Friday Morning Update

Spanning the globe on a Friday morning …

Getting into the basketball and recruiting mode while waiting on the frigid temps. I’ll be enduring the cold while on jury duty next week.

For now, Bob Stoops has to feel good this morning. The unexpected performance of a quarterback that he wouldn’t name publicly as his Sugar Bowl starter ripped through the Alabama defense and led the Sooners to an upset win giving Stoops the opportunity to poke out his chest and support his anti-SEC comments from earlier in the year.

In the wake of its first back-to-back losses since 2008, ESPN’s Edward Aschoff writes that there are more questions than answers for Alabama.

Many of those questions pre-game centered around Alabama’s preparedness and motivation to play Oklahoma after it was knocked out of BCS title contention in its loss to Auburn.

Mistakes by the Crimson Tide didn’t begin last night, however. Think back to the Mississippi State game as the Bulldogs played inspired, but Alabama looked wobbly at times then as well. Then there was the Tide’s first half against Auburn when it looked like it was pressing and making mistakes.

The Sugar Bowl win will be one to remember for Bob Stoops, his last game if he becomes the next coach of the Cleveland Browns

ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf said Ole Miss fell short of goals this football season but called the Rebels a team on the rise after their Music City Bowl win over Georgia Tech. Speaking of the Music City Bowl, the loss to Ole Miss will apparently be the final game at Tech for quarterback Vad Lee, the trigger man in the Yellow Jackets’ option offense. Lee’s unexpected announcement to transfer raises questions about the future of Tech coach Paul Johnson. …

It was interesting to listen to Johnson after the game Monday. He was adamant that there was nothing in the Ole Miss defense that he didn’t see on film or prepare his team to see. Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, who was Johnson’s coordinator for his first two seasons at Tech in 2008 and 2009, was adamant that there were many changes. Here’s what Wommack had to say after the bowl game: “It was almost a total adjustment of the scheme. A whole new package went in for it. Our kids took time on it, executed.” …

Shifting gears …

Western Kentucky is not an easy place to play, and the Rebels picked up a nice road win there Monday. They’ll get more resume credit if they knock off Dayton Saturday night at Tad Smith. Ken Pom’s power ratings today have Western Kentucky at No. 151, Dayton at No. 44. Ole Miss is No. 75. The Rebels’ two holiday neutral site wins are hovering around the 100 mark at No. 90 (Penn State) and No. 100 (Georgia Tech). Saturday’s tip against Dayton is 7 p.m. …

I attended the Ole Miss-Missouri women’s game last night, the SEC opener. First-year coach Matt Insell is trying to rebuild the Rebels from the recent scandal that cost Adrian Wiggins his job. It will take a while to rebuild the talent, but the effort helped Ole Miss close 2013 with a flurry of success. After a 1-4 starter Ole Miss had won eight of its previous nine including a strong performance at No. 9 Baylor that ended with an 87-80 loss.

Last night the Rebels couldn’t guard Missouri’s 3-point shooters. The visiting Tigers picked up their 12th win, but it wasn’t easy. Ole Miss was in the game with a minute in a half left in spite of shooting just 36.1 percent.

Ultimately the Rebels could not overcome a 62.5 percent 3-point shooting night by Missouri.


Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Basketball, Football

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