BARNEStorming: Thoughts around the world of college football

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OXFORD, Miss. – As impressive as the Ole Miss offense has been in the 2021 season, it was the Rebels’ defense that posted the most impressive number of the season – zero.

Zero as in nata, bupkis, null.

That’s the number of points the Landsharks gave up in five quarters in Ole Miss’s first three games. Neither Louisville nor Austin Peay scored in the first quarter and the Cardinals failed to score in the first half, while last week Tulane was held scoreless after the break.

To put it in context, last season the Ole Miss defense held a scoreless opponent in just six quarters all year round.

Arkansas failed to score in the third quarter, while neither Vanderbilt nor Mississippi State could score in the first or third quarter. In the second period, Indiana was shut out in the Outback Bowl.

Ole Miss won three of those games a season ago, the same number he’s won already this year.

WHY NOT JUST CROSS THE STATE LINE?

This week, Southern Miss is traveling to Tuscaloosa to play the sacrificial lamb in Alabama. In four games this season, it will be the third against a Heart of Dixie team for the Golden Eagles.

USM opened the year by losing to South Alabama, 31-7, at Mobile and last week, to Troy, 21-9, at Hattiesburg. After what is an almost certain loss on Saturday to the Crimson Tide, Southern is not done with Alabama schools. On October 16, the UAB calls at MM Roberts Stadium.

The only Bama FBS team that the Golden Eagles are missing this season is Jacksonville State. And USM doesn’t want to be part of the Gamecocks.

Two weeks ago, Jax State went to Tallahassee and beat Florida State on a Hail Mary assist in the last game of the game.

TALKING ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Florida State is 0-3 for the first time since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first season as the Seminoles head coach. Now FSU fans are calling for the dismissal of coach Mike Norvell after this poor start and a weird 2020 year.

But it was the fan base that essentially kicked Bowden out of his job for not winning enough games. Bowden has already led the FSU to 11 consecutive top 4 rankings in final polls and a pair of domestic titles.

Once it became clear that he was being ousted, Bowden said, “People here say it’s because we’re not winning the way we used to. They must be thinking about how they won before we get here.

Florida State didn’t win much until Bowden and didn’t make his freshman year. Today, FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium is the second largest brick structure on the planet behind the Great Wall of China, and the pitch is named after Bowden.

Give Norvell, Nole fans a chance.

By the way, many are clamoring for Deion Sanders to become FSU’s head coach. Truly? Last week, his Jackson State team managed just one touchdown in a 12-7 loss to Louisiana Monroe. The coach of the Warhawks is Terry Bowden.

ANOTHER POSSIBLE SUNSHINE STATE SHOT

Sure, Florida State is 0-3, but the state’s most popular coaching seat belongs to Manny Diaz in Miami. The Canes are 1-2 with a narrow victory over Appalachian State and big losses against Alabama and Michigan State.

Even though the Hurricanes will return to .500 this week against Central Connecticut State, Canes fans are clamoring for Diaz’s header and likely will get it. Expectations were that this would be the year Miami returns to Miami, and it’s likely that won’t happen.

There may soon be a vacancy in Dade County.

DOES MIAMI’S DOMINO COACHING REACH OXFORD?

If Miami sack Diaz, the Hurricanes could target Kentucky’s Mark Stoops for the job. He has ties to the program after being an assistant there during the Canes’ last heyday and his brother Mike is the defensive coordinator for nearby Florida Atlantic.

And Mark Stoops did all he could in Kentucky.

If that domino fell, Kentucky would likely turn to their favorite UK son, Neal Brown, who is in West Virginia. In his second season, Brown pointed the Mountaineers in the right direction after knocking out No. 15 Virginia Tech last week. In Troy, Brown led the Trojans to life-changing wins at Nebraska and LSU as well as several bowl games. His high-flying attack would be welcome in Kentucky, a program that has not seen such an attack since the days of Hal Mumme-Mike Leach. Oh yeah, those Wildcat teams featured a quick little wide receiver named Neal Brown.

This would leave WVU looking for a trainer. At Morgantown they are getting used to seeing a lot of points on the board and they would like to replace Brown with a coach with a similar philosophy.

Jeff Lebby’s name comes to mind.

MALICIOUS SPECIAL

I pulled off the West Florida Upset one week and missed Liberty beating Troy the second. Since petting Neal Brown in the article above, I’m really going out on a limb this week. How about West Virginia heading towards Norman and the elimination of No. 4 from Oklahoma on Saturday night?

Hey, go big or come home, right?

A RARE DOUBLE DIP FOR PLUMLEE

When John Rhys Plumlee finishes his career with Ole Miss, he will have done something so rare, I’m not sure it’s been done before. The Hattiesburg native was the last retired player to wear a jersey in TWO sports at his school.

His first season, he wore number 11 for the Ole Miss baseball season. Plumlee rose to number 10 in his sophomore year for good reason. The Rebels’ baseball program retired the number 11 in honor of Don kessinger.

Plumlee has worn the number 10 for the Ole Miss football team since moving to Oxford. Later this year, this issue will be retired in honor of Eli manning.

JRP will be the latest rebel to wear number 11 in baseball and number 10 in football for Ole Miss.

SHOWBOATIN ‘

Against Tulane, Matt Corral registered seven Ole Miss touchdowns. This equaled the school record held by Arnold “Showboat” Boykin who scored all of the Rebels’ points in a 49-7 victory over Mississippi State in 1951.

A Boykin legacy witnessed Corral’s feat in person.

As The Rebel Walk reported in the last round of recruiting, Boykin’s cousin is Luke Altmyer, the second quarter behind candidate Heisman Corral.


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