What happens when your personnel is in disarray in the days leading up to the game?
Jacksonville State 49, Ole Miss 48 is what.
Mind you, we're not talking about the loop-de-loop Jeremiah Masoli found himself riding. This is about something much bigger: the new mascot.
The field is down to five -- a land shark, a bear, a horse, a lion, and two characters to be named Hotty and Toddy. (Tragically, no Admiral Ackbar, though as this ESPN spot shows, his candidacy still has some legs.) The excruciatingly earnest selection process (go to http://mascot.olemiss.edu/ for the details) isn't expected to be finished until October.
As for the weekend implosion, there's good news and bad news.
The good news is that because the two teams were so evenly matched, we're thinking of tucking Ole Miss into the number 8.5 spot in the latest FCS poll, right behind the Elon Phoenix and just ahead of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. (Jacksonville State jumped 12 spots to No. 5; go here for the top 25). We're looking for the Red and Blue to make some noise come playoff time.
The bad news is that the road gets no easier for the Rebels: a murderers' row of Tulane, Vandy, Fresno State and Kentucky await before the bye week.
And, finally, we're wondering if in the grand scheme of things this in fact marks the onset of the Curse of Colonel Reb: Let no title banner be raised while he is cast out, forever in exile, wandering the Square, a man without a Confederacy.
-- R. Trentham Roberts