The question was posed to Hugh Freeze at his regular presser Monday if the Ole Miss-Memphis game had a rivalry feel about it.
Well, the answer is no. Rivals play on an annual basis, and these two haven’t played since 2009.
Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork has cleared the path for renewal of a series Ole Miss leads 47-10-2.
Rivals play every year. Rivals also tend to be closer to equal footing with off-field resources and fan interest.
Freeze had a good answer to the question, focusing on emotions rather than rivalry. There will be emotion in the game because Ole Miss has 12 players on its roster who are from the Memphis area. There’s some familiarity with the program, and many of the players know each other.
The emotional aspect is something the entire Ole Miss team will have to get a handle on. They can’t be flat. The Rebels have Alabama the following week, and although Memphis looks like an improved football game that improvement only spans three games. The Tigers are 3-9 last year and 7-17 as Justin Fuente laid a foundation in his first two years.
Couple Memphis’ improvement with the fact that this game means more to the Memphis program, and Ole Miss will need to make sure it’s emotionally ready to play whether that means a lot of hoopin’ and hollerin’ or just a quite, composed take-care-of-business approach.
From the Mother Ship, Memphis and Ole Miss renewal.
Speaking of that Alabama game …
The Rebels aren’t speaking of it. It’s Memphis and only Memphis on the minds of Ole Miss players say.