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Vassallo: Rodney is Alive and Well at Ole Miss

Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics, as  seen on Ole Miss Football Facebook
Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics, as seen on Ole Miss Football Facebook

“I just cannot get any respect.” When was the last time you heard that comment or a similar one relating to Ole Miss football?

Every Sunday afternoon I check the latest college football rankings along with the Las Vegas predictions for the upcoming week’s games. Yesterday, upon viewing this information, once again I was frustrated and angered at the same time.

One would think that after scoring a record 149 points in two games while only giving up 24, that some level of respect would be extended to the football program. Not so! Checking this week’s AP poll has the Rebels only at number 15. And to add insult to injury, Vegas is predicting an 8 1/2 point defeat to the hands of Alabama. Once the line was established, however, it quickly dropped two points. (At least someone is thinking intelligently.)

Rather than harp on the Vegas line (these things sort themselves out) I will focus on the former and the AP poll. Not including the Rebels in the top ten is simply ridiculous, even at this stage in the season. True, we haven’t played a powerhouse like Wisconsin yet, but when you totally destroy two opponents to the degree we have, can there honestly be 14 better teams out there? I don’t think so.

As of right now, AP says we are the fourth best team in the SEC behind Alabama, Georgia and LSU who is currently 13th, two places ahead of us. Yes, LSU did win a tough road game at State on Saturday, but came very close (21-19) to leaving Starkville with a loss. Having not played the week before, this is their only game on record thus far. Georgia, like Ole Miss is 2-0, but has not been tested either as to a top 20 team. However, they find themselves at number 7, eight spots ahead of the Rebels.

My weekly Power Rankings have Ole Miss second in the SEC, just one point below Bama. Georgia and LSU rank high, but they’re not at our level…even close. Politics and football are as compatible as ice cream and the sun on an extremely hot day. They’re not. Voting in the AP poll is more about who than what has actually happened on the field. When you represent a small state, you must earn everything you’re awarded. There are NO freebies.

The only way to correct this situation is to demonstrate to the Crimson Tide and the nation that we deserve to be in the Top Ten. The opportunity awaits this Saturday in Tuscaloosa. The AP may think we’re 13 teams below Alabama, but I don’t see it that way at all. Even accepting Las Vegas’ prediction, this is saying we’re only a TD shy of the Tide playing on their home field. And they’re the number 2 team in the nation! What then does this say about our team? The obvious answer is volumes!

In conclusion, time will tell who is right and who is wrong. I have watched many an Ole Miss football team starting in 1963, but I’ve never observed one with this level of talent. Where we end up, who knows. But one thing is for certain if you’re the opposing team. Finding this bunch of Rebels next on your schedule is not a welcome sight. We may not win every game, but our opponent will surely know it just faced a force unlike any other number 15 team previously.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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