QB for the Rebs having a bad day. State doing a great job and in the lead. Coach Vaught brought in young Wetherly, replacing Griffin, and the crowd was not too pleased. Then Weatherly made his move. Ole Miss OL pulled to the left and State defender followed in pursuit. Wetherly bootlegged right and around and down field for the TD. Boy!! I was excited my Rebels had just pulled a great play and the go-ahead score. I jumped up shouting and it suddenly it hit me that I was the only one cheering on that side of the field. So I took my seat very quickly and enjoying the rest of the game.

  10. JMoore Says:

    Great story Jimmy. YOU GOT TO BELIEVE PA. Ole Miss -42-florida-35.

  11. CJones Says:

    VAReb (and others),
    If you have broadband internet and don’t mind watching the game on your computer, you can see if for free at the Yahoo!Sports website (see link). Also, if your internet provider allows you to get ESPN 360, you can see it on the web there.

    Hope that helps!

  12. CJones Says:

    Sorry, I thought the “Website” section of the Reply would add the link. It doesn’t look like it does.

    Here are those links:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/top/collegebroadcast/teams/jps
    http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/player

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