Monday, November 01, 2010

New At Rivals: Turning The Corner

My post-Ole Miss column is up over at Rivals' A preview:

Call me an optimist, but I don't think hanging half-a-hundred-plus on SEC teams is ever going to get old.

In a new twist on Ole Miss's apparently-perpetual mascot-and-symbols thrash, somebody in the offices of the Rebel Bad News Black Bears thought it might fire up the home team to play "grey" on Saturday against Auburn's blue, and made a late request for the Tigers to wear their home jerseys at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Switching uniforms is always a bush-league tactic, and as such it was entirely appropriate for a bush-league coach like Houston Nutt. It certainly impressed failed coach Bob Davie, the epitome of bush-league announcers, but other than that, Nutt's attempt at ersatz Civil War reenactment didn't have much effect--unless you count Atlantan Cam Newton's willingness to play the part of William Tecumseh Sherman in burning Nutt's home field right down to the ground.

While the ephemera of the Mississippi jersey colors was at least notionally a "secret" prior to kickoff, Nutt made no effort to hide his team's defensive plan in his public statements: throw as many bodies as possible into the tackle box to stop Newton's legendary running game, and make him throw the ball.

Newton, being a gracious visitor, was glad to oblige. Four of Auburn's first five offensive plays went through the air for completions, with the coup de grace being delivered via a Kodi Burns fade that would have done Danny Wuerffel proud. The ball, of course, was caught by Newton in a catch we'll be seeing in highlight films for several decades to come. Newton would go on to finish the day at 18-for-24 for 209 passing yards, two touchdowns and no picks.
The rest is on the subscription side, but Rivals is offering a free first month to new subscribers coming over from FTB.

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