Went to a Rebel watch party last night and it was great fun.
Wonderful tasty food, friendly, generous people with their families, including some of the cutest little ones dressed up in their Rebel outfits that you’d ever want to meet.
So you saw the game and maybe you had a similar reaction to some of the folks I watched the game with. All the way up to about mid-way through the second half, our little focus group of Rebel-rooters was in open-mouthed disbelief.
Where was the new-and-improved Bo Wallace we all heard about this summer?
Where was the pass rush that would inject fear directly into the hearts of every SEC quarterback?
Where was the Ole Miss swagger punctuated by Land Shark salutes after every de-cleating hit?
Where was the anticipated treasure chest of football talent that would surely force opponents to simply shrug and give up before the game even kicked off?
Nowhere to be found — until Bo, and Cody and Tony and Robert turned it on transforming the Rebels into some semblance of what we all believed passionately we were going to enjoy this year.
I bought in too Rebel fans, but after sleeping on it overnight, here’s my free advice based on more than 40 years of living and dying with my football teams. No team is ever as good as your imagination and a few overheated pundits make you think they are. And no team, or quarterback, is as bad as they appear in your three-beer vision of intercepted passes, stuffed runs and too-many-to-count false starts. I know — it was a nightmare, until Bo got hot, and Cody, Tony and Robert got nasty.
I think the Rebels will get better — and Lord knows they’ll have to get much better to have any hopes of beating Saban’s Red Tide of Arrogance at the Vaught Oct. 4.
But here’s the thing you well-meaning, but overly panicked, hotty toddy bodies out in Rebel Nation need to chill and swallow. Bo Wallace will be the quarterback all year — and he should be. He’s an experienced senior with record-breaking credentials, and let’s face it, he’s a lot like my other favorite QB Eli Manning, except for the nice hair. He is streaky! When Bo, or Eli, is good he is just about the best there is and there’s no one else you want leading us back in the fourth quarter for a last-second victory. When he’s bad — like a good part of the game last night — you’re screaming for his backup, or maybe even a backup defensive back to come in and save us all.
Side note quiz: When Bo came over to the sidelines after that last interception and Coach Freeze stared him down while extending three fingers, was Coach communicating, A. “That’s 3 picks,” or B. “You threw into triple coverage,” or C. “Read between the lines and I don’t mean you’re No. 1.”
Anyway, those non-BO QB alternatives ain’t going to save us Rebel fans. Our SEC, final-four playoff, get-through-the-season-with-most-of-our-hair hopes rest on the rejuvenated right arm of Do-“Mow” Bo — plus Laquon, and a bunch of guys on defense who hit harder than Russian tanks rolling into the Ukraine.
So again the advice you didn’t ask for: Take the long view, give Bo the benefit of the doubt he deserves and don’t eat deviled eggs that have been sitting out too long.
I’ll be back next time that ledge gets to looking real good.
Andy Knef is editor of HottyToddy.com. You can contact Andy about this story at Andy.Knef@hottytoddy.com.
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