Oh where to begin?
We’ll eventually get to baseball. It was a great weekend for the Rebels, a much-needed series win over LSU. Ole Miss now finally has won a series against an SEC West team with whom it is jockeying for position in the division.
The Rebels hit good pitching, which is something they had not done much in conference play.
It would seem an SEC series win over a rival that casts a new light on your chances to host a regional would be a hot topic. Alas, it is not.
Lets get into the Tunsil stuff.
First, it would not be a bad idea to become acquainted with the NCAA’s student assistance fund. My understanding is that Ole Miss will be able to show that money that changed hands with Tunsil was a part of this. Not only does the NCAA allow this, they’ve given more than $73 million to be used in this fund.
Whether they are successful with this will depend on documentation. I’m told they have it.
Proving it may not be that difficult if Steve Farese is correct.
He’s the attorney representing Tunsil in the lawsuit filed by the stepfather, Lindsey Miller, against Tunsil. He was interviewed today by a weekend satellite radio sports show and said, “My information is that issue in and of itself had already been discussed previously with the NCAA, and there was nothing to it. Once the truth comes out about that text, and I hate to make a pun, but the text was taken out of context. Once it’s found out what this is all about, it will be much ado about nothing.”
Presumably the text conversation with John Miller was about money for rent and utilities. The fund guidelines give a lot of freedom for schools to interpret how to use money from the assistance fund. And it’s only about the schools. They work with the conferences on this. Conference offices are the fund administrators for their individual members.
Chicago was my second time to cover the draft. It was a great experience, though I could have done without the late-night deadline drama. I’m sure Tunsil would agree.
The idea in being there was to document a historic night for Ole Miss with three first-round picks.
There were real concerns that Robert Nkemdiche could slide to the second round, but he did not, and who would have thought that Nkemdiche would be the Ole Miss player NOT answering questions (or as many of them) about off-field issues on draft night.
Laquon Treadwell was the third receiver picked, but I’ll be surprised if he’s not the top-rated rookie receiver next year.
I didn’t like the fact that their coverage was minimalized, but news dictates things.
Glad to Fahn Cooper (49ers, fifth round) and Cody Core (Bengals, sixth round) get drafted.
I was impressed with Core during the August of his true freshman year. I thought he had a good month making tough catches, but Core had trouble getting on the field for the first half of his career. For a time they even tinkered with him at safety for a while.
For the last two years he’s shown skill and athleticism at the position for which he signed.
As for Cooper, there’s not Tunsil-esque talent, but there’s solid athleticism and ability. And the Ole Miss football player most likely to win over potential employers in an interview is Fahn Cooper.
Glad to see these guys get an opportunity, and I hope they do well.
The free agent signings I’ve seen far include: Trae Elston (Saints), Channing Ward (Bucs), C.J. Johnson (Patriots), Mike Hilton (Jaguars), Woodrow Hamilton (Patriots).
The Johnson and Hamilton signings I find intriguing, because the Patriots are an organization that typically makes good moves. If they signed these guys I’m thinking they believe they have a chance to help.
I hope Hilton can stick with the Jags, but I don’t think his heart and effort will be valued in the NFL as much as it was in college.
Ward is also intriguing. I’ve always felt that with the right club in the right role (special teams) he has a chance. I don’t know if the Bucs are that fit. We’ll see. …
I picked up the Ole Miss games somewhere around West Memphis on the drive back Saturday.
I was surprised to see how early into the game they were at that point. Then I learned the 11 a.m. start had been delayed, and there was another rain delay as well.
What a weekend for JB Woodman (6-for-12, 8 RBIs, 3 home runs). Look for Woodman to be SEC player of the week on Monday.
Of course, had only Woodman hit well it wouldn’t have been enough for a very important series win.
Ole Miss put itself back in the middle of the hosting conversation with the big weekend. Last week I wrote about the need for the Rebels to go 4-5 in a nine-game stretch to make sure they reach the NCAA tournament.
That was the mood at the time, because the Rebels had not proven they could hit good pitching. I’m not talking about elite pitching. I’m talking about good pitching.
Ole Miss begins the week at 12-9 in conference play which has the Rebels tied for fourth in the SEC overall standings with Mississippi State.
The Rebels have Georgia (away) and Kentucky (home) over the next week weeks before closing at Texas A&M which leads the West and leads the SEC in hitting, home runs and runs scored.
The Rebels have a real opportunity to make a strong regional host claim in the next six games. If they can win both series 2-1 that would put them at 16 league wins going into College Station. Given their RPI is currently No. 6, 16 wins would be impressive, but 17 or 18 would be more.
That’s what this team is capable of down the stretch if it continues to hit more times than not.
One thing to think about with the host argument. The SEC has gotten five host sites before, but that’s not a given. MSU is looking to host as well and has the advantage of three wins in four games against Ole Miss.
The Rebels need to differentiate themselves from MSU in the other categories. They really need to finish ahead of the Bulldogs to help with the regional resume.