April 16, 2009
The Doc's favorite offseason meme -- Ole Miss as the media's 2009 "It" team -- is picking up serious steam this week, kicked into overdrive by big, punny, front page, "Rebel Uprising!" features on both ESPN.com and SI.com, along with a practice field visit from Kirk Herbstreit to interview Jevan Snead as one of the top five quarterbacks in the country next fall. This on top of consensus top-10 projections from the poll-makers.
All of that presupposes the Rebels are setting up for their best season in 40 years, just two years removed from finishing 0-8 in the SEC and off a season in which they lost to Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and South Carolina and benefited from unusually disastrous seasons by LSU, Auburn and even Arkansas within the division. Last year's team also loses Peria Jerry and Michael Oher, who, if both go in the first round next week in New York, as expected, will be the first Ole Miss teammates ever drafted in the first round in the same year. Inevitably, the headlines are stirring up a backlash -- beginning, naturally, with the Rebel factions themselves:
Jevan Snead to Break Ankle, Ruin Rebel Season - We obviously don't wish ill will on our Rebel quarterback, but receiving positive press has been a curse for Ole MIss quarterbacks in the past. If things like this article written by Cory McCartney of Sports Illustrated keep coming, Jevan should sleep in a bed of bubble wrap and walk around campus wrapped in foam rubber a la that dweeb from Little Giants.
Ah, the SI Curse: Even on the Internet, it lives on. Another Ole Miss fan is more succinct, privately: "Honestly, all of the preseason hype scares the [freshly bloomed orchids] out of me. I'm used to waiting for the other shoe to drop."
The Worldwide Leader's Mark Schlabach deserves some credit for paying attention to the unprecedented nature of the hype, noting the dates of the Rebels' last SEC championship (1963) and last appearance in the Sugar Bowl (1969, also their last appearance in the year-end AP top-10), barometers that are going to follow this team around for the next six months, apparently, whether it or its fans want them to or not.