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View from the Lawnchair: Forward Rebels, Colonel Reb and the 'Who Hates Nutt more bowl'

My journey at the University of Mississippi has been a rather long one. From my freshman year optimistically thinking I could balance five nights of everclear a week and school, to spending nearly two years working on an assembly line (working with rednecks) and customer service (dealing with rednecks), to today, spending the majority of my time in a shared office with a group of individuals who have just as poor of a social life as I do.

I've seen many things from the perspective of a student, an employee and as a complete outsider. So now every week I take a seat in my dusty Ole Miss lawnchair that has survived me flopping down on it with all 205 (ok, 235) pounds for five years, pour myself a glass of my personal favorite whiskey and ponder certain topics that are floating around the campus.

After I get done ranting about whatever Grinds My Gears (I'll pay Seth McFarland later) I will talk about what I truly care about, College football, with a few good minds: Nick Will, sports director of NewsWatch; Austin Miller, Sports Editor of The Daily Mississippian; and Cain Madden, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Mississippian. We will discuss each of the SEC games, with our thoughts and opinions, as well as some betting advice for those who live a little bit more dangerously with their bank account. The Daily Mississippian does not condone gambling. For help, call (800) 522-4700.

And finally, I’ll provide an inside look into Intramurals, with power rankings and predictions for some of the major ‘sports’ each week. Lolz. Whoops, spilled some of my drink .

 
	Some of my best memories as a child come from sitting amongst the fans during the football games and being able to talk to any, and everyone around me. We were different. There was me (between ages 7-18), my down to earth Dad, optimistic Uncle, the friendly family ahead of us, the grumpy old couple to our left and the three guys behind us who took brown bagging to a whole new level. I always wondered what that smell was coming from behind me, and now on my fifth year of college I can recognize each of those as different brands of cheap whiskey.  

But regardless of what made us different, our fanbase seemed to be united in one common goal: That Ole Miss win the football game, and that we cheer them on from the warm-ups to the final whistle. 

So now, as I sit in my lawnchair, sipping (no longer chugging) on some old No. 7, I can only wonder what is going on amongst our fanbase.

We are split more ways than christianity.

We have, as of my most recent count, the Colonel Reb Foundation, The Colonel Reb Political Action Committee, The Blue and Red Political Action Committee, Forward Rebels and some weird group called Stop the silly Bullying? I can hardly keep up. I think Rebel Black Bear has a group too, but it has less support right now than President Obama.

I tried talking to several of my friends that go to different universities to see if this isn't uncommon, yet found the average response to be laughter followed by a 'what?'

Each fanbase reminds me of kids I knew in high school. Florida was the class president; Georgia was the christian kid that you knew sinned like hell when no one was paying attention; Alabama is the jock who always is talking about the great plays they've made on the field (and the great plays that others made that they take credit for); Arkansas is the jock who talks about how great of an athlete he is but hasn't actually seen the field yet; Auburn is the redneck with money and Miss State is the redneck without money; Vanderbilt is the valedictorian; Kentucky is the one that feels like it just doesn't belong; South Carolina is just trying to be as cool as Florida; Tennessee always seems to be associating himself with the wrong crowd; and we're still trying to find LSU. Last we heard they were drunk in a ditch somewhere.

Ole Miss, however, I can't seem to get a set definition of who we are. Somedays we are just the rich snob. Others we act like Timmy from South Park. 

We all seem to think our opinion is the word of the gospel, yet our opinions aren't even focused on what is relevant.

The groups devoted to Colonel Reb aren't even worried about whether we win football games. Oh, they'll try and tell you that they are trying to restore our traditions, which will bring back our 'winning ways.' Huh. Because we were doing so well with Colonel Reb on the sidleine. Oh wait. We weren't.

And let me put something out there for all of the students on campus: Col. Reb is NOT your mascot. He hasn't been the mascot of this University since 2003. I was 13 then, and I am older than 80 percent of the undergrad students on this campus.

Col Reb lovers are also quick to tell you that the University was 'afraid to put the Colonel on the ballot because they knew the students would vote for him.' Um, the administration didn't put him on the ballot because they were trying to move on from him.

But it's these groups that taint the image of the mascot that I grew up so familiar with. Not a single one has taken a legitimate approach yet.

The Col Reb foundation is so desperate for publicity that they don't care what they do. They 'hunt' the black bear like the government used to hunt for communists.

This past spring, in my journalistic youth, I believed them when they said they were being oppressed by the athletics department. Only to find out the only thing they were honest to me on was their name.

The Colonel Reb Political Action Committee (PAC) started off looking like an actual legitimate group.

They seperated themselves from the CRF, and went through an actual initiative through the Secretary of State's office.

And then their first effort to campaign is the LSU vs. Miss State game. Our two biggest rivals, who would love nothing more than to see us fall. Good job guys. Hey while we're at it, let's see what Alabama, Arkansas and Memphis have to say, since they are definitely our target audience.

That's like considering running for president and supporting the KKK.

The movement for Col. Reb is going to be as succesful as our football team under Houston Nutt, but it wouldn't be as annoying if the two most prominent movements were led by the blind, deaf and dumb.

That brings me to the more prominent sect, Forward Rebels.

This is the one group that actually has a little bit of legitimacy in it's favor. Their tactics are entirely unfavorable, however their end goal is for Ole Miss athletics to be successful. The last time I was able to say that our atheletics (I only consider the three big sports, a.k.a. the ones that matter) were successful (I'll even take relevant at this point) was back before the first iPhone. I think. This is my third cup of Jack, there's no telling what else I can imagine at this point.

Where was I, oh yeah. Forward Rebels. For those who are unfamiliar with the backstory of Forward Rebels, I'll fill you in. Back in the summer they started up as a group whose main goal was as stated before, to advance the atheletics program and have our teams compete for championships. They were so convincing that prominent figures in the athletics department, such as Pete Boone and Michael Thompson, joined the group.

And then we lost to BYU. And the once seemingly innocent group turned into a scary backstabbing monster that reared it’s ugly face the same way Michelle Bachman wears hers. 

They have since paid for full page ads calling for the firing of Pete Boone in papers in Tupelo, Oxford, Memphis, etc. Have made appearances on radio shows calling for Dan Jones to be fired. And just in general trying to cause a bigger mess than a group of full small children on a sugar rush in a store that sells expensive Chinaware.

But that is not what pisses me off about this group. They are HIDING. After their first radical move, they removed the contact information from their website. The only person who makes his face known to the public is their spokesman, Lee Habeeb. Habeeb is neither or Ole Miss graduate or a Mississippi native. He's from New Jersey, and claims that he is an Ole Miss fan. You pay me enough and I’ll tell you how fantastic the recent spider-man series was (it wasn’t).

Y'all, it's just frustrating.

So as I sit here, looking the Lyceum in the distance on a breezy fall afternoon in Oxford, I can only imagine how Dan Jones keeps this out of his mind. If he cares about this university as much as I do, I imagine it's hard not to. Don't worry Dan, I'll save you a glass of some of Tennessee's best, just bring your lawnchair.


SEC Predictions

Jacksonville State @ Kentucky (Las Vegas Hilton: -10 Kentucky)

Lawnchair: Kentucky has looked awful this season. I mean downright bad. Morgan Newton has not found any type of consistency at the QB position and he looks to be doing his best impression of what the offspring of Jeremiah Masoli and Jevan Snead would look like. The ‘Cocks know how to win on the road and they are going to be confident after upsetting us in ‘10. They can still go to hell. JSU 24-23

Nick W: Jacksonville State is playing well this season. Their quarterback Marques Ivory is back to the weight he was in High school losing 35 pounds in the off season allowing him to be more versatile in his running. His stats and (5-1) record this season proceed him. This is the first time Jacksonville State has ever played Kentucky and I think they will give them a run for their money since Kentucky is only 2-4 this season. I'm going with J-State in this game 24-17.

Austin M: Morgan Newton and the Kentucky offense is bad, but in their defense, they have played three straight ranked teams. They are also coming off a bye week, so they had two weeks to prepare for this game. This is the same Jacksonville State team that won at Ole Miss las tyear, so they won’t be sneaking up on anybody. Kentucky can’t afford to overlook them. It’s not quite basketball season yet in Lexington. KENTUCKY 28 JACKSONVILLE STATE 14. 

Cain M: If Jacksonville State can keep it close, and I think they can, I believe they will sneak away with a victory. This might be a case of my bitterness from the 2010 season talking, but Jacksonville State wins by 6

#9 Arkansas @ Ole Miss (Arkansas -15.5 o/u 56)

Lawnchair: The real question in this game is who hates Houston Nutt more, Arkansas fans or Ole Miss fans? I don’t know, but this might be the first time that we agree with the Ozarks on something. Bobby Petrino is going to run up the score if he gets the chance. I’m going to eat bacon anyway. Arkansas 38-20

Nick W: The Razorbacks are having an outstanding season gaining a lot of momentum after hazing the new recruits to the SEC two weeks ago. Arkansas is coming off their bye week and they look stronger than ever this season. Although both teams are toting losses from the Crimson Tide, I don't think it will slow the Razorbacks down at all this season. The Rebels will continue to battle and significantly miss Wayne Dorsy on Defense this weekend. It will be a close fought battle and as much as it hurts me to say this Arkansas will win 28-14.

Austin M: The Razorbacks have blown out their opponents all season, with the exception of the loss to Alabama. Their strength is their passing attack and the Rebels just lost their best pass rusher, one of their starting corners and the secondary was already a thin unit. Arkansas is also coming off a bye week, so they had two weeks to rest, rehab and prepare for this game. It’s an early kickoff, so they might get off to a slow start, but it will be too much Arkansas. ARKANSAS 31, OLE MISS 13. 

Cain M: This one is going to be painful to watch. But I will stick it out, with a sad and frustrated look on my face, sastrated, if you will, somewhere by myself in the student section at the end of the game, with my red pom-pom ready to cheer on some tiny victory. Like a Rebel first down. Arkansas by 21.

#20 Auburn @ #1 LSU (LSU -21 o/u 47.5) 

Lawnchair: I’ve heard a lot about this being a trap game, even more so with the suspensions of the Honey Badger and Spencer Ware. But I’m not buying that. This defense is still a top five-defense even without Mathieu, and you know there defensive line can’t wait to face the inexperienced offensive line, and brand-new quarterback that the Plains are bringing to the Valley. As the sun sets on the western sky, the Bayou Bengals will win big 37-14

Nick W: The Battle of the Alpha Tiger, Auburn Vs. LSU the Defensive battle of the week. Corey Lemonier will be a force to reckon with leading the Auburn defense last week with six tackles two of which were sacks. On the other hand Cornerback  Morris Claiborne nabbed picked six last weekend for an 89 yard return, put up two pass deflections and two tackles. I'm going to go with LSU in this game though because quarterback Jarrett Lee has proven to be an X factor, completing 10 of 14 passes for 115 yards with no interceptions and two touchdowns against Tennessee. LSU 35-28

Austin M: This is the definition of a trap game. LSU will be without the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, and one of their three running backs in Spencer Ware for the game due to suspension. Auburn, however, will be breaking in a new quarterback for this game and that’s not a good thing in Death Valley. Auburn continues to win ugly, so it’s hard to see them moving the ball on LSU. There’s too much speed and talent for LSU, even if they are looking ahead to Alabama in two weeks. LSU 31, Auburn 7

Cain M: Because I grew up in Louisiana and ultimately became a Rebel, I feel the need to overcompensate a little when it comes to LSU. Yet, my integrity as a journalist demands that I be honest. LSU wins by 24, the suspensions do not even matter. Just know that I’m rooting for the upset in my heart!

Army @ Vanderbilt (-10.5 o/u 46)

Lawnchair: Vanderbilt is playing a much better brand of football under new head coach James Franklin. For the most part this season the Commodore offense has struggled to find a rhythm, though vs. Georgia they rushed for 200 yards for the second time this season (281 vs. Ole Miss). This team has a complete different mentality on defense, though they have only faced the triple-option twice in their past 55 games. Vandy will win, but look for Army’s offense to be able to maintain ball control and keep it close, let’s say 28-21. 

Nick W: Coming of a bye week the Black Knights of West Point battle the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Question is, can Army win their first road victory of the season? Army has stepped up their game this season rushing over 300 yards in the past six games on average. Running Back Raymond Maples who has averaged 118 yards a game this season will be a tough opponent for the 'dores. That being said don't count out the Commodores, James Franklin has lived up to his preseason hype as the new Head Coach for Vanderbilt, bringing some exciting football to Nashville. I'm going for sea over land this week with Vanderbilt 35-14 against Army.

Austin M: The Commodores need this game if they want to go to a bowl game this season. They have looked good the past two weeks, despite losses to Alabama and Georgia. Their defense will keep them in every game and they make big plays on defense and special teams. They also might have found their quarterback in Jordan Rodgers. VANDERBILT 28 ARMY 10

Cain M: If Army and Vanderbilt play a football game and no one is watching, does it make a sound? Vandy by 13, if, in fact, it does make a sound.

Tennessee @ #2 Alabama (Alabama -29 o/u 46.5)

Lawnchair: Let me preface this by saying that I hate the Tide. You just don’t grow up in the state of Alabama, not be an Alabama fan, and not hate them. Hate aside, I’m really hard pressed to find a team playing better football in the country than Alabama. Trent Richardson is a mix between an 18-wheeler and a race car, and has to be considered the front-runner for the Heisman until the Tide lose. Their defensive line may not be as strong as years past, but they make up for it by having the best linebacking corps in the country, and a top-three secondary as well. The Vols have no chance, so the Tide will roll 40-7. 

Nick W: There is not much to say about this game other than another Heisman trophy for Alabama? Trent Richardson is playing phenomenally this season rushing for a carreer high of 183 yards last weekend against the Ole Miss Rebels. I'm predicting another Roll Tide over the Vols 42-17.

Austin M: The Volunteers are limping into this game without Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter, and they looked outmatched by LSU last week. It’s more of the same this week against an Alabama team also hitting on all cylinders. It will be close for the first and maybe the second quarters, but the Crimson Tide will wear down a depleted Tennessee team and roll into the LSU showdown undefeated. ALABAMA 38 TENNESSEE 7

Cain M: Maybe if this were in Knoxville, maybe Tennessee would stand a chance to not get rolled on quite as badly as they are going to in Tuscaloosa. If this is the best SEC matchup they can give me to watch at night, I think I’m going to do my homework instead. Alabama by 30.